So, why The Baconista? Well, I eat bacon. A lot of bacon. I enjoy every single crispy, chewy, wonderfully greasy strip. And I live in one of the greatest cities in the world, New York. Naturally, “The Baconista” seemed more than fitting as the title of my first blog.
Now, let’s cut to the chase: I consider myself a paleolithic princess and after the constant nagging from friends and family , I finally decided to jump head first into the world of blogging to share my story about being paleo in your twenty-somethings in a big city. Not the easiest task in the world.
So, why Paleo you ask? It all started around my Junior year in college- I went to a incredibly tiny music school called The New England Conservatory in Boston, where I studied vocal performance – I had just gotten back from winter break and was feeling some serious guilt from the holiday food and drink frenzy. Even though we were thousands of miles apart, my mom/BFF and I decided to do the Doctor Oz Three Day Cleanse. It seemed simple enough: The ingredients weren’t weird, there was nothing that had to be “juiced”, and it was only 3 days. Ultimately, I only ended up doing it 2.5 days, but (here’s the kicker) within those 60 hours I decided to cut all forms of gluten and dairy out of my life. Why? I FELT SO MUCH BETTER (within 60 hours!). It was like my tummy did a 360 degree turn. As my second semester rolled along, I stayed strong and never cheated, not once!
Duh, duh, duh (cue the dramatic music, please)
Even though I felt extremely better, I started to eat high amounts of corn and rice substitutes. You should have SEEN the amount of popcorn I could hammer through, it was slightly worrisome at one point. Basically, I realized i was eating a lot of “fake stuff”. I returned back to Chicago for the summer (Chi-Baby represent!) and I started to hear about this thing called “paleo”. It intrigued me and I thought “well, shit! I already gave up gluten and dairy what’s a little legumes and processed sugar gonna hurt?”. My thinking was: as long as I could have any meat I wanted and any veggies/fruits, I think I’d do okay.
I’m not going to lie and say it was easy as pie (which, I couldn’t eat anymore), but it was not super difficult for me to make the switch because I had already rid my body of gluten and dairy cravings. Then a few weeks in, I was a hot mess. I started to crave, normal food. Let’s not kid anyone here, I was eating salads, plain ole’ veggies, and meat. Which, when I say it like that, it sounds like paleo and it is! But, I knew there had to be some other options for me besides a salted grilled chicken breast and some steamed broccoli.
I picked up Diane Sanfilippo’s book Practical Paleo to get a better grasp on this “paleo diet”. Long story short, everything I ever thought was good was actually bad- Legumes were the biggest doozy for me. I never understood why paleo’s didn’t eat legumes. Black beans are so good for you right!?! WRONG. Well, thanks to Diane I now, not only, understand everything about legumes, but also the inner workings of my entire body. This book darn near changed my life. Truth: Paleo isn’t a fad diet to lose that last 5 pounds, it’s a way of life.
I FINALLY started to get a grip on paleo. I was reading ALOT and experimenting even more (recipe’s and such…). I finally found out what works for ME, at my age, and this stage in my life. So, although I consider myself paleo, there are many things about my lifestyle that may not be “truly” paleo. Here’s the deal people: You gotta take all of this with a grain of salt. The most important thing is that you eat naturally, meaning REAL honest-to-god ingredients. Nothing fake, nothing processed (or at least minimally processed). My rule of thumb: If I wouldn’t say it (the ingredient) out in public, then I probably shouldn’t be eating it.
So, with all of this said, my approach fits me and my life. I don’t want to look back regretting my 20’s because I was trying to fit this perfect paleo mold. So here’s the dealio:
1. I use butter, REAL butter. Kerrygold is preferred because its from pasteurized cows. I smother that stuff on like there’s no tomorrow. Any other dairy I avoid completely. Some paleo’s eat goat cheese, I’v just stayed away from that realm all together to keep my life – and cravings – in check.
2. I LOVE me some sweet potato’s. While its accepted in the paleo lifestyle, there are some that recommend to stay away form carb heavy fruits and veggies and eat them on occasion. I eat sweet potato’s because it satisfies so many different cravings. Noodles, fries, you name it. Plus, I do heavy cardio workouts (and dance and conditioning…) 5-6 times a week. So I need some sort of carb to keep me running.
3. I am a major mixologist. I love creating and concocting different drinks. Yes, with alcohol. Case in point: I don’t drink everyday, only on the weekends. I use NICE alcohol, not Svedka and Jose Cuervo (which, technically, is not even a real tequila), but Tito’s, Leblon, Grey Goose etc… Also when I’m mixing something fancy up I use real ingredients and herbs, mostly organic. To sweeten it up, organic agave or a few drops of stevia. I’m a 23 year old living in Manhattan, c’mon i’m not gonna give up a darn good cocktail! I figure if I wanna drink, I’m going to know what’s going in that drink.
4. Rice. Yes, TOTALLY not allowed in the paleo world. Once in a blue moon, when I’m on a work trip, I will have the smallest amount of rice. Literally miniscule. It’s honestly not even worth mentioning, but it is OK if you have a wee bit of something. You’re not gonna die.
Conclusion: All in all, besides these 4 little ditties, I stick to the paleo path. Why? Because I feel amazing. People always ask me if I’ll ever go back to eating bread, pasta, cheeeeezzz etc… I give them an honest answer: probably not. This is a life style, not a diet. If you’re only in it to lose weight, then this path is not for you. If you want to feel good and get super healthy, then take a whack at it. Nothing to lose but some bad habits.