I’m thinking maybe, slightly leaning toward yes.
In this postpartum period, many of the problems I face are allegedly improved by a Paleo lifestyle. Acne, excess weight, depression, hair loss, sleep deprivation … to name a few. I realize that many of these are the result of my hormones or my baby. I might need extra weight for breastfeeding, for example. And my diet won’t do anything to keep baby from deciding she’s hungry at her 3 a.m. feeding.
But the benefits of going Paleo seem to be just what I need right now, as a breastfeeding mama.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo diet seems to be trendy right now, which is one reason that I was turned off by it. A diet is a four-letter word, and I stay away from that shit.
But seriously, crash diets and fad weight-loss schemes are garbage — bad for our bodies and our emotions, if you ask me. The Paleo diet is a lifestyle that makes sense: natural, organic, simple. (Now you’re speaking my language).
Basically, a Paleo plan mimics what we ate as hunters and gatherers. Cutting out all of the processed, manufactured terrible “food” — I’m looking at you, American cheese and Velveeta — and replacing it with what our ancestors ate naturally: lean meats, healthy fats and vegetables/fruits.
That means no grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. I think … I’m still figuring this out.
What are the benefits?
From what I can tell, there are lots. Go to the experts for those. Try Mark’s Daily Apple or Robbwolf.com for the expert 411.
In a nutshell (as long as it’s not a peanut, those are not Paleo-friendly), going Paleo can cure ailments ranging from eczema to high blood pressure to inflammation to depression.
And the bonus for a breastfeeding mama? It seems that going Paleo can only help and not hinder. I’ve read people in forums say it improved their milk supply, gave them more energy and helped to shed weight. I was worried that my body would need grains to produce milk, because that’s what it’s had all along. But our bodies were designed to withstand feast or famine and still be able to nourish our babes.
That’s my theory, at least. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What are the challenges?
Breastfeeding seems to offer a few more challenges to going Paleo. For one, I don’t have the energy or time to plan and prepare food. I’m also more hungry than I would normally be, because I burn about 500 extra calories a day by supplying baby with food.
Then there are the normal challenges: the awkwardness of going to a friend’s house and refusing a delicious calzone or stack of pancakes (we have awesome friends) and the disappointment in not eating the foods we like (or crave). I love peanut butter, and I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like (except for those imposters I mentioned above).
What is the plan?
My husband and I are going to try the Paleo diet for 30 days. We’ll still be able to enjoy our morning coffee with coconut mik, and the occassional glass of red wine will be allowed, even if it’s not officially Paleo.
I have no lofty expectations of doing CrossFit and becoming a muscular powerhouse. I’m not launching this lifetime diet change and saying sayonara to bread forever. I’m not looking at this as the answer to all of my problems, like a fountain of youth and formula for health.
We’ll just see what happens and go with it. Tips and advice are welcome!
A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts weight gain
Check for Paleo eBook