As promised, today I will describe the differences between a few eating styles.
Before you read the word “diet” and think this is about weight loss, I want to assure you, while it may be a side effect for some people when changing eating styles, that is NOT what this is about. The best weight-loss program you can implement in your life is to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods and get moving. ;)
According to dictionary.com, a ‘diet’ is defined as:
1. food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.
2. a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.
3. such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.
4. the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group: The native diet consists of fish and fruit.
5. food or feed habitually eaten or provided: The rabbits were fed a diet of carrots and lettuce.
My definition of “diet” combines a few of the above descriptions; my favorites being #4 and #1.
Recently, our family needed to make some changes to our diet due to some health issues. The main change was that we needed to take gluten out of our selection of foods. As I mentioned in my last post, we have been doing that, but in addition, we are finding ourselves eating more of a “primal” diet.
What does that mean?
Well, in the world of ‘foodies’ and ‘diets’ there seems to be quite a trend to embrace a “Paleo” lifestyle, a “Primal” lifestyle, or a “Gluten-free” lifestyle.
But are they really new?
I think it has gained popularity only because all three lifestyles have helped people lose weight, (which seems to be America’s greatest concern when it comes to physical appearance) and because of the rise in food allergies. After all, I don’t recall reading about anyone having food allergies in the Garden of Eden.
The reality is: these lifestyles are archaic; yep, ancient; downright old.
The gluten-free diet is simply more “popular” because the grains that were eaten by those in biblical days, in our grandparents day, and even in our parents days,….are NOT the same grains you are eating now and/or are feeding to your children. The majority of the grains eaten these days is so overproduced, modified, treated, and processed, that well, they are causing more harm than good. Therefore, people are having to “go gluten-free” because of health implications.
Just looking at how many people have allergies to foods these days compare to when I was a child,…..wow! And that is just one symptom of a really big problem. It’s actually quite sad.
The “Paleo” lifestyle and the “Primal” lifestyle refer to the diets eaten by people who lived in the Paleolithic period of time and are often considered to be the diets that the cavemen ate. And trust me, there were no “Hamburger Helpers” in those days!
Both diets emphasize the consumption of foods that were either grown or collected by hunters and gatherers. I think IF they ate goldfish, they didn’t come out of a box and certainly didn’t come in cool shapes and colors!
Both diets (and a good gluten-free diet) should include animal proteins and fats and a lot of nutrient-dense, whole fruits and vegetables. They suggest choosing foods that are either grown or raised by one’s self, or, that were grown or raised by someone you know. Foods like grass-fed beef, pastured chicken eggs, fermented foods, pastured and not anti-biotic filled chickens, and wild-caught fish. While the Paleo diet does not include dairy products, the Primal diet and a good gluten-free diet usually includes milk straight from the cow. Yes, RAW milk. *we can tackle that subject another day* ;)
If your only option is buying food from the grocery store, do your homework. Find out where the food came from, wash it well when you get home, try to buy organic (learn about the clean 15 and the dirty dozen), and buy foods REAL, WHOLE foods.
Both diets (and a good gluten-free diet) should also include LOTS of seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. The Paleo diet exludes legumes.
No matter which lifestyle you choose, remember, it is your job to be informed. Don’t take my word for it. Study up on your subject. *Look up Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain, and Mark Sisson, that’ll get you started.* Decide what your goals are before you make the change and take baby steps so that your changes will last.
Lastly, remember, making lifestyle changes isn’t just about food. Think about your relationships, your priorities, your exercise routines, and your habits. It won’t make much of a difference if you change the foods you eat if you still overeat while sitting on the couch with the clicker in your hand and never get active. Sorry, watching exercise on television doesn’t count, you actually have to get up and get moving.
Remember, baby steps! You are looking for progress, not perfection. ;)
By the way, don’t stress out about an occasional cheat treat,….part of really living, is enjoying life. :)
Also, if you happen to be one of the fortunate people who can “eat anything and everything”, I would encourage you to not take that for granted. I would encourage you to eat a REAL, WHOLE-FOODS diet that includes plenty of fermented foods, exercise, sunshine, and active fun! :)
Keepin’ it real,