8

votes

What is the single best change you have made? A survey!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 19, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Hey there! I really enjoy the survey type questions as they give an opportunity to peak into other people's heads and lives. I started wondering today what I would consider the best/healthiest change I have made to my life/diet that has caused the most good. For me, I think it might be the inclusion of fermented foods to aid in the healing of the gut and contribute to a general feeling of well being.

So, I am wondering, what is the single best thing you have done since going Paleo or grain free or whatever that has caused the most tangible benefit/change? It could be a food you added or took away, a supplement, an exercise routine, a way of thinking.. anything!

I am excited for your responses.

...Seems like the big winner is giving up grains, which doesn't surprise me in the least. I am not grain free as I eat rice, the occassional corn tortilla and a few other things.. but I am glad y'all have found so many answers!

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:33 AM

The correct link is http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:30 AM

Thank you, Doris. I feel like a new person! Here is an article that explains sugar's effect. http://www.nytimes.com/2 I no longer call desserts "goodies" as I really have proof that they are not good for me. I can't explain how peaceful and thrilling it is not to have those cravings for sweets. My daughter had my favorite chocolate the other day and I didn't even consider having any. I remember when I was eating it and I could easily eat a half lb of it and still want more. Then the feeling of a sick stomach would come along, I would wait to feel better and then start all over again.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:43 PM

Basically I stay in moderate ketosis for anywhere from 3-5 days at a time. Then I carb load for a day. I only eat within a 6hr window, regardless of what I'm eating. I try to space these 'windows' at least 15hrs apart. This practice is 'Intermittent Fasting'.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:40 PM

I like this, also. I don't get as excited as I used to when I'm planning on pizza. The forethought & pre-regret are pretty strong. I still do it once a week, though. Baby steps....

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:59 PM

I discovered that the chicken sausages that I had bought from WF had soy sauce in it. I had been having mild headaches all week that eventually culminated in a migraine by the time I had finished the package. Darn it, and I have two more packages of it. Giving it to my son.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:57 PM

Well, this isn't really Paleo, but it's something different, which I appreciate!

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:47 PM

Kashkillz - Would you mind giving me a short description of Keto-cycling?

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:27 PM

Just joking - or not so much... The truth is that after years of SAD and shit I changed my lifestyle and now I am totally absorbed by nutrition and health issues. I guess that after some time I will find a better balance.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:37 PM

Wow. Glad you were able to figure it out too. I can't imagine having that problem at such a young age.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:31 PM

Grains. Yesterday I had some country sourdough bread and I waited for the sky to fall in; it didn't, but the bread tasted lumpy and gooey in my mouth. First nongluten free bread I've had in maybe a year and I DIDN'T CARE FOR IT! Glad to be free!

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:28 PM

Angelina, Your experience is inspiring. I think suger is pernicious and yet I still have some goodies, but almost entirely home made like panna cotta, pot de creme, not recommending them, but I seem to tolerate them better. I'm don't even like things like cake and cookies anymore. I am not ravenous anymore, but I didn't realize how hungry sugar stuff made me. Thanks

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:40 AM

You are definitely not crazy about the joints. From age 8 to 18 my joints popped and cracked(sure makes sneaking around tough!) and I felt like I was an old man or something. Removing gluten totally cured that symptom in a matter of months.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:15 AM

Ya, changes in diet or lifestyle should come before drugs if the situation isn't life threatening.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on February 20, 2013
at 04:11 AM

Are you sure this is the "best" change for you? Sounds like a bad change to me.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:27 AM

You know, I don't blame the Drs entirely. I changed Drs a lot because I was in my 20s and moving around a lot, so I didn't have a steady Dr. I do wonder why no one bothered to "think outside the box" though. The immunologist spent an hour talking to me and ultimately told me there was nothing I could do except for pain management. No one recommended anything that wasn't conventional. If my only option is Aleve, why wouldn't someone say, "I don't think it will help, but sure, try removing gluten." There is no harm in trying these things, you never know, something unconventional might work!

