My Passion For This Subject
As a Chiropractor, I am very passionate about how our eating habits affects our health and also our spine, so it is important that we touch this subject one more time and wrap up a few loose ends. In this series of blog posts, we learned the importance of eating in congruence with our ancient genes. Primarily, the more we eat outside of our genetic requirements, the more we invite serious health and weight issues. Truthfully, if the people of the United States were simply a healthy weight, many of our chronic healthcare issues would disappear. A healthy weight is also a tremendous predictor for future quality of life. Simply put, a healthy weight stacks the deck in your favor to have a long and productive life, with more time to play with grandchildren or do whatever it is that you enjoy. Isn’t that what life is all about? It is for these reasons that I love being a Chiropractor and it is for these same reasons that I encourage a healthy weight for all of my patients.
Ideal Vs. Pretty Good
In many years of practice and discussing health and weight loss with patients, I learned to distinguish between what is ideal and what is pretty darn good. In my zeal as a young doctor, I always pushed people to do the ideal, but frequently saw it fail. It seems to be in our nature to start a “diet” with good intentions, but then we rapidly find ourselves deviating to old patterns and then eventually we throw our hands up in guilt and frustration over not being able to meet the ideal. The older me still carries the same zeal, but it is dampened by the realization that we are all too human and that making a change is more sustainable if it more easily fits into our current path.
The Ideal Diet–Paleo
The ideal diet is primarily veggies, fruits, and lean meats, as they would be found in nature 10,000 years ago. These foods would have been free of pesticides and hormones and eaten fresh as they were available. I still maintain that this is the ideal way to eat, as it is congruent with genetic requirements. However, this is a tough diet to sustain for all but the strongest of people because the food choices seem so limited compared to what the average modern person eats.
My Own Experience
I have an iron will and can follow any diet long enough for a good test drive. The Paleo diet is as good as advertised, but is challenging to follow. I practice a modified version that I call Paleo-lite. I apply many of the principles of the Paleo diet but I relax a few of the rules. Pure Paleo is just veggies, fruits, and lean meats. My own rules are less stringent and help me to create sustainability and also help me to keep the cost of eating down. I allow whey protein, rice, starchy tubers, and even some legumes, from time to time. Relaxing the rules this way allows a much wider variety in the diet. Even with these less stringent rules we are still focusing on eating real foods that we can find in nature. Whey protein is the only exception, and it makes for a great protein source. Isagenix whey allows me to save money and increase my organic food consumption by reducing my meat intake and yet still maintaining an adequate level of protein every day. My style of eating is also gluten-free.
So What About All The Other Food?
Most of the other “foods” you are thinking of are really just “food-like substances”. Here is my simple rule for all of the other foods you are wondering about: If it isn’t a real food that you can find readily in nature, simply consider it candy.
Bread, pasta, processed foods of all types, alcohol, etc, are all just candy. Treat it the same way you treat a candy bar. Make all these foods something that you eat as a treat with friends at a party or at a traditional meal, but not a part of your regular food. I believe all of these foods can have a place, as long as it is a carefully controlled place. Enjoy them with friends! The benefit of the social interaction can be your healthy activity to offset your less than ideal food choices at the time.
No matter how correct we live our lives, we cannot live forever. Accept this and never cause yourself extra stress by being too rigid in any aspect of your life–including diet.
Focus on aiming for a diet rich in vegetables and fruits along with some lean meats and organic whey (I recommend Isagenix) and then be sure to limit any additions outside of these staples. When you wander outside of the paleo style of eating, try to use other real foods that can be found in nature and then control your portions. If you enjoy the benefits and ease of intermittent fasting , then do it most days. It’s ok if you decide to have breakfast sometimes.
Be ok with focusing on taking these new directions, but don’t let guilt ruin the fun in each day. Do your best and take advantage of the health and weight benefits of this advice, but be sure to enjoy your food, and your life along the way.