But something in me changed...
These little nutritional powerhouses were a staple of my Greek ancestors' diet. But for the longest time I've been afraid to indulge myself, asking for my Caesar salad sans anchovies and watching my Yiayia and Pappou (Greek for grandmother and grandfather) in horror from across the restaurant table as they ate them up fried during our summer trips.
But something in me changed...
Here, the New York times explores an interest study that just came out. Antibiotics are often fed to livestock to make them grow and gain more weight more quickly. Now, scientists are wondering if this is also the cause to our obesity epidemic because antibiotics are so widely overused. Besides obesity, antibiotics also cause a host of other problems for our health. Check out the informative article here.
Before I jump into this article, I just want to articulate that going gluten-free isn't a choice for everyone. I do, however, strongly advocate to eliminate it from your diet for 3 weeks to see if you feel better and if you get any symptoms when you re-introduce. Many of us have unknown sensitivities and removing an allergen is a sure way of finding out. On the other hand, many people thrive eating gluten and need it to meet certain dietary needs. I completely support that decision as long as it comes from whole sources as I will outline below. But before, I talk about eating gluten, I want to discuss why I don't.
I have eaten gluten free for over two years now and I often get questions about the difference between Celiac disease, an allergy, an intolerance, or an insensitivity. With all these terms it can get quite confusing about how someone should know to what degree they are susceptible to food reactions. Through this article I hope to clarify some of these terms and help people understand what foods they should avoid.
I just finished this book by Jo Robinson and I am really pleased I decided to read it. I always assumed I was eating healthy by picking up lots of dark leafy greens and fresh fruits and vegetables, but I never realized that certain varieties, preparation, and storage could make such a difference in the nutritional content. I'm just going to go over some of the greater points I found very interesting, but if any of this intrigues you I would highly suggest getting the book. It is certainly not a one time read-- you can tote it to the grocery store to remember crucial points or share information with others.
For me, paleo isn't a diet at all, but a change in perspective. It is a movement towards a more health-minded paradigm, but it isn't a reductionist view. Instead, as a paleo follower, I have tried to move to a more whole approach, at looking at every aspect of life as fuel. It isn't just crucial to pay attention to what we fuel our body with, but also how we treat it-- are we active, do we seek the care we need, experiment with doctors in different areas? See, I often find that even we who follow a paleo diet sometimes get really focused on only one aspect of it, such as not eating dairy. We will stress out so much about cutting out dairy that we become anxiety-ridden and then neglect other parts of our life. This is not wellness. And this isn't what I am focused on.
To me, it's all about balance. I sometimes get really frustrated when people say, "Oh she follows that paleo diet... she doesn't believe in eating such and such." That isn't true at all. I have certain beliefs, but we all do, don't we? Why do some of us have such a problem with how others decide to lead their lives, especially if it is consciously? I may not agree with eating dairy or grains, but that doesn't mean one can never have dairy, nor does it mean that we cannot find more wholesome options, such as grass-fed, or gluten-free grains. And some people may actually perform well on foods that don't suit my body well! Which is why I am such a proponent of seeing what works for the individual. It is important to be conscious of our lifestyle choices so we can determine if something doesn't make us feel optimal. By paying attention, we are able to make important tweaks that can make such a difference in our lives, but maybe wouldn't have an effect on others'.
So what works for most paleo followers? We stress a wholesome diet, that moves away from unprocessed foods such as GMO, grains, refined (vegetable) oils, and dairy. We stress eating a variety of vegetables, healthy fats from coconut, olive oil, and avocado, and well-sourced meats. This can vary depending on the person though, which is why I like this lifestyle. If you are a vegetable-based person for ethical or health reasons, you can still strive to be paleo by trying to eat less processed foods and getting outside more. Others who have fitness goals such as becoming more muscular, can also follow this diet and through well-sourced meats, be fueling their body with optimum protein to become more fit. Then there are those who follow it for longevity and just by adding in healthy fats, proteins, and nutrients see a great strive in their overall mental clarity, cholesterol, and energy.
But once again, I don't want to make paleo reductionist. Because along with eating, it also encompasses making healthy social relationships, laughing a lot, and once again balancing work and fun. There is a small margin between risk and reward and one's ability to manage their lifestyle for reward is truly fulfilling.
Overall, I just think if we all tried to be more conscious and present about our being and the way we feel after doing various activities such as eating certain foods, social settings, and different workouts and taking note about what makes us feel better, we really would see great improvements in our well-being. It is these small steps that will bring about an awareness nationwide and hopefully one day, we all will be more conscious about how we sustain our bodies so that we can have a fuller sense of self.