Peruse Before You Partake


I have always been interested in food. Not just what I ingest, but what others choose to consume as well. I admit that I am a discreet food snob and I am okay with this characteristic. It’s not so much that I would judge another on their choice of food but will judge the food itself against my own standard of quality. For instance, I will always choose a creamy smooth piece of spiced gouda for instance over a processed cheese slice. To me this is common sense. So maybe I’m not necessarily a food snob as I am a seeker of quality. That sounds much better.

 

 

All of this interest in food consumption has led me down many different eating paths over my lifetime . I am presently a lacto-ovo vegetarian and have been most of my life. I am presently not consuming wheat or sugar as well. I go through phases where I cut out eggs and dairy and abide by a strict vegan diet. I have even gone for a period of time as a raw food vegan and felt fantastic. I was breastfeeding my second child ( my last) during this time and she flourished and is still incredibly healthy. It just wasn’t the right diet choice for my lifestyle after a while. I find, and I’m not sure if this is just me, but living in the climate I am in I felt cold constantly in the winter months so I added some cooked food back in to stoke my internal fire up again. Twelve and a half years later I have had a huge epiphany in terms of eating habits. It is not so much about “belonging” to any one eating regime as it is about providing ourselves with food that our body will be thanking us for.  I always knew this, I just seemed to need to identify with a particular lifestyle to feel like I was doing the right thing. Not so much anymore. As you are aware, I have ventured down the road to whole food eating. This, to me, is where it’s at. There is no need to call this lifestyle choice anything but common sense eating. No need to belong to a diet plan title. This is about choosing foods that are not processed and are from the original source be it a fruit, vegetable, oil, or animal product. The further our food gets from the source the more unrecognizable it becomes to our body.

 

 

There are many within the whole foods methodology that subscribe to the Paleo diet. I am going to give my opinion now so please don’t get your knickers in a twist. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on this. Like I said, this is my opinion. I don’t profess to be perfect or have all the answers. I only do the things that make sense to me and that feel right. I am a live by my intuition and heart type of person. Here goes…I like the idea of so many people trying to make positive change for their health. I am speaking at present of one of the newest crazes called the Paleo diet. The concept of eating what our systems were originally fed and powered on is very noble. There is one key point missing – is this really how Paleolithic humans ate? Probably not.

 

 

Common sense would suggest that eating large quantities of meat is probably not the best thing we could be doing for our bodies. Most meat is acid-forming for starters. On the topic of our Paleo forefathers and mothers diet, I am convinced that there was a heck of a lot more starchy vegetation/fruit  consumption than the Paleo ideology subscribes to. As I read blogs and articles as well as “studies” regarding Paleo eating it is very evident to me that this diet is an excuse for many folk to eat tons of meat – especially bacon.  How does this coincide with our Paleo relatives? Bacon is a form of food preservation/processing that was unknown to humans of old. This is just an example of ideas twisted to suit our desires. If my own vegetarian diet was controlled by my favorites, I would quickly become off balance consuming only aloo gobi and red wine!

 

 

I read a blog post last week regarding Paleo eating that actually made me sad. The author put the Paleo diet on a pedestal while slamming other lifestyle choices. She went on to flog vegetarianism as unhealthy and extremist. Hmmm….how very unfortunate. There are great ideas at the base of almost all eating styles however, things can quickly veer off course. The Paleo diet is a great idea at its core but has been reworked and altered to compensate for our desires.  However, to get right down to the nitty-gritty of eating perfectly Paleo the participant would need to investigate more than just a book written by one person about their idea of the perfect eating regime. In my opinion, the participant would need to first dig into their own personal ancestral past to find out where their origins started. This would give a great place to start whittling down the food choices. If they originated from an ancestral background that resided by the ocean, their diet would be composed mainly of fish and probably sea vegetables. If that aforementioned individual originated from a forested area they probably would have consumed predominantly berries, insects and game such as deer or small birds.  I venture to suggest that probably a majority of our ancestors within temperate climes ate with the focus largely on plant matter and enjoyed meat sporadically, not the other way around. This makes sense to me. Just sayin’.

 

 

Chasing down the animal content of the diet would make a huge difference as well. There is great physical exertion in hunting Paleo-style unlike walking into the grocers and picking up a nicely packaged portion of meat. Then there is the carbon footprint issue. Eating a large quantity of meat in the diet creates unnecessary waste of resources and a higher carbon footprint. If a family of four skips steak one day a week, it will have  the same impact as taking your car off the road for three months, supposedly. Not sure how accurate this fact is but it is definitely food for thought.

 

 

Do you know what your Carbon Footprint is?

Alternate Carbon Footprint calculator.

