Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paleo Lifestyle Misconceptions

I think the majority of people that know me believe that I'm somehow suffering because I follow a paleo lifestyle.  I'm now refusing to call it a diet (despite the fact that one can follow a "western", "vegetarian", or "vegan" diet in the same way) because I've received so many comments to the effect of "diets don't work".  It is indeed a lifestyle as I intend to continue to live it long after the weight is gone.  I won't be perfect all the time, but I intend to adhere better than 95% of the time.  Since I've had quite a few interesting misconceptions I figure I'd lay those to rest here, even if most people won't actually see this.  At least maybe it will provide some Paleo curious people a "real" person's experience.  First though, my sort of boilerplate monologue:

"What if I told you there was a simple lifestyle to follow that would allow you to have more energy, potentially solve many nagging chronic problems you deal with daily, and transform your body into a lean, buff/bikini beautiful machine?

What if I also told you that you could eat all you wanted of the foods prescribed in this lifestyle and that was perfectly fine?

What if I also told you that these foods are lean meats, fruits and vegetables?

What if I also told you that you really only needed to work out once or twice a week for 20-30 minutes, and oh by the way, you're not killing yourself with cardio?

What if I also told you that you would decrease your chance of many diseases, including adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, elevated blood uric acid levels, elevated triglycerides, elevated small-dense LDL cholesterol, and reduced HDL cholesterol?

Does all this sound great to you?  Well then I have something you should hear!"

Now that that's out of the way, here are a lot of common questions and statements I get:

1 - You did this before and stopped.  I thought this was a lifestyle change?
A1 - I sure did.  Unfortunately, another lifestyle change derailed it.  It's called having a kid and being a first time parent!  I'm back on track now with no intention of deviating.

2 - I'm healthy/happy as I am!  I don't need to lose weight.  I'd rather die happy than give up [insert food you can't live without here].  You have fun with your Paleo thing and suffering without [insert food you can't live without here].
A2a - You may be healthy now, but numerous sources show that being overweight significantly increases your risk of plenty of diseases which end badly.  Badly as in you spend a significant portion of the end of your life suffering.  That's not my definition of happy.  So let's see... live without bread and refined sugar, or be prone to multitudes of diseases that can cause an untimely and painful demise.  I think I'll nix the bread and refined sugar.
A2b - Are you *really* healthy?  Stop and think for a second.  Be honest with yourself.  Are you constantly sick?  Does the local drugstore roll out the red carpet when you visit?  Can you climb a single flight of stairs without being winded?

3 - You're going to be missing out on lots of essential nutrients by not having grains!
A3 - This is answer requires so much explanation, it gets its own post.

4 - I don't want to starve myself on some diet.
A4 - I'm not starving myself by any stretch of the imagination.  If anything, people might consider me a bit of a glutton.  Earlier this week my day of eating consisted of all you can eat soup and salad at Applebees and a gigantic helping of steak fajitas (minus the rice and refried beans) at a local authentic Mexican restaurant.  If you've ever been there, you know that was an undertaking to eat all of it!

That's all I've got for the moment.  I'll make a part two to this if I get a bunch more, which I'm almost expecting.

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