I am extremely happy I decided to go with a paleo lifestyle over my old bodybuilding 7 meals a day of high protein, high gut irritating carbs, and low fat lifestyle. However, the more I listen to pod casts, read blogs, join message boards, and listen to others the more I get confused with this diet.
When I first started paleo I felt like it was so simple and that I understood it. I just feel the more educated i get the more complicated it is to me.
Anyone else feel this way?
I think this is a very common way to feel about paleo after a certain point.
My advices is just to step back and go back to the beginning. Even then, eating 100 percent paleo without regards to the idea that nuts have excessive omega 6s or phytic acid, fruit has too much fructose, and/or nightshades will destroy your soul will put your worlds ahead of 95 percent of the people on the word.
I think its important to perform self experiments and listen to your body in many cases. If dairy makes you feel poorly, don't eat it. If it doesn't you have a decision as to whether there could be problems due to long term consumption or not. You could substitute the word "dairy" with any potential problem food. You know what foods these potentially could be and why they have may have a long term effect, but remember in a lot of these its the "dose that makes the poison" so having nightshades, some fruit, some nuts, dairy, or even the dreaded potato can all be part of an optimum paleo diet potentially.
Just take a step back, breathe, and look at how awesome the diet without looking at all that minutiae that we can all get bogged down with. Don't forget Pareto's Principle - 20% of the changes provide 80% of the results so everything beyond that can be viewed as diminishing returns. In this, I like Kurt Harris take that by cutting out major issues like grains & legumes, excessive omega 6 from refined vegetable oils, and excessive sugar produce the majority of results. Everything is just gravy, baby.
Kurt Harris had a post this week about orthorexia, specifically addressing the fraction of the Paleo crowd that is ridiculously obsessed with minutiae (like flipping out because Kurt eats the occasional potato or because he gets 1.5 g of fructose with puffed rice cereal--the horror!).
Logan's point about Pareto's Principle is a good one I think. Just cutting out most processed food, most grains, most sugar, most excessive seed/veggie oils--that alone is going to make most of the difference. Yes, if you are a classic celiac, you must avoid the slightest trace of wheat. But for most of us, the occasional slip up isn't the end of the world (though I discovered the other night after accidentally eating some salad dressing with wheat in it that it does lead to a night of sneezing and runny nose). Unless your metabolism is completely wrecked, the occasional starchy tuber, piece of fruit or gasp even a pastry or baked good for some social event isn't going to be the end of you. Not having the perfect N-6 to N-3 balance, not being able to source every last scrape of meat and pat of butter from pastured cows isn't going to wreck you. I think Stephen Guyenet had a series of posts a while back on people living healthily on mostly potatoes.
We're a pretty adaptable species. We can debate about the ratio of certain fats in the diet, the appropriate amount of protein, whether we should or shouldn't include dairy, the benefits of polyphenols and other antioxidants,etc ad nauseam. But we know in the end that having good eating habits--namely avoiding most aspects of the modern diet, excess carbs, grains, and refined seed/veggie oils--is going to make a pretty dramatic difference. After that, fine tune or not as needed. I think obsessing though is decidedly not Paleo. In fact, it probably is stressful and probably increases cortisol and is totally counterproductive. It is totally obvious, but I'll say it--don't sweat the small stuff. Leave the small stuff to the academics to debate. Even then, I don't think any of them is going to have a revelation--how to optimally fuel and run a human body is actually pretty simple, just like wrecking one is pretty simple. They should just hand kids a operating guide to the human body in grade school with the first line being: If you wish to wreck your metabolism, add 100-150g of refined sugar per day. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other side effects guaranteed....
I was at this point not so long ago, but really, there is no going back. You are past the point of ignorance being bliss, and deep down you know that.
What to do? Stop listening to other people. Most people, even in this community, are far too self-confident in their opinions of this food or that food. Also, recreating what our ancestors ate so long ago is only possible to people living in the wild. Period. Simply try to eat things that, according to our current knowledge, are mostly good for you, and cut out things that are in any way bad for you. I know, it sounds simple.
I would suggest that you educate yourself by reading real scientific studies and learning how to read those studies properly (if this floats your boat). Be absolutely OK with eating unhealthy. As a matter of fact, in order to prevent a complex from forming in your mind, you can have cheat days (I do one every 2 months) when you gorge on whatever you want. After those days I always know why I am doing my diet.
If you ask someone a question and they give you a dogmatic answer without specifying actual DATA and real world evidence along with a sound logical interpretation, their two cents is not worth a single cent as far as I am concerned.
Lastly, trust your body when dealing with whole foods. It doesn't matter how great they say sweet potatoes might be... my stomach still doesn't like them. With knowledge you will gain more self-confidence in your own judgements. The voices of people proselytizing this or that will fade away, leaving a serene quiet inside your mind.
Remember, we are here only for a short while, so it is pretty silly to stress over just about anything in our lives. Just let go and enjoy one moment after another, and don't forget that other people whom we care about are the only thing giving our lives meaning.
I know the feeling. I think it's always important to remember that "Paleo" is a broad concept and what we are "learning" is really just considering other people's ideas and opinions about the concept. It's all good. In the end though you must decide, within the paleo framework, what your paleo world will look like. I would just keep an open mind while learning and take in what makes sense and works for you and leave the rest remembering that you can always go back and change you mind about any of it (well most of it). For a long time I thought I had to give up cheese in order to call myself Paleo. Ha! You'll pry cheese out of my cold, dead hands and I'm claiming Paleo all the way. A year from now I may see enough, read enough, believe enough that cheese is something worth giving up but for now that is anything but the case. There are many paths to God and I think the same to a Paleo way of life. Keep within the framework that almost all agree with and you will be just fine. The rest are all just ideas worth consideration.
context of your health matters most. There is never one fit size answer. As a clinician I treat every patient paleo solution with a different twist based upon history physical exam and multitudes of labs i get when I first see them and then every quarter there after. As they evolve the solution evolves.
I'm so with you on that! Ignorance in my case was bliss. I already suffered from anxiety of getting fat again vs obsessive compulsive issues with keeping on moving,without being able to workout and my history of fear of fat,but the more I read (when browsing for recipes.It's a daily struggle for me to think⪯pare what I'm gonna eat.) the more I've become fearfull of veggies,let alone fruit!I actually need to gain a bit(grow the little boobs I had back),which makes me even more anxious bc I'm afraid I'll keep on gaining. I try to listen to my body,but my mind with all this information keeps bugging me.
I need to remind myself that I'm doing this for my health,to heal my gut/get rid of lyme and not care about what others might think of my appearance. learn to love myself no matter what I look like,learn to see that I'm special.Starting to live my life free,doing what I want to do,not caring about if I move around enough/what others/media tell you to do.
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