My post earlier in the week about Fathead seems to have ignited strong feelings across my (admittedly smallish) readership. I have several friends who are enjoying the Paleo Diet and are kind enough to hope that I can find my way to better health by trying it myself. I genuinely appreciate the interest, time, and kind intent of others who point this out to me, because I think they have everyone’s best interest at heart. If I feel better, then that’s terrific for me and also a good point in favour of this diet.
I rail against diets here on the blog because I find them to be generally harmful things not unlike a boyfriend you meet on a cruise ship who is fun and loving and treats you fantastically for six or eight weeks then moves in, wrecks your life and steals your favourite t-shirt before moving on to the next girl. Like skeezy boyfriends and Kardashian marriages, diets don’t last. Of course, one in a hundred cruise ship relationships turns into a 50 year marriage and some people love their new diets forever. If you are one of those people just consider yourself lucky.
I think though, as I read through the emails, FB Messages and comments that I’ve gotten over the last couple of years, that there are some misconceptions I should clear up.
1. Other than being very sick, I’m in pretty good health.
All those things people associate with bad health in blood work–thyroid, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure–those are all fantastic in my blood. What’s high are the things that say “you’re sick”. Sed rate, C reactive protein. There is no stick to pee on with a plus sign for diseases like mine, so they hunt for the small things. I do have anemia, but that’s a side-effect of my disease.
2. I don’t overeat; if any thing I undereat
I tend to have a lot of “Pharmacological anorexia”. My drugs cause me to lose appetite. So when I can eat I tend to have very small portions.
3. I don’t watch what I eat
Over the course of time I’ve learned which foods bother me (cereal, eggs, pork products, red onions) and either minimise (eggs) or eliminate (cereal) those all together.
4. I’m not on any sort of diet
This isn’t true. For the last 3 or 4 years I’ve been practicing what I call simply “The Matthew 6:31 diet”.
31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
In all the years I did various diets I spent too much of my precious, limited, God-given and God-called time doing things like figuring out how many points were in a hamburger or how many cooked carrots would put me over my carb limit. I spent my time focused not on God or my work or my family and friends but on what I had put in my mouth last and what I would put in my mouth next. I was selfish, self-absorbed and worshipping my body instead of God.
Then, as I was studying Matthew 6 in general I came across that verse and it hit me in a whole new light. I WAS worrying about what I ate and drank. Not in the context with which Jesus meant it, of course, because he was talking to people who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.
So from that time on I made a decision. When I was hungry I would eat what I wanted, When I was thirsty I would drink what I wanted and be unconcerned about it. Since that time I’ve maintained a weight that is the same thing I weighed 20 years ago and 50 pounds lighter than my highest weight. I have lost a good portion of my sweet tooth, whether through age, attrition, hormone shifts or other means. I have gained a lot of time in my day and a lot more confidence about who I am.
So I guess you can either call it a diet, a way of eating, a freedom from bondage, a stupid move or any other thing. But it works for me.