Monthly Archives: July 2013

A POST-PRIMAL PRIMALPAT…OR HOW I WENT NUTS BEING PALEO

Dear friends,

I spent three years of my life living in fear of food. I had a very black and white view of nutrition as I relentlessly researched the webpages of Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, WAPF and similar sites. I joined Paleohacks. I ‘liked’ and joined many paleo/primal friendly groups on Facebook. It become my whole life. I was consumed.

I turned my physical and mental health upside down. I became a woman obsessed. I was labelled the “Food Nazi” by my family and I drove them crazy.

COMPLETELY CRAY CRAY.

I thought I was so smart. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

I was going absolutely bonkers inside my skull. I agonized. I scolded. I lectured. I turned into a complete asshole.

You, dear readers, have unfortunately been witness to this helter skelter journey.

I spent far too much money on supplements, naturopathic doctor visits, allergy tests of different kinds, and more supplements. I removed perfectly nutritious food because a blood test told me so. Blood tests I have now learned to be completely unreliable. I posted about candida like I was some goddamn expert. I was convinced I had it, and schooled others thinking “I’m so fucking smart!”

Meanwhile, my health continued to decline. My gastritis constantly seared the pit of my stomach eating high fat, loads of vegetables, meat and no fruit. I tried all sorts of different digestive aids to help combat this to no avail. INCOMING TMI: Bowel movements hardly ever happened no matter how much ‘roughage’, coconut oil or magnesium I was consuming.

Still, I could not let go of my primal/paleo/completely nutty way of eating even though it clearly wasn’t working for me.

One night, I found Matt Stone. I started reading his blog, and found other people whose health declined when they went primal/paleo.

We were told by other Primal-ites to “GROK HARDER”, “EAT MOAR FAT” or even worse “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”.

No, I wasn’t. I was super strict at my absolute worst orthorexic.

My wife and I had a long conversation about my relationship with food. We realized many things together, including:

I stopped enjoying food. It was no longer pleasurable.

I was more stressed about my health than ever, and spent far too much time researching on the internet about what my problems could actually be. I was digging myself into a hole of serious paranoia.

I decided life is simply too short to worry about food. I decided to reclaim my life back, to enjoy food, to stop being so obsessed.

This realization also came after completing an 8-week course in mindfulness meditation in late 2012. I will share more on this with you later. It gave me a much broader perspective about well-being. I learned that ‘thoughts are not facts’. I learned to return to my breath. It absolutely and completely changed my life. Suddenly, my priorities were changing. I started taking classes in 5Rhythms, a form of ‘moving meditation’. My mind was changing. I was learning to be calmer and less anxious. Both of these practices were forcing me to take a long, hard look at my eating practices, my food obsession, my health paranoia.

It dawned on me that relaxing my views on food, and practicing meditation daily was of much bigger benefit to my physical and mental health than eating primally ever was. Than researching ever was. Than being a know-it-all douche was.

Slowly, in the earlier part of 2013, I visited my much beloved health/food/nutrition websites far, far less. I started consuming less fat and eating potatoes regularly. POTATOES! MY POLISH ANCESTORS REJOICED!

I was tired of the paleo/primal community. Many folks who follow this lifestyle are oftentimes arrogant, smug, lecture on shit they really know nothing about, and become extremely hostile in the face of dissenting views.

Kind of life religious fanatics.

There are people in the community who eschew eating any fruit whatsoever, but consume gobs of butter and coconut oil in their coffee. I even posted about Bulletproof Coffee right here on my blog, although I never consumed it daily. I think it’s revolting, and I LOVE BUTTER.

I don’t have a problem with the message of eating paleo. I do have a problem with diets, or excuse me, ‘lifestyles’ becoming big money, and gargantuan empires of greed. Take my supplements! Buy my books! Pay for my coaching! I thought paleo was supposed to be about simplicity?

For the record, I have not completely given up on reading health related blogs. I am a big fan of Go Kaleo, 180 Degree Health, and Cheeseslave. I do not pretend to know anything anymore.

Food nazism doesn’t equal health. EATING MOAR FAT doesn’t work for everyone. We must look at the bigger picture.

LIFE.

BALANCE.

You can eat as ‘healthy’ as you imagine yourself to be, but obsessive mental patterns relating to your ‘health’, micromanaging every ounce of food that enters your mouth, spending vast amounts of time on the internet, and acting like a pompous, self-righteous ass is not HEALTH.

Spend time with your friends. Read fiction. Get laid. Hug your dog. Kiss your cat. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Take a deep breath. LIVE LIFE.

Eat, love, laugh, sleep, breathe.

In the face of life’s deep beauty and awe, what we think we know is utter nonsense. It means absolutely nothing when compared to The Big Picture, and is tantamount to ego stroking and proverbial dick measuring.

I refuse.

I bite my tongue.

To all of you, I give my sincerest apologies.

We have better things to do than argue with idiots on the interwebs.

We have better things to do than act self-righteous about how we eat.

No one wants to listen about how amazeballs you are for not consuming any sugar of any kind, how wheat is teh devilz, or what your Crossfit WOD times are.

I wasn’t sure how to approach this topic. I knew I had a lot to say. But I was pissed off, still in shock and denial, and needed to percolate before I could share this message. I was inspired by Melissa Mcewan’s post on the same topic. I breathed an enormous sigh of relief when I finished reading it.

“I’m not alone!”

No, I wasn’t. And neither are you.

I eat what I want now. Gluten, at it’s worst gives me headaches, although it is not consistent. I do not eat it all the time. I’m back to eating glorious, nutritious eggs, and yummy cheese. I’m eating rice, lots of potatoes, and FRUIT! I drink beer here and there too. BEEEEEEEER. I’ve been loosely following Matt Stone’s advice, although not going absolutely CRAAAAAAAAY over micromanaging myself.

Unreasonably Dangerous Onion Rings has a hilarious post on “Six Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Dietary Advice From Cavemen”. And a very good rebuttal to those rebuking the previous post.

Friends, if you came to my site and enjoyed my recipes, I’m overjoyed. I’m still proud of the food I posted for your eating pleasure. Please ignore all and any health advice I wrote about. I may edit those articles to strikethrough the nonsense, because I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not going to pretend to anymore.

Scott from RealFood University recently wrote a post on “What’s So Bad About Pleasure?” It put a big smile on my face. You know who would approve of this article?

My food and cooking mentor, James Barber.

James Barber: who talked about being relaxed in the kitchen, using what you have, never needing fancy equipment, and using love and enjoyment as a generous ingredient.

“Cooking is like making love: you do the best you can with what you got!”

James Barber ate whatever he wanted, and died at 84, sitting at the kitchen table, with soup simmering on the stove.

I want a death like that.

We’re all going to die. No Way of Eating, diet, or “lifestyle” is a magic pill. We must enjoy our time on this planet. We must savor every moment, stay present in every breath. If I wake up once day and find out I have cancer, will I vilify myself for not GROKING MOAR HARDCORE? For not eating enough grass-fed beef and leafy greens?

Nope.

Obsessing is not living. I choose life.

The great Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation. Including moderation”.

James once said, “Cooking, like sex and dancing, is a pleasure best shared”.

Fuck yes! Eat The Food!