What it all comes down to

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.

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5 thoughts on “What it all comes down to

  1. I applaud you for taking the time to research and determine what foods are right for you! I wish I could inspire others to do the same, haha
    I was “forced” into a healthy lifestyle after a major health crisis involving systemic candida and what I believe was systemic poison ivy. It’s a long story that I’ve been working on a blog about. Anyway, I usually have to stay away from carbs, but I have found some that work ok, in moderation with other foods. I eat rice (but only after soaking in a starter to help break down the phytic acid), and whole wheat sourdough bread. Sourdough is working pretty well. Bread products usually make me crash, but the sourdough doesn’t have such drastic effects. Along with potatoes about once or twice a week, I don’t consume other carbs. Sugar is OUT.
    Have you ever had raw unpasturized milk? I am a BIG FAN. I refuse to drink pasturized milk anymore, and have pretty much quit eating all other pasturized dairy products (aside from hormone-free butter). One day I want to make my own raw cheese. I’ve already started with butter, and my in-laws make yogurt from raw milk. I don’t know what I’d do without my raw milk!!!
    Ok, I could really keep talking more and more about this, haha. Maybe I too should post a blog about my diet!

    The two books that have most influenced my diet are “The Metabolic Typing Diet” and “Cure Tooth Decay”, both of which are heavily based on the research of Weston A. Price. I still need to get my hands on Price’s book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.”

    • Hi Gracie,

      Thank you! I am sorry to hear about your health crisis, but I’m glad that you’ve found an eating style that works for you. I would love to read your story.

      What do you do for the rice? Does it change the flavor at all?

      I’ve actually still have yet to try raw milk. Making your own cheese sounds tasty! I wish I had more time to be able to pursue making my own foods, but for now, I rely on the good people at my local farmers market for high quality foods. The yogurt and cheese that are at the market here are amazing. So, even though I don’t consume a lot of dairy, when the market is in full swing, I do eat more cheese and yogurt.

      Thank you for all the book titles! I have to get on reading some of these books. I have a huge list of books that I want to get to. So far I’ve been limited to reading and researching on the Internet, which is dangerous enough. Give me a book and I won’t stop reading until I’m done. 🙂

      I can’t wait to read what you put up about your diet and what you’ve been through.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

      • Well, to fully explain the rice thing, you need to read this link:
        http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid
        A short summary is this- most grains, including brown rice (which we have a lot of- we buy in bulk!) contain a lot of phytic acid, which can strip your body of calcium and iron and other things your body really needs. Phytase is the enzyme which digests and helps eliminate this acid. This enzyme is released through soaking, fermentation, etc. Brown rice doesn’t contain a whole lot of phytase, so you have to build up a phytase-rich starter to soak it in before cooking. Basically you soak the rice for something like 16 hours, keep about 10% of that water and store it in the fridge (cook the rice with fresh water). Then the next time you soak rice, add the 10% water you saved from last soaking with fresh water to soak this batch. Save 10% of that water, and so on and so on. After about 4 times you will be able to reduce the phytic acid by I think 90some%.
        I think doing this has made rice more digestable for me. I used to hate rice, but lately it’s becoming my friend. My current favorite is rice fried in butter (I love butter), with fresh cucumbers and oil and garlic powder and salt and pepper. Sooooo good.

  2. Interesting. I’m curious to try out this whole soaking the rice thing. I grew up eating rice and almost no bread, so rice was a pretty big part of my diet growing up. I never had problems with it, but I’m wondering if I’ll see a difference by soaking the rice. I’m glad that this has helped you out. I love rice and yes, rice in butter is quite tasty. The last time I ate rice, there was a lot of butter involved. 🙂

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