Just a quick question...
I think the years I spent suffering every Gluten related issue helped "sink the Paleo hook deeper" than if I'd never been ignored, humiliated, and chastised by those MDs practicing CW. However, I am also fascinated by the science behind Paleo.
So what say you? was it the pain, or the science, that "hooked" you?
It was the results.
Things that went away that never in my life I expected to improve. Nearly every health malady typically written off as "getting old" that just disappeared. That's what won me.
But I totally geek out on the science and have now for nearly 11 months straight and I can't get enough, and for that I thank Chris Kresser, Emily Deans, Mark Sisson, Mike Eades, Robb Wolf, and far too many other bloggers and twitter posters that I can't remember right now.
The pain, though I didn't know it while I was suffering from it.
I tried paleo almost on a whim. After hearing about it for the first time I decided to try it for a week. Heartburn and headaches I'd had my whole life stopped almost immediately. I kept the experiment going for a month and decided I could throw away the bottles of Tums and Excedrin I always kept in my desk.
It's been more than 2 years now.
Both, I think. For me, the turning point was the complete and utter failure of anything Conventional Wisdom had to offer. I had weight problems, acne problems, depression and brain fog and I was a loaf all the time... the depression and acne I had accepted as bad genes and the brain fog as part of ADHD, and those were things that just couldn't have been avoided as far as I knew. The weight loss though confounded me; I knew it should be possible but eating low fat and low sugar and burning 500 calories a day through exercise is HARD (it's funny, when I was trying to diet via calorie-counting, I switched out cereal for eggs and toast, and lost 20 lbs that summer. I thought it was the calorie counting, but I'm pretty sure it was the eggs now), so when someone I knew talked about losing weight by just eating a bunch of meat, I was intrigued. I switched to low-carb paleo, weight loss is happening, but the more immediately evident lifted mood and clearer mind are what's keeping me on track on in the weight department (instant gratification ftw)... for the most part. I still find sweet potatoes and white potatoes a little bit too delicious for these last 35 pounds to go without a fight.
Also, I always thought evolution was cool and had this running joke (...philosophy? both? lol) as a kid where I'd ask "what would the caveman do?"... in response to something that would come up; I don't remember what anymore (Maybe it was a good thing I didn't find it then. I might have have ended up a mini version of one of those reenactment nuts, huntin' squirrels during recess, barefoot on the blacktop haha. NTY, I was weird enough as a kid). I learned about people who fed their animals BARF diets in my teens and got REALLY ANGRY about the grains in cat food and my cat's resulting death from diabetes (which makes it even sadder that I didn't connect the dots about paleo sooner LOL). Then later, I became convinced that there were "natural" solutions to common problems, along a similar train of thought I guess, but with waaay misguided applications (almost started downing soy milk thinking it was a resolution to hormonal problems; good thing I never got around to it). Finding paleo though seemed like a natural, ahem, evolution of that thought process, haha. I pretty much had to have the details spelled out (I blame the wheat), but once they were, they made perfect sense, like how did I not see this before? sense. So it's hard to say which played a greater role; perhaps the pain as you say made me keep my eyes open for a solution, but the science interested and persuaded me. And like Anondson said, the results keep me at it.
It was the relief of stress. I have a condition (meniere's disease) that requires me to have a very low sodium diet, I can eat that way with conventional foods... but I have to read every label and look everything up and micromanage. Paleo, for me, is a framework that allows me to manage symptoms without having to be stressed about it. I eat high sodium paleo items (like bacon, sausage, fish sauce or salted nuts) very rarely and I limit high fat dairy products. Within that framework, I can pretty much eat freely without worry and stay off a lot of medication.
The science is what initially appealed to me as I spent many years entrenched in and frustrated with the conventional wisdom approach to healthy eating and living. Caloriesincaloriesoutlowfatwholegrain was not working for me or my clients, or if it did, it was difficult to sustain and didn't stick.
Thinking about diet/exercise/lifestyle in terms of what is biologically appropriate for the human species just made much more sense. It also reawakened my lifelong passion for ancient history (I was obsessed with ice age megafauna when I was a kid, perhaps I wished I could have had mammoth steaks or lived in a glyptodon shell house..see image below), biology, and psychology.
Cutting out grains, sugar, etc. was tough initially (I started with the strict low-fat cordain/wolf paleo plan) and I lost way too much weight. I went more primal, then low carb, and have now settled into a more personalized version of what I think of as a "biologically appropriate diet" (vs. Paleo, primal, etc.)
Ultimately, I find this way of life much easier, more pleasurable, less stressful, and balanced than my previously manic CW approach. Obsessively packing food everywhere I went so that I could eat every 3 hours is no way to live!
I admit, I got into paleo for the weightloss.
When I went off Paleo (after becoming a bit more competitive in strongman, basically introduced raw milk, and afterwards just said f-it, go for broke), I realized I had some severe health problems before, and hadn't realized it until I spent 8 solid months or so not having any problems.
The last straw was going to disney for a week, and spending half that week sleeping while my wife and son saw the park. I was a wreck.
So I came back to Paleo, like a lover who storms out and says bad things, then ends up a few hours later at the window with a boombox over his head professing his love and apologies.
Let me say, it was a bit of a culture shock to get back into paleo after a very long hiatus (from 2005 - 2010). When I first followed the diet the only "forum" was a mailing list (the one on Paleofood.org), no one would have ever imagined you could/should eat starches on a paleo diet, there were basically (2) paleo authors (Cordain and Audette) and such a widespread forum as this (and others) simply did not exist.
After all the research, the appeal of pulling off my own statistical analysis, consuming many books and applying my critical thinking...it was when I visited my long-time girlfriends from high school after three years of university that solidified my choice to eat paleo. They are all 20 lbs deep into the "freshman fifteen", as I was, and constantly stressed out. Between spending their money on pizza, beer, and textbooks they hardly have time to watch TV before slumping to bed (not that I judge them as harshly as I am illustrating here, they all have a lot of work and eating obstacles). They couldn't stop commenting on how my skin looked and how my figure had turned from slightly-chubby to thin-waist-but-very-curvy, and it was a big realization that my diet experiment was truly paying off, in more than just "you lost weight", which isn't the be-all-and-end-all. I came home full steam ahead, ready to be paleo in the truest sense for as long as I'm eating!
It was both.
I was gaining weight from emotional eating caused by a-holes at school. Now im back to a perfect slim weight and have no more cravings etc. I was practically hooked on sugar and always felt moody. To be honest I didn't even need the science to believe what I heard from the various paleo websites, but when I did read the science of it, it convinced me even further
It was the science- I studied up on Paleo for a long time before actually starting to adhere to the dietary principles, and was initially very skeptical. As far as I can tell, I have no problem with gluten/grains, and have always been very lean. BUT I think that through this movement, we are dialing in on an optimal modern diet. Evolutionary framework backed up by solid scientific evidence? Count me in.
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