I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and while there have been posts by other more eloquent writers out there about various diets and eating habits and how they compare, I’m going to add a little more noise to the bunch with my thoughts.
I have been eating a paleo/primal/ancestral diet for about 9 months now. When I tell people about how I eat, they wonder how I do it. They wonder how I can stick to a “diet” for so long. The thing is that I don’t think of it as a diet. I hate diets. I don’t believe in diets. Paleo is the way I eat, not a restrictive thing.
I don’t find paleo eating hard. Sure, maybe when I go out, or when I’m in a different town it’s a bit harder to figure out where to get the kind of foods that I want to eat. Other than that, in my regular every day life, I don’t really think too much about it.
I think that the point that people are missing when they hear about the way I eat is that what it all comes down to is eating high quality foods. Similar eating frameworks are all basically saying the same thing. Even those diets that include things like wheat and dairy still encourage eating high quality foods in their basic forms.
I say that I eat paleo just to give the way I eat a label, but the truth is that it’s far from describing the way I personally eat. I make eating choices based on the issues that I have and the things that I want to improve about my health, my body, and my life. So, while paleo really means a grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free diet at it’s most basic level, after an induction period of strict paleo for a month, I’ve figured out what works for me.
I found out that milk and I don’t agree with each other. Yogurt, cheese, butter, and heavy cream are all okay. I eat them, but they are not a big part of my diet. I also found out that wheat is bad news. If I eat something that has wheat in it, I will feel terrible afterwards. I will be sleepy and lethargic and not in a good way. It’s like I’ve been drugged. I’ve heard of people who are able to go back to eating wheat much later on, but I don’t really miss wheat.
I do miss rice sometimes though. If I’m craving a whole lot of carbs and I don’t feel satisfied with what I’m eating, I might eat a bowl of rice. This probably happens less than once a month. I don’t stress that I’m eating a grain. If my body wants it, I eat it. I know my body well enough to know that wanting to eat some rice isn’t going to become some sort of binge fest of grains and whatnot. I just simply need whatever rice has to offer and once I eat some, it’s over. The end. Not a big deal.
I also eliminated nightshades from my diet, but that was a conscious decision based on research and not a personal experience. Other decisions that are more conscious rather than experience based are eating organic foods, eating locally, and eating pastured, grass fed meats. Although, admittedly, these types of foods taste better than their conventional counterparts.
If you know anything about these ancestral type diets, you’ll know that there are a lot of different flavors. The way I eat is my own version of the ideas that are out there on how best to eat.
Eat what makes you feel good. Not crazy, sugar high good or carb induced food coma good, but healthy, clean good.
Someone once said to me that she believed that eating one’s ethnic cuisine was what was best for them. I’m paraphrasing what I heard in another language, so it’s not really well said here, but I think that the point is clear – you should eat for your particular makeup. I do feel better eating foods of my ethnic heritage. I think it has to do with the fact that it’s all focused on eating fresh foods. The only paleo determined red flags in the diet would be rice and soy. Personally, I don’t even think those are that bad.
So, really, what I’m saying is that if you want to feel better and improve your health, don’t stress out over the details. Look at the big picture. The big picture is to eat better quality, fresh foods. Start there and work on the little issues one at a time and you’ll find your self happier and healthier without the stress of traditional dieting methods.
Feel free to ask me questions, discuss, and so forth.