Paleo: Taking Joy out of Food for 2.5 Million Years
My husband and I have been on a rugged road with the “Paleo Diet,” a diet which consists of (supposedly) foods that only our prehistoric ancestors could have hunted, gathered, pulled out of a hole, or off a tree. The reality of modern-day Paleo is much different, of course, than this. Shopping at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, hell, even Super Wal-Marts and cooking with Cuisinarts and stick blenders adds a different flavor to the prehistoric table.
It’s all good and well, in my estimation, because even without chasing gazelles and climbing fig trees, this Paleo thing is just plain hard and frankly, despite the plethora of websites, recipes, cookbooks, rare steak, and amazing brownies made with coconut flour and walnuts, it just doesn’t taste all that good anymore.
Here’s the rub. The sad, sad rub. This diet still works for my husband and when he deviates from it with nice frothy IPA, a hamburger bun, or some goat cheese (I contest this could be Paleo-friendly), he goes downhill. I can acknowledge the reality of the situation. I can even say that Paleo is good for him. I will also say that it just doesn’t seem quite right.
I realized it didn’t seem right when I heard my husband say, “Eating has lost all its joy.”
Ugh. This one small statement took the wind out of me and made me so sad. So, he can choose between enjoying food with compromised health or not enjoying food and being well? This is not the way it’s supposed to be. We are ideally supposed to be able to eat anything real, whole, and good that grows or roams under the sun. Whether you consider these to be gifts of God or gifts of Mother Earth or whatever, we all need to acknowledge that real, whole, good food is a gift. It is intended to be nourishing, beautiful, and enjoyable. In our day and age, it should be able to be good for us and taste good too.
So, what the heck happened? Why do good things hurt us? Why do they give us gas, migraines, congestion, swollen joints, rashes, and ADHD? The simple answer is probably that we damaged our bodies (or they got damaged passively) through toxins in food, drugs, stress, and the environment. With a gunked up system, we just can’t handle all the “good” things anymore. So, like with the Paleo diet– or gluten free/dairy free– or vegetarian– or vegan– or SCD– or any other number of diets out there on the market, we remove things hoping for better results. We often get better results. But then we’re minus good, real foods that roam and grow under the sun, whether it be elk or quinoa or yogurt or tomatoes.
*Side note: I’m all for taking out fake, processed foods such as fruit roll-ups, wheat thins, Pepsi, and Yoplait. Just for the record.*
I believe that we should be able to eat anything. I think our mouths should be able to enjoy anything and that our bellies and bodies should be able to handle anything. When you dread making dinner, find apathy in going out to breakfast, or lose interest in your afternoon snack, something isn’t right. I guess the key must be either in the acceptance of the broken system or in the commitment to healing it.
Simply taking entire foods groups out and removing joy from eating just isn’t good enough for us anymore. I’ll let you know when I figure it all out…