2.05.2014

Vegan! No, Paleo! No, Vegan!

I'm reading It Starts With Food, which was written by the preternaturally attractive founders of the Whole 30. The Whole 30 is a dietary "reset" based on the principles of eating paleo. If you could put the principles of paleo in a nutshell, it's eating lots of vegetables plus fruit and meat. But just make sure that you don't put the principles of paleo in a peanut shell, because peanuts are actually legumes, and legumes and grains are unwelcome in the paleo world.

Yes, I also find it totally ironic that the same person who declared herself to be a flexitarian with vegan tendencies is now studying up on the health nut descendent of the Atkins diet. You know, that vaguely nauseating fad diet in the 1990s that enabled a generation of men to eat all the bacon they wanted as long as they passed on the cheddar biscuits.

I feel a little bit like I did when Juliette was an infant, and I made myself crazy reading diametrically opposed propaganda about parenting. You can't make both Dr. Weissbluth and Dr. Sears happy. You are always breaking someone's rules.

I also feel a bit like a thirteen-year-old girl who doesn't want to wear her perfectly good Guess? Jeans because Jordache is what's cool now. (I have no idea if Guess? and Jordache are still around.)

There is a part of me that wants to shut the door on all the food books (except Rachel Marie Stone's utterly perfect Eat With Joy) and stick to Michael Pollan's advice to "eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Nevertheless, I'm finding It Starts With Food to be informative and eye-opening. I'm not entirely convinced that grains are egregious (when you pry my oatmeal spoon from my cold dead hand, you can be sure that I won't have died of cardiovascular disease, because everyone knows: oatmeal is heart healthy). But I have learned a whole lot more about how diseases like diabetes develop, and how seemingly healthy food can actually contribute to chaotic blood sugar and such.

My impetus to explore the paleo approach is rather unfortunate: I realized, during my current attempt to make my pants fit, that I don't actually "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." I started tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal (even though I hate tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal), and as it turns out, I eat a ton of processed carbohydrates and sugar. Like, loads. I've been paying attention to the nifty graph that shows how everything you've eaten shakes out, and I've realized that if I'm not careful, I can easily eat the equivalent of an entire loaf of bread every single day. And cheese! Holy cow, do I like the cheese. Eating a bunch of processed grains and dairy is exactly eating food, not too much, mostly plants.

I may never go whole hog with the Whole 30, but I am being far more intentional. I think the trick is to be intentional without being anxious, and to be flexitarian without being faddish.






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