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Focused, or paranoid?

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  • Focused, or paranoid?

    In my two-decade quest for health, both physical and mental, I've followed many diets and regimes, forced myself to eat things I formerly loathed (beans) and restricted myself from seemingly evil foods (meat). Yeah, I was a vegetarian. I never enjoyed being a vegetarian but I thought I was doing myself, and those poor (cafo) animals, a great service. Many times I felt like I'd be a good candidate for ascetic monastery living, along with the back whips. So, of course, I'd stray off the virtuous path and sneak in a hamburger (Harvey's!) or some chicken (mother's) and then I'd figuratively whip myself and cook up some grains and beans and sit down to a bland, tasteless bowl of moist wood shavings.

    But always, in the back of my mind, lurked the ever-present question of what humans are "supposed" to eat. Then the Paleo Diet almost fell on me, missed my toe by about an inch. I was browsing my local Chapters, in the food section, not even consciously having gone there, moving books around, checking out titles, and THERE, right in front of me, "Vegetarian Myth", and right beside it, Paleo Diet. I went to grab it and it FLEW at me. Okay, fine, I get it, message received, but I didn't have the money to buy a book. (WHO goes to a book store without money?!) But it stayed in my mind, the existence of such a book, and that it just might have the answers. So I asked my library to get it, and then I caved and bought it before the library could get it. I devoured it, (yes, pun intended). About a month later, after picking apart the internet looking for more such resources, I stumbled upon MDA and perused that a bit, slowly being sucked in to a wider, more rounded perspective of the paleo diet.

    So, now I find myself checking every little bit of food that passes my lips and wondering if THIS one is something I should be putting into my body, and what if it isn't, what do I do then? What could I eat instead of this?

    I have yet to read Primal Blueprint (library is ordering it) so I'm basing my new-found food philosophy on the paleo diet and my inundation of MDA.

    I'm not sure if I can categorize myself as being simply a super-focused person in terms of food, or a paranoid person wanting to do it perfectly right.

    Of course, I feel like I'm floundering, wanting to do it right, but feeling so very far from it.

    I'm posting this wondering if there are any other people who feel so very scared of making a mistake and dooming themselves further to a life of mysterious illnesses?

  • #2
    Mark (author of the Primal Blueprint) just wrote an article about transitioning from vegetarianism, and there are many former vegetarians around here.

    At this point, you are taking charge of your health. You experiment and find out what certain foods do to you. Keep a food journal, if that will help, and record how your body feels as well. You don't have to believe anyone but your own body anymore. Try it for a month and see if it works for you. If you aren't having the results you want, try taking something else away, or adding something else back.

    However, the more you stray from your experiment, the less clear your results will be.


    • #3
      Originally posted by jfreaksho View Post
      However, the more you stray from your experiment, the less clear your results will be.
      I think this is why Paleo advocates things like the Whole 30. Be really disciplined and get the foods you likely react to out of your body for 30 days. Then add things back one at a time and see how your body feels. If you are eating paleo for the most part and then decide to step off the path for a treat, have a cheeseburger, and feel like crap, how will you know if it was the bun or the cheese? Plus, some people react quickly to given foods, others take more regular exposure and have more subtle reactions.

      I tried gluten-free for 6 months a couple years ago, about a year before primal. I was trying to help my thyroid issues. I saw no particular respite from my symptoms. I was still eating other grains and legumes. After going primal I saw tremendous relief. One of my more annoying symptoms was swelling in my hands, face, and limbs. I find now if I have even a little wheat, my hands swell within an hour. Yet when I was wheat free but not grain free, my hands were still swollen all the time. It turns out that wheat isn't the only thing that does that too me. I didn't figure that out until I got rid of ALL of it. If I'd never done this, I'd still think that gluten grains were fine for me.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kimelah View Post
        I'm posting this wondering if there are any other people who feel so very scared of making a mistake and dooming themselves further to a life of mysterious illnesses?
        I did this after reading The Maker's Diet several years ago. It got so bad that my family was ready to stage an intervention and my mother MADE me watch an episode of 20/20 dealing with Orthorexia. I realized I needed to relax. Did I mention I am 5"9" and I weighed 110 lbs? I use primal as a guiding principle now, but I have made up my mind never to let food cause me that kind of anxiety ever again. It means I am not "as good" at Primal as others, but I can live with that.

        If you are mindful and a little anxious, that's one thing and it will keep you healthy. If you are scared of food (find the "I fear food" thread for a laugh), that is another issue entirely, and the stress will make you sicker than a bag of tortilla chips probably would.


        • #5
          I agree with Yvonne. It doesn't do any good to use diet modification as a way of handling anxiety. If you don't eat 100% clean it is not a big deal - you are just trying to eat healthy. If you are finding it is bringing up anxiety issues, you may have to delve deeper into what is underlying the anxiety - and it may not be about food at all.

          A joyful heart is good medicine

          He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

          Mmmmm. Real food is good.

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