My parents are on a diet for my upcoming wedding. As a self-appointed diet expert (one who, I joke, was so good at dieting that she ended up with a therapist), I automatically began proselytizing about Paleo, and how great it is, and how it would totally help them lose weight.
But as I was talking, I realized that I couldn’t actually endorse what I was saying. No beans, which are lauded the world over as a good source of protein? No grains, not even relatively healthy grains such as quinoa and oats? But definitely eat plenty of animals, animal fats — hell, throw bacon grease on everything. But don’t touch cheese or whole milk, even raw.
Absolutely crazy. And I realized that I didn’t really believe much of it after all.
The way I felt about Paleo was like a religion. If I just ate the right things, despite my logic, if I followed the rules, I was a good person and would be rewarded with weight loss. My tummy issues would disappear, my headaches would go away, and I would be happier, fitter, and look better naked.
There are some things in this diet I agree with. I love the emphasis on healthy fat, the lack of refined sugar, the cutbacks on dairy and the focus on whole fruits and vegetables. I like that I don’t have to count calories. Paleo gave me a healthy respect for protein and taught me that toast with butter for lunch is not a smart choice.
But I’ve slipped into a trap that catches many Paleo people. Look at my blog…there are so few meatless recipes that focus on fruits and vegetables. How is that healthy? Reliable sources have called Paleo “unsafe,” and even Sally Fallon believes that grains are good, so long as they are prepared properly.
And despite sticking with Paleo for about six months, my stomachaches, headaches and fatigue remain.
Here’s what I think. I think that whole grains are healthy, though clearly those with celiac disease should not eat gluten and others might be sensitive to it. I believe that most diets work because they force their followers to focus on whole fruits and vegetables while reducing sugar. I don’t believe I need meat or dairy every day; and I think that I should be able to make my own pasta and not feel guilty about it, or eat oatmeal for breakfast. Or, god forbid, have a cupcake and not beat myself up.
I started this blog as a way to document my journey towards a healthy way of eating — a way of eating that would make me happy while making my body feel good. Paleo is not the path for me, so I’m going to keep searching. Along the way, I’m going to continue to share fresh, creative, delicious and healthy recipes with you — some paleo, some vegan, some meatless, and some gluten-free. I hope you’ll continue to join me.
Disclaimer: Paleo definitely works for some people, and that’s awesome! It takes a lot of dedication, and the creativity that goes into the work of a lot of Paleo bloggers is phenomenal. But I don’t have celiac disease, I’m at a healthy weight by every standard except Hollywood’s, I am not training for the CrossFit Games, and I want to be able to make pasta for my boyfriend once in a while. Paleo is not for me. You should find out if it’s for you; and if it is, hooray! You do you 🙂