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Doctors are a frustrating lot aren't they? If you're not in a crisis... (a measurable crisis) they can't help. I totally understand feeling crazy! Glad you found the answer.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

28 Answers

8
Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

on February 19, 2013
at 11:35 PM

Single best thing is that I started working out consistently. Lifting weights has made me strong both physically and mentally. Another great thing I've discovered is that grains have most likely been causing my joints to hurt over the last 10 years. After going to several GPs, an immunologist, a rheumatologist, physical therapists, and having countless xrays, I can stop being so completely frustrated and stop wondering if I am crazy. I have an answer and that feels pretty good.

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:40 AM

You are definitely not crazy about the joints. From age 8 to 18 my joints popped and cracked(sure makes sneaking around tough!) and I felt like I was an old man or something. Removing gluten totally cured that symptom in a matter of months.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Doctors are a frustrating lot aren't they? If you're not in a crisis... (a measurable crisis) they can't help. I totally understand feeling crazy! Glad you found the answer.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:37 PM

Wow. Glad you were able to figure it out too. I can't imagine having that problem at such a young age.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:27 AM

You know, I don't blame the Drs entirely. I changed Drs a lot because I was in my 20s and moving around a lot, so I didn't have a steady Dr. I do wonder why no one bothered to "think outside the box" though. The immunologist spent an hour talking to me and ultimately told me there was nothing I could do except for pain management. No one recommended anything that wasn't conventional. If my only option is Aleve, why wouldn't someone say, "I don't think it will help, but sure, try removing gluten." There is no harm in trying these things, you never know, something unconventional might work!

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:15 AM

Ya, changes in diet or lifestyle should come before drugs if the situation isn't life threatening.

5
753e1b824fbe0b11c797a244b1a4c7e3

on February 19, 2013
at 11:00 PM

My way of thinking, totally. Pre paleo, I would joke that my food groups were bread, pasta, cheese, ice cream and chocolate. When I went Paleo, I dropped 10 pounds in one week (and really didn't have a ton to lose anyway). I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was seriously living on the foods I mentioned above! I grew up in a household where pasta, mac and cheese, PB&J etc, were every day foods. Things like seafood, which we all love, was a rarity because of price (supposedly...). We literally ate shrimp once a year on Christmas Eve, yet we all love shrimp.

After being paleo for just a few weeks, I started to realize that eating well- yummy, healthy foods- was not pricey at all. Pre-Paleo I would buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food for $4 and not even bat an eye-- why not a few salmon fillets (it is frequently on sale I find)? I also realized that people are SO UNCREATIVE with eating-- we try new recipes constantly now that I eat paleo (and fiance eats what I make him). I also love to just make up my own recipes now. My whole mindset on food has really changed, and I love the healthy outlook we have now. I'm not always a 100%, strict, paleo-- I do have some pasta every now and then, and I won't even pretend I avoid cheese and chocolate-- but THOSE things have become my once-in-a-while treats, and other things that used to be treats are now my everyday foods.

4
Ade2c9dac426a082d234af9671aa23f9

on February 20, 2013
at 04:28 PM

Changing my thought process from "I can't have that," to "I can have that, but I don't want/need it." May sound small and cliche, but it works 99% of the time I'm stuck between a healthy choice and a terrible choice.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:40 PM

I like this, also. I don't get as excited as I used to when I'm planning on pizza. The forethought & pre-regret are pretty strong. I still do it once a week, though. Baby steps....

4
Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on February 20, 2013
at 12:21 AM

Removing refined sugar and grains has been the best change I have ever for both my health and well-being in general. I got rid of those dreaded saddlebags, big hips and butt, and cellulite. I also suffered from excessive underarm sweat (even if not exercising) from around the age of 12. After trying many different antiperspirants, even prescription ones (none of which worked), I pretty much accepted the fact that I would be humiliated by sweat stains forever and that I would have to strategically choose what colors to wear that would not show sweat. Fortunately, my excessive sweat problem was alleviated through paleo. My body had been sweating to desperately try to rid itself of all the excess sugar previously.

