Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confusion: How Should I Eat?

I posted before about my food philosophy, but recently, I've been a bit confused. After hearing about a co-worker who ate close to a paleo diet and after doing some reading on my own, I can't help but be a bit lost. I grew up eating similar to the USDA's food pyramid (now extinct). I ate a lot of carbs, veggies, fruits, seafood, and lean meats. I did partake in a lot of snacking and processed foods as well. Fat was something to avoid, so that meant no fatty cuts of meat, no full-fat cookies and chips, and lots of 100 calorie packs, gummies, and Olestra-laden chips.

I haven't necessarily been happy with my diet recently and especially not happy with how my clothing fits. When I first heard about the "paleo diet," I thought that it sounded like a crazy fad diet. The diet allows for lean meats, a ton of veggies, some nuts and fruits, healthy fats, and lots of water-drinking. Things that aren't allowed? Grains, legumes, dairy, sugars, alcohol, and processed foods.  Um, those are all amazingly delicious things.
Paleo Food Pyramid Source
The thing is, the more I researched it, the more I was interested in it and felt it wasn't a fad. According to those who follow the diet, all of the things they remove from the diet are inefficient and poor sources of nutrients; a lot of those items also adversely affect people's bodies. All of the nutrients and vitamins those products have can be attained from the permissible foods. People who are on it say they feel better, have more energy, lose weight, and are better suited for exercise (which, by the way, this diet discusses. It says one should do short bursts of exercise [CrossFitters are big into Paleo] and long cardio sessions are not needed).

While I haven't officially made the switch, I have been trying to eat less carbs, most of the time to no avail. I have at least been more conscious to my eating and trying to get in more fruits and veggies; instead of snacking on popcorn or chips, I've been eating fruits and veggies instead. The issues is now when I would automatically know what to make for dinner, I feel paralyzed because what I would normally make now seems not okay.
In order to get myself unstuck, I'm just going to do more research. For someone who would not consider herself a lover of doing research, when I find something I am curious about, I research it to death. I also know that some diets and ways of eating work for some while it doesn't work for others. I'm going to keep an open mind and allow that to lead me to what makes me the happiest and feel the healthiest.

Have you ever come upon information that totally left you confused? What did you do about it? Anyone eat similar to the paleo diet?

1 comment:

  1. I think people make eating too complicated. The human body is able to handle many different diet choices. This is thanks to recent evolutionary changes (e.g. ability to digest milk) and symbiotic relationships with gut bacteria (e.g. ability to digest gluten - for most of us at least).

    We should eat a variety of foods (cover your vitamin/etc. needs), eat in moderation, eat what makes us feel good, and eat what we enjoy. If you can do that while following the food guide, the paleo diet, or whatever you're particular food religion is, you'll probably be okay.

    The difficulty in doing properly controlled, large, multi-decade studies on the "best way to eat" means we really don't know a scientific answer to this question. Thus, given the lack of conclusive proof one way or the other, we may as well eat what we like and what makes us feel good.