Tuesday 18 August 2009

Transitioning to a Paleo Diet Case Study: 3 Month Update

This is a guest post by Straight to the Bar's Scott Bird - 3 Months In : Increased Mental Clarity
Having switched over to a Paleo diet just over three months ago, I've noted a gradual improvement in many areas; and in health overall. No regrets whatsoever.

One of these improvements has been a steady increase in mental clarity. This is perhaps the most difficult area to quantify (as I haven't exactly got a stockpile of 'mental history' notes); though from my point of view it's the biggest change so far.

Before I take a look at the improvement itself, I'll define what I mean by 'mental clarity'. Here are a few phrases to give you an idea of what I mean :
  • ability to focus on a task

  • reduction in the impact of distractions

  • detailed recall of events

  • extension of my peak working hours
As you can imagine, all of these are very welcome changes - and a complete surprise. To me, at least.

To see the changes themselves, lets take a brief look at each one in turn :
Ability to focus on a task
The clearest example of this occurs when I first wake up each morning.

When I first open my eyes, I'll have an idea of what I'm going to do that day. Major items - 'work on project x' or 'finish writing y'. This thought is only approximate; more the 'what' than the 'how'.

As I go through the usual morning routine (a bodyweight workout, coffee and so on), this idea solidifies. Gradually the 'how' comes into view.

By the time I'm ready to start work, both the 'what' and 'how' items are lined up and ready for action. It's a great feeling.
Reduction in the impact of distractions
In the past, I'd seek a quiet area in which to work. Whether writing, photographing a subject or solving problems; silence was always the goal.

Gradually, however, I'm finding that I can tolerate more and more ambient noise. This in turn leads to being able to work more effectively in a greater number of environments. And yes, this is a good thing.
Detailed recall of events
Although I've always been noted for observing details about a place or event (yes, I'm that person who announces that all of the bad guys are using a particular type of 'phone in your favourite show), my memory is not exactly world-class. Still, all the information's clearly in there somewhere.

Over the past few months, this has been changing. Whilst the observant part is unchanged, the recall has been steadily improving. Especially the level of detail for each event.

The exact location of a house I used to live in? Not going to happen. The license plate of a car I passed yesterday? Yep.
Extension of my peak working hours
While I still work the same number of hours each day, I've always found that I get the most done in the late morning (around 10am - midday). If I've got a major task to get done that day, I'll try to work on it during that time.

Since the switch to Paleo, I've noticed that the 10-12 has grown a bit; 9am - 12:30pm would now be more accurate. As I said, I still work the same number of hours each day as before, I just have a larger 'peak operating window'.
Final thoughts on the Increased Mental Clarity
Overall, I'm astonished by the level of improvement that a switch to the Paleo Diet has brought. Of particular note are the benefits which came as a complete surprise - and very welcome ones - such as this increase in mental clarity.

Love it.


Scott Bird is a writer, photographer and lover of all things strength. He can usually be found in the kitchen stuffing his face, or over at the strength-training site Straight to the Bar.

See Also:
Transitioning to a Paleo Diet - Guest Post on 'Straight to the Bar'
First 2 Weeks of Transitioning to Paleo Diet: A Case Study


Deline said...

How long from when you started the paleo diet to when you started to notice these changes?


Unknown said...

Hey Deline,

I suspect that the time varies a bit from person to person; in my case it was pretty quick. A matter of weeks.



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