Tuesday, October 9, 2012

what i love most about paleo

All my adult life, and a fair amount of my childhood, has revolved around food and cooking. Not just the necessity of eating, the sheer joy of it. I simply adore it.

Much of that time has also been dedicated to health, though not always in ways that turned out to be so healthy. I've followed Adele Davis, Atkins, Fit for Life, vegetarian diets, low carb, low fat, high protein, low protein, low sugar, no sugar, all natural, mostly artificial. I've consulted with herbalists and a medical intuitive. Geez! At one very odd point in my life, I even tried Nutrisytem and ate food from little packets. That doesn't sound too foodie-like, most certainly.

One of the hardest aspects of food and health in my quest was the business of giving up food for health. Every healthy step forward seemed to involve doors slammed in the face of foods, all kinds of foods. More than eating them, often, I missed cooking those no-no foods. I missed playing in the kitchen, even cleaning and chopping, but mostly roasting, braising, and simmering. I missed turning the pages of Bon Appetit and Gourmet. I missed Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. So, often, I'd stray. Just a little at first, then before I knew it, I was making gourmet pizza again. And huge, fluffy cinnamon rolls, and lasagne.

Out of nowhere, it seemed, I slammed head first into a wall I couldn't ignore. The pain was unbearable; the other symptoms had become undeniable. It wasn't new, none of it was new, but now it was in my face in a way I could not ignore.  Maybe it was an age thing, maybe environment, could be stress-induced, I have no clue. I only know that there came a time when I simply had to sit up straight and listen to my body. I wanted to cry that day, that week, that month, that whole first year.

I followed the advice that I still give others, "Eat what you love that really works for your body. Ignore everything else on those food lists. Don't eat the "avoid" foods, but don't dwell on them either. And don't even consider trying to force yourself to eat foods you don't like just because they may be good for you. Ever!" As I did this, I found more and more and more foods I could not, cannot eat. Damn! Gluten-free alone has never worked for me. I had to eliminate all grains, all dairy, anything and everything artificial or enhanced.

Then I bumped into Paleo, that weird sounding world, oddly fixated on WOD and fat. Gee! This was the food I ate, and almost everyone was excited about it. Almost everyone on the Paleo sites and blogs and pages, I mean. Sure, occasionally there's some butter or potatoes or cheese. No big deal there, I can do a little subbing. I could read cookbooks again without getting teary. And magazines. And blogs! Lots of blogs!

As I was looking over recipes, food pics, and ideas from other bloggers this morning, I had a crystal clear vision of what really draws me almost magnetically to Paleo meals, food choices, and lifestyle.
I get to work toward healthy and healthier. I get to mostly avoid pain. I get to eat real food. And best of all! I still get to be a foodie while doing it.

I get to do this with little sacrifice, really no sacrifice. Have a hard time believing it? Check out these delightful recipes and articles from and about other bloggers.

Pumpkin pie bars
What's in the fridge, Whole9?
warm apple onion relish
Balanced Bites' Pumpkin Pancakes 

Next time I'll focus on the beast.