Friday, July 13, 2012

Paleo Observations

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the "paleo diet" or "caveman diet" or "primal diet." It is fair to say that these concepts have entered the mainstream. If you HAVE been living under a rock, then I would argue that you are already "paleo" and can just stop reading now. Seriously, though, now that these "crazy" "restricitive" "diets" have been learned about by the masses, I notice a lot of things. If you have been reading me for a bit, then you know I do strive for a diet free of grains, legumes, refined sugar, and highly processed dairy. Make no mistake, this will not be an unbiased post.

To be expected, there is a lot of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and just downright false information floating around. Just like religion, there are going to be a lot of ways to read the same book. Some people are going to take things quite literally and hunt their own food, grow what they can, ditch their cars (and maybe their toilets), and eat bugs. Others are going to understand the principles of what is trying to be accomplished (regulate blood sugar/insulin) and find out a way to incorporate the core principles into their current modern life. Then there will be people that simply just don't get it, people that could not possibly see themselves eating such a restrictive, fad way. Not to say that the ones that don't get it are wrong, or that they will never get it, its just that either they don't need to get it, something with "paleo" hasn't resonnated with them, or they are just not in a place to be accepting new ideas.

I understand all of these positions and the ones in between. I've been working towards a diet ideal for ME for over 2 years now, and I've definitely gone through a full spectrum of actions, arguments, experiments (failed and sucessful), and lots of research. When I started with my initial 30 day Paleo experiment (probably now people would recognize this as the "Whole30") I was uncertain. The information I was reading was contradictory to everything I'd been told about diet. What do you mean whole grains aren't healthy? I'm eating A LOT of animal fat. Isn't that bad? Luckily, my epic results were fast to come, and I definitely think this is because I'm a person that's always been really intune with my body. I know this is not the case for everyone, because for oh, I'd say a good 9 months to a year after my first 30 days, Paleo was all I could talk about. I wanted everyone to experience what I was experiencing. I'm pretty sure I sounded fanatical and crazy.

The more comfortable I got with what I was eating, the stronger I got, the more muscle I gained and the more fat I lost, the quieter I became about what I was doing. The correct choices to make for my body came easily. I understood that eating foods packed with nutrition was the goal, NOT to elimate carbohydrates or eat all the bacon in the world. Sure I would have times where I ate something that wasn't "paleo" but I did not beat myself up nor get struck down by the forces of the paleo gods. I just felt like crap, not like me (again, back to my good intuition about my body) and that generally was enough to keep me on track. I no longer spend time trying to convert people to paleo - which I didn't even realize I was trying to do at the time, but looking back, I see how crazy I might have been. I understand now, that people are going to do whatever they want to do. Nothing I say could ever change what someone else puts in their mouth.

People ask me at the gym all the time what I eat. When I tell them, they either get it or they don't. The ones that get it ask for recipe tips or helpful websites. The ones that balk at my whole grain free life, I just make sure keep the conversation short, and maybe one day they'll want more information. Instead of me trying to tell everyone about what I was or wasn't eating, people come to me. I understand that what I do is not for everyone. I understand that my body was desperate for nutrients and in need of repair. I understand that food is highly personal, emotional, and some people don't have the strength to take a leap and try something different.

What I don't understand is people that have done no reading on the subject, no experimentation themselves, and are stuck in some horrible pattern of stalled weightloss/bad health markers, why they are SO QUICK to dismiss the principles of paleo. At what point did we as a society start thinking that the people that sell us our food have our best interests in mind? Or that the medical community has our best interests in mind when they keep trying to invent pills to "fix" us rather then recommending dietary changes? It makes me (silently) crazy to read about people feeding their kids processed crap day in and day out, and then wondering why their kid has bad asthma, or gets sick all the time (but we are vegetarians and we NEED to eat soy and whole grains- barf). Maybe you do need to take a Claratin everyday for your bad allergies, BUT, have you ever tried eliminating the most common allergen producing foods (wheat, soy, dairy)? I KNOW its a stretch to think that something you eat could possible be affecting how you react to dandelion puffs. It took me a looong time to put those two together.

I am by no means perfect. I don't know a lot about you, but I know for a fact that you are capable of WAY more then you think you are. Close your eyes and jump.

1 comment:

  1. This was awesome! I tried the Paleo diet before for two weeks and noticed some personal improvement, but my life is SURROUNDED by temptations right now (college student) and I was not strong enough to be a paleo yet!
    thanks for the inspiration!