Day 30: Fight like a caveman

Posted: March 1st, 2012 | Filed under: Lessons Learned, Paleo | Comments Off

It’s the 30-day mark for my gym’s Last Caveman Standing competition. 30 days ago, 17 entered. Today, only 4 remain. It’s clear that we’re all in it for the long haul; but I’m not worried.

I started Paleo last March. The early days were fun because I got a chance to really learn and think about food differently. To be clear, during those days, my version of Paleo was not super strict–like the current challenge. In fact, now that I think about it, I was doing something closer to EZTown-Paleo, which floweth with wine, honey, and sriracha.

I couldn’t have kept going this long if I didn’t learn how to fight a few battles. Some of you might know what I’m talking about.

For example, the easy battles might be learning how to tell the difference between a craving and genuine hunger. Or making a habit out of looking at nutritional labels for everything. Then there are the slightly challenging battles, like taking the time to prepare food on Sundays. Or ordering a salad and soda water when everyone else is ordering burgers, nachos, and margaritas, then brushing aside the ham because that’s what comes on a Cobb Salad but you couldn’t remember since you didn’t want to keep everyone waiting, and had to make a decision quickly. True story. My favorite type of battles, though, are the ones where other people’s world view of food come crashing into mine.

Like when I had to tell friends I couldn’t eat rice anymore.

Giving up rice? WHAT? How can you not eat rice?

Hahahaha. No seriously, here have some rice.

Are you really Asian?

And those comments came from my friends. I even got flack when I ate out Asian restaurants. Restaurant owners and staff would berate me.

No rice? You want fried rice instead?

Are you sure? It’s free, you know?

Is that how you stay so skinny? – Seriously, I <3 Asian restaurant owners.

In case I need to spell it out for you, I am Chinese. I grew up eating rice every day. I own two rice cookers. Two. I have three different bags of rice in my pantry–basmati, jasmin, and something that I can’t even pronounce. Three. Giving up rice? Impossible. For awhile, I started questioning the diet because I had to kill my most sacred cow.

Fortunately, I knew that the span of the challenge was only 30 days. Through my curiosity I found the motivation to stick to the plan and avoided rice for 30 days. It’s been almost a year and even though I still keep those three bags of rice in my pantry, I don’t touch the stuff anymore. Okay, okay- occasionally, I indulge with sushi. If the chef says eat the rice, you eat the rice. Okay?

Another battle might be learning to be that guy at the restaurant who is always asking for shit that’s not on the menu.

I’d like this salad, without feta cheese and candied walnuts. I’d like to add sliced steak and olive oil for my dressing. Thanks.

I hate that guy, and doubly hate being that guy since I have always respected other people’s time. Eventually, I learned to think about the situation differently and how to handle that conversation.

But through these battles, I learned that when you start the Paleo diet, society will tell you that you are wrong. Nutritionists don’t believe it will work, grocery stores stock incompatible foods 99% of the time, and even restaurant staff make fun of you.

Don’t listen to any of that. Manufacture your own motivations and seek out the truth on your own. You don’t have to follow Paleo as strictly as I do. I don’t even want to follow Paleo as strictly as I do. After the challenge, I’d like to try Primal (say hello to whey protein shakes and wine).

If you’ve been reading this blog, thank you for sticking around. I still want to make it easy for people to get through their own 30-day challenges, and plan to keep this space updated with recipes, funny battle stories, and tools for succeeding on Paleo, one 30-day challenge at a time.

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