I have known deep down for a very long time now that treating people with pharmaceutical drugs is almost always not the best option. You only have to watch about 5 minutes of TV to catch a commercial that rattles off the horrifying laundry list of side effects of any given medication. If those side effects came with a cure, it would be almost acceptable. But the reality is that Rx drugs treat the symptom, not the actual issue. Those side effects often lead to the need for more medication, which comes with more side effects, and so on and so forth.
That being said, in my mind, our power is in prevention. That means eating for optimal health, to the best of our ability. There is, of course, no shortage of opinions in regards to what that means, exactly. For me, I can say without any hesitation that a paleo template is right for me.
I was vegetarian / pescetarian for 6 or 7 years in my 20′s and was in the worst health of my life. I was bloated all of the time, fatigued, had near constant headaches, brain fog, and my general mood was angry and/or depressed. I generally felt like crap, always. Oh and you know that stereotypical chef who throws pans and yells at the waitstaff? That was me. Compare that to now, with a diet of primarily quality meats and vegetables and lots of good fats? Night and day. Headaches are rare, brain fog is gone, I wake up in the morning and feel like I actually got some rest. I feel good. And I’m happy. Most of the time.
Now. All of that being said, I am a chef / caterer / food lover first. I personally will never be 100% anything. I’m mostly paleo. And I feel great that way. If I can find a way to make bread that fits within paleo guidelines, I am going to make it. Until people start chasing and tackling their dinner in a loin cloth, I will be taking honest ingredients and making them into fun things. I personally don’t see the paleo lifestyle as a literal history reenactment, I see it more as common sense- eating REAL food! Not from a box, with added color, flavor, chemicals you can’t pronounce and preservatives. Just. Food. But I can only be so serious about anything, you should probably know that. I’m going to cheat and treat myself once in a while. That doesn’t mean I’m a closet diet soda drinker or anything wacky like that. Just that I’ve found balance with my relationship with food, and it’s a beautiful thing. I saw one publication that said that salt is unacceptable in paleo diets, because it wasn’t used back in paleolithic times. Ask any chef how they feel about having their salt taken away, and be prepared to duck, cause they might throw a punch.
I encourage people to challenge themselves. If the mere thought of going grain-free makes you feel faint, start with baby steps. Make cauliflower “rice” instead of rice. I bet you’ll love it. My step-kids sure do! Have a salad with protein on it instead of a sandwich for lunch. Stop for a minute before you get to the checkout line, and look in your cart. How much actual food is in there? Is there anything in there that will never go bad? Is everything in a box or can, or is your cart filled with fresh meats and vegetables? How many ingredients are on the labels? Anything you can’t pronounce? Being aware of what you’re consuming is a huge step. In addition to being aware of the what you’re eating, also try and be aware of how you’re feeling. If you feel energized and alert when you eat certain foods, foggy and headachy when you eat others, that’s your body telling you something! Listen.
Thanks for reading my spiel, and I hope you have fun in the kitchen!