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Going Paleo

From Mark’s Daily Apple

The story of how we’ve kind of sort of maybe turned a little bit “Paleo” is a long one, so settle in folks.

I first heard of eating grainless & sugar fee when I worked at a chiropractic clinic in 2009. At the time, I thought, “No way!!! I will never give up bread!”

Then, I had gestational diabetes during pregnancy in 2012 which put me at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. The meeting with the diabetes counselor was eye-opening (Did you know half an apple is already one serving of carbs? A whole bagel is 4 servings!). She basically said that all Americans should be following the gestational diabetes diet (strictly limiting carbs) because everyone eats way way way too much sugar. Reducing my carb intake luckily turned out to be easier than expected because my pregnancy left me craving protein and veggies rather than cake and ice cream (whew!).

Once Canon was born, I gorged on cookies and went back to having my normal sweet tooth. But the awareness about how much sugar we eat in the form of carbs has stayed with me. I started doing more research (surprise, surprise!) and the more you hear the same message, the less you can continue to ignore it.

So I started sharing my research with John, asking him to do his own reading so that he didn’t think I was way out in left field, getting him on board in a non-pushy winsome way (ha ha! I definitely failed at that). But he was gracious and agreed to start experimenting with me. In truth, much of the reason I started my cooking adventures this year is because I kept finding Paleo recipes I wanted John to make and he kept resisting me meddling in his domain. So I figured I would have to try them out myself. Our level of conviction about things (still) differs widely but we’re learning how to navigate this together.

Before we started going paleo, bread, pasta, tortillas etc. were present at almost all of our meals in some form or other and boy, do I love dessert in all forms (see Monday’s post). And we didn’t cut them out all at once. We started with just substituting salads for sandwiches. Dinners were easier because we usually ate meat and salad so it was really just learning to add some more veggies and less pasta/rice/beans. Breakfasts were the hardest because John sure loves his pancakes. Eggs (while you can make them in a variety of ways) are still eggs in the end and do you really want to eat them every single day? Not quite as much as you want to eat pancakes every day. So we found some alternative pancake recipes and dusted off the blender for smoothies.

It definitely wasn’t a wholesale dive into a different lifestyle. Turns out John and I suck at that kind of thing because we did try at three different points to start a “30 day challenge” where we cut everything out all at once. Apparently, we’ve got about zero self-control as I don’t think we ever made it to Day 2. Instead the gradual method with lots of grace for compromises has been what’s worked best for us. The funny thing is that I’m not sure whether it’s official. We’ve been probably 80/20 Paleo at home for a long time now but I still wouldn’t label us full-fledged Paleo eaters. I’m all too happy to eat a cookie at someone else’s house.

In my research I spent a lot of time on Mark’s Daily Apple. While I don’t find the logic about our ancestors eating this way to be that great (hello – they had no other choices), I do like the way he presents the current science and reviews studies and shares lots of stories from people who have started eating this way and what is has done for them. And, if you know me, you’ll know I love anyone who articulately exposes the flaws in conventional thinking. I get all fired up about the lies we’ve swallowed, the shoddy research, the political agendas, and all the human error in what we often think are “the facts.”

I also did some reading about bread specifically, because bread is something that has always been good in my mind. I really wrestled with it because bread is something that has spiritual significance in my life. It’s not just an emotional attachment – the imagery of bread is woven throughout the Bible. Jesus said, “I’m the bread of life” and we break bread at the communion table. Bread as far as I was always concerned was one of God’s Very Good creations. So if you have the same questions in the spiritual arena, I found this article helpful: “Does the Bible say we should eat grains?”

We might still progress to cutting out the last few compromise items in our diets and being more intentional about eating cleaner when we’re out and about, but it’s baby steps all the way.

In the next post I’ll tell you about what changes we’ve seen in our lives from starting to eat this way.

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