4
79850813c5cfc0a089e1060ef9b6ed27

on February 19, 2013
at 11:06 PM

My single best change is the removal of grains from my diet. My arthritis is a thing of the past :)

3
39f9425e5c198447e96cc2bcc7f57e5e

(70)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:46 PM

The single best thing I have ever done is working out and stretching consistently.

I was involved in a bad motor vehicle crash at the age 16. In it, I shattered my L2 vertebrae, fractured a couple ribs, fractured my jaw in half, and suffered a punctured lung. The worst injury is the back in which I have two bars and 8 screws fusing 5 vertebrae together (2 above and 2 below the shattered one). They had to use bone from my hip to remold the shattered vertebrae.

After recovering from the accident and wearing a back brace for about 3 months, I had very little strength or flexibility. I decided to get into the fitness world and my life has not been the same since. I have developed an intense drive and desire for fitness and the results get better every day.

The biggest accomplishment is the flexibility. Before I started I couldn't get my hands past my knees, doing yoga has enabled me to put my palms on the floor. It has also, along with eating right, virtually eliminated any back pain associated with the injury. For the first year, when I was not eating right or working out, I suffered from back pain multiple times per week. The combination between yoga and strength training was essential.

I can never see myself ever resorting back to a life without fitness and I am looking forward to taking it to a new level with Paleo and the support from this website.

3
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:54 AM

Including a broad range of offal into my diet.

3
7550959f8a4a685094702d7951433a17

on February 20, 2013
at 07:33 AM

when i'm in bed at night i close my eyes and whoever pops in front of my eyes, i send my blessings to them. the result, i started feeling more healthy. things started to change for the good. life's getting better

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:57 PM

Well, this isn't really Paleo, but it's something different, which I appreciate!

3
C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

on February 20, 2013
at 06:51 AM

All sugar and grains. The sugar was the hardest yet so worth it. To eat food during the day when I am hungry instead of craving sugar--chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, cake, chocolate--all a thing of the past. I used to live from one bite to the next, always craving. After 4 pm was the worst until I went to bed. Giving up sugar, I only eat when I am hungry. Not having the mental and physical addiction to sugar is amazing. I am no longer constantly searching for the next fix.

Physically, giving up the grains was healing. I had large, painful, cracked and peeling sores (sometimes bleeding) inside my hands. One hand was like that for about ten years. The second hand started about five years in. When I gave up all grains and started eating good fats, meats, etc and making bone broth, my hands healed. Drs. said they never would. They only prescribed steroid cremes for relief and they never worked. I look at my hands now and marvel at them after suffering so many years. No more holes.

A life without cravings is so relaxing and sane. A life with healed hands is a daily reminder of what paleo has done for me.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:28 PM

Angelina, Your experience is inspiring. I think suger is pernicious and yet I still have some goodies, but almost entirely home made like panna cotta, pot de creme, not recommending them, but I seem to tolerate them better. I'm don't even like things like cake and cookies anymore. I am not ravenous anymore, but I didn't realize how hungry sugar stuff made me. Thanks

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:33 AM

The correct link is http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:30 AM

Thank you, Doris. I feel like a new person! Here is an article that explains sugar's effect. http://www.nytimes.com/2 I no longer call desserts "goodies" as I really have proof that they are not good for me. I can't explain how peaceful and thrilling it is not to have those cravings for sweets. My daughter had my favorite chocolate the other day and I didn't even consider having any. I remember when I was eating it and I could easily eat a half lb of it and still want more. Then the feeling of a sick stomach would come along, I would wait to feel better and then start all over again.

3
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:09 AM

I stopped eating sugars and grains well before going paleo, so if I have to pinpoint what paleo in particular has done that's good for me, I think it will be "clean eating".

Since "going paleo" we have dropped all frankenfoods, processed seed oils, and CAFO. We have worked hard to find consistent and somewhat affordable sources for pastured meat and eggs, organic veggies, wild caught fish, we've added offal to our diet, and we have learned to ferment veggies and kefir. I feel really good about doing all of this.

