I was talking with a vegan friend of mine and we were sharing things we'd learned from our individual eating lifestyles that we never would have learned had we stuck eating SAD.
My vegan friend told me she never would have known that white sugar uses animal bones as bleach.
I told her I never knew that pan frying with olive oil could release toxic fumes into my food.
What are some things you've learned through your Paleo journey about eating, or through any variation from eating SAD?
I think the biggest thing for me has been the fact that there is nothing actually wrong with me. Specifically:
10+ years struggling with depression = ended up being largely due to gluten, perhaps some general systemic inflammation as well.
Seasonal allergies, acne, perpetual digestive problems, several food allergies/sensitivities = all largely leaky gut related.
Slowly but surely disappearing tooth enamel = I hadn't eaten dairy in 10 years due to "lactose intolerance" (which is gone now, thanks healthy gut flora!), nor did I consume animal fats. After a year of eating lots of good sources of animal fat (dairy included) and avoiding sugars, my teeth have never been stronger.
So many little things that I wouldn't have sought a cure for specifically: little aches and pains, getting a cut on my finger and it taking four weeks to heal, never being able to gain muscle, white spots on my toenails, the perpetual little bit of belly fat, constant reminders from my doctor that I was anemic... all are either resolved or significantly improving. My overall quality of life and sense of self confidence has never been better due to all these little things; I can't help but feel more and more optimized every day.
I was always the kind of sickly, allergy-ridden, overweight kid, growing up - and even after I lost 100 lbs (on CW for the most part - around age 18) I had the above issues still, which I had just decided were "the way life is." It has been such a continually surprising and rewarding journey, discovering the power of real food - and discovering that I am not genetically broken, just a bit malnourished from growing up on 80's - 90's low-fat propaganda.
With raney, I've learned that instead of the chronically sick person I thought I was I'm actually an unusually healthy older woman whose many nagging symptoms disappeared when I shifted away from my formerly wheat-based diet. I take no meds and move freely unlike many of my peers.
Even more importantly, thanks to IF (intermittent fasting) and ADF (alternate-day fasting) I learned that true physical hunger--as opposed to brain cravings--is just another physical sensation and doesn't have to, should not, drive my behaviors and life.
I eat when I darn well please, and certainly not until I've felt true hunger for a while. There's no rush and for me brain cravings are a signal to eat meat rather than whatever I think I'm craving. Cravings are now quite rare for me but if they strike I eat a large meal of meat plus some greens and fruit and that's the end of the binge impulse.
I think the paleo diet has made me a more patient and tolerant person. When I was a fat-phobic vegetarian, I struggled with depression and terrible anxiety, and even on "good" days, I was pretty critical of both myself and others. I would often react with frustration to everyday things; I lost my temper with friends over nothing (not always to their faces, but deep down, or when I had successfully isolated myself.) I was a harsh judge of everything. I took lots of things personally.
Since I started eating lots of fat and ancestral foods, and I've realized how much better I feel, I've been blown away to realize how fragile we all are--how our ability to be productive and happy members of a society depends on so many factors (sleep, sunshine, play, nutrition). We are not robots that can be programmed to run on as little fuel as possible. We have complex needs that are important for our well-being, and it is not bad to prioritize self-care. I used to get very frustrated when people disagreed with me, thinking angrily, "Why don't they just ACCEPT that I'm RIGHT?!?!" Now it's much easier now for me to let the small stuff go, and to understand that when it comes to the big stuff, we help others most by nurturing and supporting them.
I would have never realized that grains were the cause of my debilitating seasonal allergies that raged through me since I was 5 years old. Or that in order to eat healthy I don't have to be hungry all the time. In general, I know that going forward I have the power to use diet and nutrition to address most questions about my body.
Hrm. Off the top of my head, I'd say I learned that giving up dairy will not make my bones instantly disintegrate into a pile of mush and that I won't drop dead from a heart attack the second a piece of fat touches my lips.
Perhaps that's a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.
Ive learnt to listen to my body and understand what it really means to feel full. I used to have an insatiable appetite and could easily smash a meal fit for about 5 male body builders (Im a 22 y.o female so that is a ton of food!) and now I can comfortably eat a good amount of nutritious food and feel full for hoirs on about a fifth of the portion. I can wait to eat when Im physically really hungry and stop when Ive had enough. I dont have problems with binging or confused body signals. I used to constantly be craving or thinking I was hungry when I was really just starved of nutrients. I used to feel bloated all the time and I now realise eating till you're stuffed is more uncomfortable than a Crossfit WOD.
Here's to proteins and fats and learnto listen to your body!!