Since I first heard about “Paleo” and started checking out recipes online, the lines between Paleo and Primal, Raw Foodism, and various other “diets” got really confusing REALLY fast. So I’m writing this post to clear up some confusion, and hopefully help others, like yourselves, find a diet and a life style that is energising, uplifting and fulfilling for them. This was prompted by checking out the great post at Mark’s Daily Apple here on the difference between Paleo and Primal Diets.
What diet is best for me?
Sorry to disappoint, but here’s a disclaimer: You are not going to find out the perfect diet for you by asking the internet. The internet is a fantastic resource, no doubt about it, and yes there are lots of amazing blogs, websites, articles, videos and more, all dedicated to helping you become your best, healthiest self. But if you’re looking for a miracle expert who can tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating…. look in the mirror.
Nobody knows your body like you do. We are all just here for ideas, pointers, and advice. Doctors, Nutritionists and other helpers or “experts” can only go by what you tell them. As with all people, they will be influenced by their own life experience, and as such, their recommendations are going to be informed by that experience too. You could talk to two doctors from the same school, who graduated the same year, and they may both tell you different things depending on what diet they personally follow; what papers they took; what professors they had; what articles they read for their assignments and so on. Yes, there are general guidelines that are great to get from these people and if you have no idea where to start I would thoroughly recommend, in fact, I would urge you to go and see your Doctor, Nutritionist, Naturopath, or other practitioner to give you some pointers. However, at the end of the day you are the expert and you need to listen to your body.
Ask yourself questions like…
-Do I feel energetic when I eat this?
-Do I feel sluggish when I eat this?
-Do I become irritable when I eat certain types of foods?
-Do certain types of foods make me feel calm, clear and happy?
-Does this type of diet fit in with my own religious/spiritual/ethical beliefs?
-Does this type of diet match up with what I do know about health and nutrition? If not, why not? How? Do I need to research more?
What diet do you eat?
As an overarching, sweeping generalisation I eat Paleo…ish. What Paleo means to me may be different than what it means to someone else, but you know what? That’s okay. As mentioned above, I believe I am the expert on my body, so in collaboration with doctors, nutritionists, friends, family, and the supportive community on the internet I eat what makes me feel good. This tends to be….
-Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free
-Lots of veggies!
-Relatively high protein, with a lot of lean meat and I always trim fat off my meat. This is a personal habit, I used to be vegetarian and have always hated fat on my meat, so it’s not necessarily because I have looked deeply into the benefits of some fats or anything.
-No refined carbs
-Mostly grain-free, though I don’t object to amaranth, quinoa, couscous or many other gluten-free grains in small portions from time to time. I even eat brown rice on occasion.
-I do eat a few legumes like lentils and chickpeas relatively regularly, though again, all in moderation
-No highly processed
food crap. (Because let’s face it… if it’s been through that much processing, with that many additives… it’s not really food. Just calorific rubbish.)
–> All generally based on eating a diet more closely aligned to what our ancient ancestors would have eaten pre-Neolithic Revolution. I also believe in buying organic and I do so as much as humanly possible within my budget.
And a final word on diets…
I can not stress it enough- eat what works for YOU. It doesn’t matter if it’s Paleo, Primal or any other “diet” or a combination of many or none. These are just labels that are good to help narrow down searches or to give a general idea, but you don’t have to subscribe to every part of a particular diet, nor do you have to define yourself by it. Eat what you want to eat to nourish your body and your mind, you don’t need to justify your food choices to anyone. Ever. Let’s move eating away from this arena of judging and confining foods (and people!) into small little boxes and start looking at things holistically. Eat what works for your body and your lifestyle… of course I’m going to encourage people to eat healthily, but this is a broad banner and it’s different for everybody! Let’s focus on making the internet a place where people can find support and inspiration rather than judgement… whether that’s to do with diet; lifestyle; size or even politics or religion!
Love and light xx