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{Preface: This post is not meant to attack anyone’s health/diet beliefs or practices. We are all individuals and what works for you may not work for me. I respect your choices, and ask that you also respect mine.}

I have been drafting this post in my mind for several weeks now. A few weeks ago, I was angry. I felt like my crossfit box was pressuring me to “go Paleo”. I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t be healthy unless I was some variation of Paleo.

The craze is everywhere. But incase you live under a rock are not fitness/health obsesses as I seem to be, let me give you a quick objective summary of the Paleo diet.

 

The Paleo Diet is based upon….

eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.

This description was taken directly from the official Paleo website.

https://i0.wp.com/www.crossfitanaerobicinc.com/files/2011/12/Paleo-Levels2.png

The source for the above photo has a nice, comprehensive list of what you can and cannot eat, based on the Paleo diet. Basically, you are eating an unlimited buffet of vegetables. There are lots of other things you can eat, and there is no questioning that there are many delicious Paleo recipes.

I have many friends who eat Paleo, who are happy and healthy. I also have many friends who do not eat Paleo, who are also happy and healthy. I am not Paleo, and have no desire to become Paleo in the near future.

I understand there are many benefits to a Paleo diet. I understand that Paleo may help be become stronger and more efficient. I also know myself quite well and understand that if I tell myself I am not allowed to have a certain food, I will not be a happy camper.

Yes, food is fuel for your body. Yes, I want to nourish my body and treat it well. Yes, I want to be healthy. Do I feel tired? Sluggish? Bloated? Not really. Am I happy, healthy, and active? Yes. Of course, I would like to be healthier. But I’m not willing to unconditionally give up oatmeal, peanut butter, yogurt, cheese and chocolate {to name a few} to be “healthier”.

Because emotionally, I don’t think I will be healthier. I will feel left out when I am with friends in a small town where no-one has heard of this diet. I will constantly wonder if this is the best plan for me. I will feel like I am depriving myself.

I can hear certain voices in my head telling me, “but you need to try it” , “you will feel so much better”, “you are shortening your life by eating that crap”, and the list goes on. I have been feeling pretty defensive when I hear those comments, but I’ve decided that I am not going to let someone else’s opinion make me feel weak. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. So from now on, I plan to nod my head and smile. No need to defend myself. This isn’t a battle and it doesn’t need to be.

I have been told, “you have such a great body shape…imagine if you ate Paleo/cleaned up your diet…you could look amazing!” Thank you, but I already feel amazing. I feel strong and beautiful, and am proud of my choices. Absolutely, my views on nutrition and health are constantly evolving, and I’m sure my practices and lifestyle will evolve as well. But for now, I am a happy, healthy, non-Paleo camper, who does love a good cookie recipe, Paleo or not!

Because I’m just an opinionated regular girl, I found a few {of the many available} expert opinions that support my beliefs.

Is There Anything New in Nutrition Worth Talking About? This article comments how the views on nutrition are constantly evolving and changing, which leads to the question…is there really one answer? Or are there dozens of good options? In particular, the author remarks that while much of the ancient nutritional ideology is valid and useful, we are not living in the Paleolithic area. Our lives, and also our needs are different.

Orthorexia on the Rise Per Jenn Culbert, nutritionist at Boston Univeristy, orthorexia “essentially means is that someone is obsessed with eating only healthy food that they consider to be pure”. This obsession can lead individuals to eliminate entire food groups, which CAN be unhealthy, physically and emotionally. {Please notice I said CAN, not IS.}

Ask the Nutritionist: EA Stewart Liz {author of thelemonbowl.com} hosts registered dieticians to answer nutrition questions. It’s insightful to see that there are many different, yet valid, views on nutrition and health.

 

Thoughts? Opinions? The floor is OPEN for discussion.

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