 

 

I am not simply spouting off about the Paleo diet and I am not suggesting vegetarianism is perfect. I am using this as an example due to the blogger that made me question why people make the  food choices they do.  This goes for all methods of eating as far as I’m concerned. No diet is 100% perfect. Suggesting such is foolish. When a new diet calls itself “the perfect diet” my alarm bells start ringing. The human body is a complex “machine” that relies on us to fuel it appropriately. Each of us has different needs. It can only accommodate so much before we start to see and feel inadequacies. I think if we all just stopped listening to the hype and started listening (really listening) to our bodies we could enjoy a better state of health.

 

 

 

 

” The very fact that we are having a national conversation about what we should eat, that we are struggling with the question about what the best diet is, is symptomatic of how far we have strayed from the natural conditions that gave rise to our species, from the simple act of eating real, whole, fresh food.”  – Mark Hyman

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13 thoughts on “Peruse Before You Partake

  1. Very thoughtful post! Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on my food choices, too. I learned so much about how my body responded to various food choices during the Whole30 experiment. In fact, I’m still learning. THE biggest revelation for me was the benefit of healthy fats, especially coconut oil.

    I am now reading “Eat Right 4 Your Type,” which bases your optimal diet on your blood type. I don’t yet know how I feel about it. (I don’t even know my blood type yet.) I’ll experiment in the near future and gather some more experience.

    By the way, eating consciously while you were pregnant was a beautiful gift to your daughter. Very, very nice!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Cyndi. As a mother many of our choices are geared toward our offspring. They are dependent on us to nurture them – starting with a great foundation is essential.

      The Whole30 was a great experience! I’m glad it had a similar effect on your thought process. When we start asking questions is when we start being open to receiving answers. Ah, glorious coconut oil how I love thee.

      I devoured the Eat Right for Your Type books when they first came out. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the whole aspect that my blood type suggests I eat mostly meat and no legumes. I tried it briefly and felt emotionally depleted so I moved on. Who knows, it may be a process that you enjoy and makes you feel great. Here’s to an open mind!

  2. Thanks Melissa! Great food for thought… hehe… no pun intended… really! 🙂
    I just had a chat with someone last week about this “Paleo” diet… we chucked about the VAST difference in lifestyle… the people who originally ate that diet didn’t spend the majority of their time sitting… at work, in the car, at home, they lived pretty much out of doors day and night, so their bodies needed those calories just to survive. First, just to live in the elements, unlike us, who live in climate controlled spaces most of the time. And they were active from sun rise to sun down, unlike most of us in Western society. Oh… and they slept, sun down to sun rise, so their bodies had a chance to process and use what was eaten to recover and rebuild as we’re designed to. And they probably only ate meat once a month (albeit, probably a lot in a few sittings cause it wouldn’t last for the most part)… the rest of their diet would have been completely plant based… there was no fast food, factory farms or food processing plants anywhere.
    Just being mindful of what we put into our bodies is the best thing we can do… and really being mindful of how we are feeling after we eat… especially if we make changes. That means we have to pay attention… which, again, in our culture, many of us are just “too busy” to do… so we pay the price and tell ourselves it’s “normal” (some even wear it as a badge of “busyness honour”) to feel tired, drained, stressed and cranky… it’s not normal… (it’s another acid forming, blow to our health)… but we have to be honest with ourselves and not depend on every new fad (or old!) that the world wants to sell us. (Or eating guides… ahem… like the “Canada’s Food Guide” also know as the “S.A.D. Diet” in the US… so ironic, as that’s exactly what it is!!!)
    A cancer diagnosis woke me up pretty quickly in my early 40’s, to that reality… gave me LOTS of time to think about the choices I was making in the name of health, (and “beauty”)… having for years been a vegetarian while still mindlessly consuming vast amounts of coffee, sugar and chemicals in “health” foods and even in home cooked baking. I’ve felt 100X better as a 45 year old Stage IV cancer patient that I have any other time in my life! It’s sounds crazy, but it’s so true. It’s just a bummer I had to learn the lesson this way… but I’m still SO thankful for the lesson. No matter how many years I have left, they are going to be quality years, in large part to how mindful we’ve become about what goes in and on our bodies, and what we allow into our minds… which allows us to sleep long and soundly and have minimal amounts of the “normal” stresses that plague our culture here. We can choose a different way of life… the life we were designed to live. But that’s a whole other topic. xo
    I love the expression (and have come to appreciate the true meaning)…. “It’s cheaper to pay the farmer now, that the doctor later.” … That’s a lesson in common sense our North American society needs to learn to really live a life … and teach our children that we can live a life of vitality and wellness 24/7, 12 months a year. (Even during the holidays!! )
    It IS possible! 🙂

  3. PS: And mindful, doesn’t mean perfect! 🙂 That’s just another recipe for more stress. (Oh, seriously, didn’t see that one coming either!) What we do MOST of the time, is what is going to contribute to our wellness, one way or the other! xoxo

    • Wowzers, girl! You should have written the blog entry today! 😉
      You are so right…being mindful doesn’t mean perfect. It isn’t an occassional french fry that will cause us to keel over so we need to keep things in perspective. The S.A.D. is nasty. How did we allow ourselves as a society to get so far from the reality of healthy eating? How we treat ourselves each and every day makes the difference. When we respect ourself and consider what we put in our gob as to whether it will nourish or hinder is the goal.