I credit Sean Croxton's Paelo Summit last year for really providing the catalyst. My husband and I listened to many of the presentations and learned a lot. It's given us a shared "hobby" of a sort--sourcing good, clean food, preparing it well, and recognizing the benefits. We serve it to our kids and talk about it a lot, to their utter embarassment and remorse (;o)--I hope some of it rubs off and gets passed on to their children some day. Save us, save the planet!

3
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:50 AM

Learning to eat and exercise in a healthy way that I enjoy.

3
A6e2b231f69366ce825476c5a6dcfff6

(1967)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:48 AM

In general, the best change was how I think about food. Enjoying meals instead of mindless snacking.
As for the details:

  1. No added sugars. (used to drink 3-6 sodas a day)
  2. Avoiding gluten.
  3. Working out regularly
  4. Sleeping (went from 6 hrs a night, 12 on weekends, to 8+ every night)

3
2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc

(1974)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:40 AM

Removing gluten definitely. Also, changing from a carb heavy breakfast to a balanced one has helped regulate my blood sugar.

3
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 20, 2013
at 12:20 AM

Eliminating gluten (primarily) and other grains secondary. My acid reflux and bloat is gone and I have far better control over my glucose levels. (Kicking the ADA advice felt pretty good, too!)

2
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:22 PM

The most significant change I have made is eating meat (just fish) after 5 years of veganism and 10 years of vegetarianism. I decided to start eating fish because I read some scary literature about how diets lacking in animal protein, enable mental disorders. I have been eating fish for a month now and have experienced greater mental clarity and stamina. I can also feel more satisfied on less food.

The most import change for my personal health, I believe, is the exclusion of all grains/gluten. This and incorporating a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. But I had been doing this to an extent before I "went paleo".

Discovering coconut oil has also been a pretty big deal for me.

2
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on February 20, 2013
at 12:49 PM

Quite simply, the best thing that I've done is to actually think about what I eat not only in terms of how it tastes but also on whether it serves my body. I used to eat, well, WHATEVER and assume my body could deal with it ... and that my body was impervious to breaking down. Such nonsense! So indeed, merely by caring about myself has been the best thing to happen to me.

_Lazza

2
De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

on February 20, 2013
at 12:40 PM

Right now the best changes have been including eggs, beef, lamb & pork in my diet which was previously just fish & veg, bacon particularly has been noticeable, i feel its one of the healthiest things i eat, if i had to pick one thing it would be bacon.

I only used to have a small portion of quinoa with my daily meal, or fries on the weekend, so excluding those carbs hasn't made a huge difference apart from maybe being a little more fat burning adapted.

Giving up sugar is probably scientifically the best thing, but for well-feeling alone i still go with the bacon!

2
05a79ce8488b4fd939825cd87ed4fdec

on February 20, 2013
at 03:36 AM

I also stopped eating sugar. I found that I was able to maintain and not have crashes throughout the day.

Just being level convinced me to keep going.

2
Cfec3fb17e6d06f984ffedc2aae54920

(150)

on February 20, 2013
at 12:39 AM

I've got extensive food allergies (gluten/wheat/soy/dairy/carrots/mustard), so Paleo seems to be the perfect diet, but I'm including red lentils and GF oatmeal on days I work out. I react to yams (protein must be same as carrots) and I get too hungry on workout days if I don't eat some carbs. I've also made my own sauerkraut as I can't eat yogurt - turned out delish!

So eliminating rice/GF pasta & homemade GF bread and sugar (I have a sweet tooth) is a big deal with allergy challenges.

2
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on February 20, 2013
at 12:18 AM

When I made the commitment to get rid of grains 100% ... it took a long time to convince me that whole grains were bad!

2
39311794c054f89a226f33e1afd08721

on February 19, 2013
at 11:43 PM

Removing gluten was very important. My joint pain disappeared and my brain fog cleared.

