Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eating Like My Ancestors

So, looking back on the blog, it looks like haven't filled you on my current eating status in quite a while. At the beginning of September, I once again made a serious change to my diet and this one felt so severe, that I was almost embarrassed to admit I was doing it. It felt a bit like I was going over the edge food wise. But now, 3.5 months in, it feels so normal, that I can probably 'fess up.

First, let's review, October (I think it was October) 2008 I gave up wheat, dairy and most sugar. Then in December I gave up soy. Then in January (after 20 years of being a vegetarian) I started eating meat. Then finally, in September, I fully embraced the my crossfit obsession and became 'Paleo'. This essentially means eating as the cave men ate - on the theory that our bodies evolved eating a certain way and to be optimally healthy, strong etc we should eat this way. So essentially, I eat meat, vegetables, eggs, oils (mostly olive and flax seed) and nuts. And that's really about it. Oh, and I eat butter, just because it tastes good. Oh, and sometimes I eat real organic chocolate, again, because it tastes good and only if it has no corn syrup. And a couple times a week I have some alcohol (I'm pretty sure our ancestors drank fermented beverages, it was the only way to keep stuff from spoiling.) I eat no grains. I eat no beans or peanuts (legumes = evil). I eat no potatoes (for some reason the crossfit gods have decided our ancestors shunned potatoes - I think it's because they have a high glycemic index which spikes insulin levels in your blood). I don't eat corn or soy (and after watching food inc, I'm very glad I don't). I eat almost no procesed food (the occasional lara bar). And all of this sounds completely holier than thou. But, I feel awesome. My workouts are great. I'm strong. I haven't lost any weight, but I could probably tone down the nuts and I'd lose a pound or two. (By the way, I make almond flour bread and it rocks!). I have a nice sustained energy levels - no major highs or lows. I thought this would be something I'd try for a month to see if it worked, but I have no interest in going back. Being a vegetarian feels so completely foreign to me right now. It's amazing how much I've changed my thought process in the last year.

And sometimes I feel guilty, not because of any moral qualms that we shouldn't eat meat, I think humans are meant to eat meat and I always have. But because of the environmental impacts of eating meat are pretty extreme. It take something like 12,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. It's much less for chicken, but still high. As a result, I end up spending top dollar on my meat, to be sure it has the lowest possible impact. And I have the luxury of doing that, I know others don't. It's a shame that the cost of our food doesn't take into account all the costs - environmental as well as pure costs. Oh, and it would be nice if the costs of our food didn't include huge government subsidies for things like the overproduction of corn.

But, as usual, I digress. One of my favorite paleo obsessions, is figuring out what I 'can' and 'can't' eat. The 'paleo community' has very specific and varying ideas of what is and is not acceptably paleo. If you google 'paleo' and 'bananas' you can view long discussions on whether bananas are truly something a paleo person can eat or if, because they were only grown in certain portions of the world, most of our ancestors didn't eat them so to be truly paleo you shouldn't. Just a little paleo humor!

Anyhow, I am happy with all the changes I have made and though I still occasionally get bloated and tending to be a little snuffly, I am so much better than I was this time last year!

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