      Spending quality time with you, my co-pilot, has increased my awareness immensely in terms of the acid-alkaline aspect of eating. Your path to a less-stress lifestyle (although you are probably the busiest person I know!) is inspiring. Healthy eating is delicious if done right!

      xo

  4. Sometimes I think I’m gearing towards a Paleo diet, but then I think, not really! In the end, I’m more focused on clean eating and eating whole foods. Although I’m trying to figure out where dairy fits into it for me…I know I need to cut back on the gooey melted cheese! In the end, it’s about eating what my body needs so that I feel my best. (and I’m still working on that, as you know. hehe)

    Thanks for a great, thought-provoking post!

    • The great thing about clean eating is that it isn’t a “diet”, it’s a lifestyle. It’s easier to choose foods that are conducive to good health when you realize how great you feel, isn’t it? Gooey cheese isn’t the enemy…the type and occurance of it in your meals is. There’s my quality snob rearing its head again! I like melty, yummy cheese too. It just tastes better when it becomes a treat. Just like we learned together as a group on the facebook Whole30 Poutine Detox page, when we drop an offending food from our meals we feel sooo much more ALIVE! You should be so proud of yourself. You are making great additions to your and your family’s food selections!

      Thanks, btw. 🙂

      • I admit I’m a food snob as well. Boxed cake mix or store-bought cake? No thank you! They really aren’t very good, so if I’m going to eat cake, I’d rather make my own that I know tastes a heckuva lot better. That’s not a healthy example, but you know what I mean. 😉

  5. Yes, there are too many humans on the planet now to eat paleo, not enough resources to support all that beef, or other meat, fish, fowl, or wild game. There actually isn’t enough topsoil to support the future existence of billions of people either, and we are losing topsoil every day to erosion, contamination, and pouring concrete over it. The future of food is not exactly rosy, so we have to do all we can to promote the idea of caring for Mother Nature and being AWARE, and if able, growing our own. Like one friend said to me, quoted on my blog, “it won’t be the price of food in the future, it will be whether we can get it at all.” Thanks! – Kaye

    • That’s a frightening thought, Kaye, but very plausible due to our disregard for Mother Nature. There is a tipping point when we overuse our limited resources and factory farming pushes us to that point. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. “It is not so much about “belonging” to any one eating regime as it is about providing ourselves with food that our body will be thanking us for.”

    That is FABULOUS!!!

    As you know, I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon a few months ago. My sugar cravings due to my hormones and meds threw me for a curve, despite my best intentions, so I wasn’t a perfect Paleo eater. There are several versions of Paleo, which allow and disallow certain types of foods. One allowed diet soda. This I do not agree with at all. Mark Sisson’s version is the best, in my opinion. It’s more sensible, easier to live with, and he doesn’t recommend eating bacon, unless it’s nitrate-free, and even then, in small quantities.

    I once said I could never be a vegan. I think eggs and fish are very healthful. I’m changing my mind about dairy, but I’m still on the fence. Lately, though, I’m losing my taste for meat, and I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter, though.

    You are spot on. What you eat should be less about adhering to a popular diet plan and more about providing your body what it needs. If my body wants more veggies and less meat, I’m gonna go with it, no matter what the diet gurus say.

    By the way, your blog rocks, so I’ve nominated you for the 2012 Blog Of The Year Award!

    http://thegirlinyogapants.com/2012-blog-of-the-year-award/

    • Toni, you are one rockin’ chick! Listening to your bod is key in healthful (and mindful) nutrition. Whether or not you choose to eat meat or not should be judged on your need and response. Not everyone does well on the same menu and every body digests uniquely. Meds will definitely alter your absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. I think the Whole30 Poutine Detox peeps all have a similar mindset as to being attune to our internal voice, if you will.

      Diet soda? Please. That’s just flat out wrong. Can you imagine a cave dude walking around with a can of diet Coke? HA!

      Thanks for the kudos (and I’m not referring to the snack food- although I love Combos ;))! I am flattered that you have nominated little ‘ol moi.

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