But then I still didn't have the energy to do much and that was frustrating. I had to go further and drop grains before I could get much use out of my great joints and brain.

But when it comes down to what I'm strictest with, I still leave the gluten out as my biggest priority.

2
33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

on February 19, 2013
at 11:10 PM

I would say dropping wheat/grains but I'm gluten intolerant so that is quite biased. Besides grains, I would have to say getting adequate vitamin D! Sunshine and cod liver oil made a huge impact on my energy levels.

1
949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

on February 20, 2013
at 03:09 PM

There have been plusses and minuses for me. Before I started Paleo, I was a vegetarian for nearly 18 years. I believe that contributed to clinical depression for ten of those years. I was medicated a long time. Since I added meat to my diet, I've been able to live without anti-depressants. That's been the biggest change for me, although it probably would have come had I merely switched to a SAD.

As for strict Paleo, I used to have gas, digestive discomfort, and stomach pain on a nearly daily basis, and I thought it was normal! I now associate it with the larger amounts of dairy I used to eat - nowadays, ice cream, whipped cream, and other dairy always gives me stomach pain, although cheese in reasonable quantities seems to be fine. Who knew?

Unfortunately, I do seem to have more trouble controlling my weight now, probably because I have the same psychological desire to eat that I always have, but now I'm eating more calorie-dense foods. I also do less cardio now and more weights and HIIT, which may be healthier, but don't burn as many calories in the short term. I'm still working on finding a routine that will stabilize my body weight without making me miserable.

1
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on February 20, 2013
at 02:03 PM

What has benefited me the most I'd have to say keto-cycling. I feel amazing and am just shedding fat at an unbelievable rate.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:43 PM

Basically I stay in moderate ketosis for anywhere from 3-5 days at a time. Then I carb load for a day. I only eat within a 6hr window, regardless of what I'm eating. I try to space these 'windows' at least 15hrs apart. This practice is 'Intermittent Fasting'.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:47 PM

Kashkillz - Would you mind giving me a short description of Keto-cycling?

1
776e2aa4718c4622b7244de0d95ac589

on February 20, 2013
at 12:44 PM

Best change for me: realizing that the food I put into my body does matter. It's hard to get to a mindset where you don't 'want' SAD foods but once you get there it's so much easier. Now when I 'crave' those things I think about the terrible after effects and can rationalize my way out of it. I also second BACON! No guilt when it comes to meat eating. yum. :) Eggs, meat, and MCT - bulletproof coffee and tons of coconut oil.

1
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on February 20, 2013
at 05:10 AM

The best change that I made for myself was throwing in the towel and getting some help from a practitioner. Nutrition can be uber confusing when your unwell, it was for me anyways and having a guiding hand has made a world of difference.

1
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on February 20, 2013
at 01:49 AM

Like most of the other responders here, definitely removing grains has been the best change I've made to my diet. No more migraines, no more joint pain, and no more bloating among other things. The worst thing is that I tend to get a little OCD about it and other aspects of this way of eating.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on February 20, 2013
at 01:31 PM

Grains. Yesterday I had some country sourdough bread and I waited for the sky to fall in; it didn't, but the bread tasted lumpy and gooey in my mouth. First nongluten free bread I've had in maybe a year and I DIDN'T CARE FOR IT! Glad to be free!

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:59 PM

I discovered that the chicken sausages that I had bought from WF had soy sauce in it. I had been having mild headaches all week that eventually culminated in a migraine by the time I had finished the package. Darn it, and I have two more packages of it. Giving it to my son.

1
5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

on February 19, 2013
at 11:09 PM

I got totally obsessed with nutrition while neglecting other aspects of my life like my job, my relationship, my happiness, my brownies.

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on February 20, 2013
at 02:27 PM

Just joking - or not so much... The truth is that after years of SAD and shit I changed my lifestyle and now I am totally absorbed by nutrition and health issues. I guess that after some time I will find a better balance.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on February 20, 2013
at 04:11 AM

Are you sure this is the "best" change for you? Sounds like a bad change to me.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!