Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why do I eat the way I do...

So, if I am asked about my lifestyle changes, I will often use the label "Paleo/Primal". I often hear, however, that it is a fad or something similar to that. Honestly, I only use the label because of convenience and not needing to explain things in more details.

The honest truth about my lifestyle changes is I am eating in a way that makes my body more healthy, in a way that makes me feel better, in a way that I feel more alert and happier, in a way that my physical performance is improved. I have learned of late to listen to how my body responds to certain foods and processed foods make it protest...sometimes very loudly.

So, my "fad" diet includes mostly real foods, things that have an expiration date or would if they had a container. There are a few exceptions in that I do include coconut milk, cream and yogurt as well as some good quality dairy products (although not currently as elimination of all dairy is part of the cleanse I am on). Oh, and I do eat some amount of bacon.

I have learned over the past year that even some real foods, much to my dismay, cause my body to react in a non-positive way. So, for example, eggs, a mainstay of my diet for months, have been purposefully removed from my daily menu planning.

I am not purposefully eating a "low carb" diet as I am not counting carbs or any nutrient specifically. I still eat plenty of carbs in the form of vegetables (mostly non-starchy) and some fruit.  

I am no longer afraid of eating fat and tend to eat some form of good fat (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, etc.) most days of the week.

I eat the best quality meat that I can afford and find. Most often, my beef is grass fed, pasture raised. I buy quality poultry. I buy bacon without added nitrates. I try to limit my fish purchases to wild caught items.

I limit non-fruit sources of sugar. I do use a bit of raw honey from time to time but for the most part these types of added sugar are avoided.

I avoid most grains, although I do eat a bit of rice. After all, sushi isn't sushi if you can't have a bit of rice! For the most part though, I do not eat grains. They don't sit well with me. I am sluggish and generally feeling blah when I consume them, so I avoid them.

I certainly am not living the perfect life, diet-wise. There are times that I break all the rules above. BUT when I do, I make the choice consciously and, for the most part, without regret.

So, I use the label "Paleo/primal" to describe my lifestyle but it is not a choice that I made to follow a certain diet but rather where I ended up when I finally started listening to my body. I also do NOT make a proclamation that it is right for everyone. It is a matter of listening to one's body to figure out what is right and what makes you a healthier person. 

Enlist the help of experts. I have. I work with a great nutritionist that has helped me, and continues to help me, via an elimination diet that I learned so much more about listening to cues from my body. Do research. I can't tell you how much I read on the subject, but in the end, it comes down to what is true for ME. Most of all, learn to listen to your body. I think that if you are really thinking about things, you start to recognize patterns and how you feel after eating certain things. This is going to be different for EVERYONE. It is hard work but, for me, it was so worth it.

Here is a graphic that mostly explains my lifestyle but again, not totally accurate because I have had to tweak things for MY life. It is from a blog at the gym I attend.

So, while I do use labels for my new lifestyle, it would be more accurate to say that it is the lifestyle that I choose to live because of how much better it makes me feel, how much healthier I have become. Isn't that what life should be about? Being the healthiest, best version of yourself?


  1. What I notice here is the obvious lack of processed foods. I didn't realize how much poundage that the processed carbs put on me until I stopped eating so much of them. I dropped pounds immediately. So I also eat mostly this way, with an occasional spoon of sugar in tea or on top of strawberries, and my mini-choc. chips (130 chips for 70 calories). And some days I eat a cookie. :D

    :-) Marion

  2. Lynn I think that an elimination diet so soooooo important when you are dialing in your foods template. The things you learn about your optimum diet are very powerful down the road.

    Love it. I also describe my diet the same way- Paleo/Primal. I eat more paleo, since dairy doesn't work well for me- but I subscribe a lot of the Primal lifestyle.

    Glad you are finding success on your elimination diet. :) Karen P.

  3. I so agree. I could go through the past 30 years of expert opinions on what we should be eating etc. And it changes every few years. In the end, it's like what you said...eating what makes you feel healthy and works for you. It sounds like you've be able to sort out a lot of what is good for you and not good for you. I'm a bit the opposite in that I feel better with grains and less high protein foods like dairy and meat. But I feel more right in myself. I often think of birds. Some birds eat insects. Some are fruit eaters. Some are seed eaters. Some eat some of each etc. And we are like that. I wish people would just realize that what someone chooses to eat is what is best for them even if you don't think so! Enjoyed reading your post Lynn.

  4. We have almost identical eating plans! Just veggies, fruits and lean meats for me with almonds thrown in once in a while. No grains or dairy for me since they don't sit well with me. You are absolutely right! I found something that works for me and stick with it! Glad you found what works for you too:)