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Sunday, August 10, 2014

OUR PALEO LIFESTYLE EVOLUTION


Eating a paleo diet is a pretty radical change from the way most of us have grown up. Carbs are EVERYWHERE! A natural diet is, it seems to me, just a logical way to live your life. Unfortunately, the food industry, at least here in the U.S., spends untold billions of dollars to convince you otherwise. After all, how much money can a food processing company make if nobody eats processed food. People eating apples, peppers, and unprocessed meats pretty much makes those companies unnecessary. If you watch TV, you will be subjected to a non-stop barrage of ads, trying to dress up processed foods as part of a healthy lifestyle. You really don't need someone to process your food for you. Your body was designed to process food. The paleo way of eating (of which I am certainly no expert), just gives your body what it needs, without it having to deal with all of the additives and "flavor enhancers" that are often blended into processed foods. Our whole society, it seems to me, has evolved to be "food centered". Instead of being nourishment, food has become a source of celebration and entertainment. I work in an office environment where people celebrate birthdays, retirements, promotions, etc with, unwaveringly, a big box or sometimes a table full of junk. Well-meaning people, wishing to make someone happy or celebrate a life event, spend their time an money to bring in a couple of dozen doughnuts, brownies, cake, cookies, bagels, etc.etc.etc. These are set on a table where people pass by during the day and constantly graze until everything is gone, generally with the exception of the little plate of fresh fruit that is set on the back of the table as a "healthy after-thought". This is usually done in the morning, presumably after everyone got up and ate their breakfast, so it's definitely not hunger-driven. You will hear things like, "Well....I shouldn't, but just this once. After all it is his or her birthday...". This will be a long uphill struggle to change our relationship with food. I think it is so well established that it won't be easy. You can only do it FOR YOURSELF. You don't have to celebrate with a big plate of processed junk that your body doesn't need. You can say "Happy Birthday!" and decline the cake and doughnuts. It's not that hard, and there is a lot at stake here. About a year ago, I tried really hard to go hard-core paleo. My family, at that point, wasn't on board, and it was really tough for my wife to try to cook in two completely different modes everyday, so I grudgingly stopped, although we all continued to eat a great deal of home-grown vegetables and fruit from our orchard. My wife, being Asian, grew up eating rice every day. That was tough. She has always desired and lived a very healthy lifestyle, and we try to steer our kids toward that as well. She recently began reading, in earnest, about paleo cooking and has read related books such as Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, which sets forth his theory that consumption of so much grain is a source of many health problems. I am still reading that, and may do a review of it in an upcoming post. Being the excellent cook that she is, my wife began experimenting with paleo cooking, and has become quite the expert at substituting to make the transition easier for everyone, particularly our kids, ages 17 and 9. She searched out and found excellent paleo cookbooks, and we are fortunate to live in a pretty rural setting, with great access to bunches of different organic vegetables, organically grown fruits, and eggs from our own chickens. With those resources, we launched into a full paleo way of eating, and it has been great. She makes great pasta-substituting shredded zuccini for the noodles (zoodles!), has found that the kids can have some pancakes made from things like coconut or almond flour, etc. We, and particularly I, don't claim any particular expertise in such a way of eating, but we are really enjoying this. You don't, after a while, miss things like bread with meals, rice, etc. It is really not a hard transition, and with your health hanging in the balance, and more importantly, the health of your kids, it is a worthwhile endeavor. In keeping with my general philosophy in these posts, I am not imploring you to,or even recommending that you do this. That's not my purpose. I'm just talking about what we are doing, and giving you alternatives...Be healthy.

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