The Paleo diet and ‘diets’ in general
Eating well in the Modern AFU age
The Paleolithic (Caveman) diet, inspired from our hunter-gatherer ancestors is naturally one our body understands and assimilates best. It just might be the light for so many lost western stomachs.
For the record, I don’t believe in ‘diets’ persay.
However, a smart friend of mine who is also a good eater swears by this Paleo thing, so if you suspect your eating habits need an overhaul, maybe you will be inclined to read more (links via modpaleo.com). As far as diets go, it’s as sensible as they get.
She seemed puzzled that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about her Paleo nirvana, figuring it would be up my alley. It is true that many of the tenets correspond with what I promote.; the oldest diet in the world naturally excludes anything processed, all meat is natural/pastured, greens and vegetables are central. My eating habits align with Paleo more than a conventional North American regimen. Most of it is actually just normal to me, being the chef for a hunter-gatherer. But there are just a few too many extraneous rules for my comfort. There are too many lovely things not allowed or frowned upon (certain fruit, peanuts, dairy, rice and grains ie pasta, bread..). No matter how wild we are, I do appreciate the benefits of agriculture done the right way. I like to believe we have learned a couple of things in the last 10000 years.
Bottom line, I firmly believe that food should be delicious and fun and relatively stress-free. A daily celebration! That said, in order to let loose and be carefree definitely requires some kind of investment first, that is a source of good wholesome real food and some cooking. Because the truth is that our modern agriculture and food supply systems have mostly gone to shit, unfortunately.
But it doesn’t have to be so complicated! If you eat a variety of real food and cook at home, mostly avoiding industrial crap, supermarkets and restaurants that serve it; with fruit and vegetables occupying a major role, natural meats, eggs and cheese in reasonable portions, then I don’t think you should have to worry about anything, be it salt, sugar, fat, cholesterol, digestive issues, energy levels or weight.. After that it’s just about portion size and exercise, maybe.
I feel like life is too short to make your life miserable when eating thrice daily can be such pleasure. Not that I’ve ever followed any ‘diet’, yet I can’t help but observe that most extreme or painful diets don’t work long term.
Eating locally and seasonally as much as possible helps guarantee quality produce, makes it tasty and fun and easy to focus on the good stuff - growing your own and putting up, or simply knowing where your food comes from. A lot of people accustomed to the superstore would say this is more complicated than any fad diet, but once you've figured out the sourcing, it's easy to work into any schedule. Buying half a cow (or venison) is a one stop shop for the year. Going to the market or getting baskets delivered, putting two hours a week aside for prep - investing in your meals.. So that you have a fridge and freezer full of food that is good for you - all to easily put balanced, tasty meals on the table that will make you happy, no headaches.. Have fun cooking and get to know your vegetables! There should be a big splash of Green in every meal! Use lots of herbs and spices too – behind the flavour boost, there lies a natural arsenal of antibiotics, anti-oxidants, digestive aids and mood stabilizers. And then you absolutely don't need to worry about a peanut or a slice of good bread or banana muffin, an occasion potato chip.
If the new normal weren't so out of whack, there would be no need for diets. Or as much medicine either. Besides, there are plants for that too!
In the meantime, there is no doubt that it wouldn’t hurt most Westerners to embrace the Caveman diet. If it’s a ‘diet’ that it takes to make you eat local vegetables, pastured meat and avoid soft drinks, , Twinkies and packaged chicken fingers, to opt out of big ag and the industrial processed food corn sugar business - then ok, I’m all for it.
I will however remain a ‘diet’ free girl or perhaps I could say a post modern Paleo (who also eats grains and dairy, albeit in small quantities compared to greens).. Or 'deluxe Grandma' (not so different from our grandparents with more variety). Whatever.. My body tells me it is ‘right on!’ If ever not the case, there is always stinging nettle tea, slippery elm or Chaga and etc. to help out..