Sunday, 17 November 2013

"Why Paleo? You don't need to diet!"

Variants of the above remark are common with both new and older acquaintances and I often struggle to come up with an adequate response. I have gone through various phases of low carb/high fat/ primal/ caveman/ paleo in the last three years and the reasons why I choose to eat in this way have also evolved. Hence, I might be more inclined to cite environmental and animal welfare reasons now, whereas when I started out, I was chiefly concerned about my health. So, going back to the roots of this profound change in my life, here are the main reasons I initially chose to change my diet:

  • Joint ailments run in my family and I hope to avoid or at least delay them significantly by cutting out as many inflammatory foods as possible (sugar, most starches, gluten, seed oils, processed foods, most dairy, conventionally reared animals, etc)
  • Incremental weight gain! I started seeing changes in my body shape from around the age of 35 and although I wasn't too concerned for the time being, I just needed to look around me to see my "inevitable" weight fate.
  • Diabetes, heart disease and all the other modern Western afflictions. These were all very hypothetical diseases, but given my decade or so in Pharma, still on my mind. 
A few months into the dietary changes, my reasons were based on the unexpected changes that I noticed:
  • My blood sugar swings were gone. No more near death experiences while ripping open a packet of raisins. No more hoarding of nuts in my bag on business trips. No time for lunch? No prob!
  • My stamina was up. I could go home, jump into my running gear and just run off. No timing of food intake or water necessary. 
  • My skin cleared up. The culprit was that innocent-looking organic sourdough bread. Just one slice a day...
  • I gained weight but got leaner and more toned, while exercising less. Enough said. 
  • All the other random stuff that I now take for granted: no fungal/ yeast infections, no cold sores, no furry teeth after a meal, no chapped lips, less body odour, less PMS (good-bye dairy, I will miss you), a calm and very happy tummy, etc. 

As you can see, weight is just one of a whole host of health reasons for amending the way I eat. And to be honest, being slim is a pretty weak motivator in comparison to all the other health benefits. Especially as I get to eat bacon, butter and lard! :-)

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