A Little Bit of R & R
Lately I've been thinking a lot about my dietary history, my body, and what I want out of my future. Is eating and health really so simple as "eat food, not too much, mostly (or entirely if you ask a seemingly increasing number of people) plants"? Low(sort of kind of maybe ish) carb Paleo is literally the first success I've ever had with my health. Lately though, have I gotten too wrapped up in the science, the biohacking, the bickering?
Clearly child me ate too much food. I was a 90s child of the low fat healthy, but still homemade thankfully, age. So if I was in fact eating "food," what made me eat so much that I was able to sustain this much abuse to my body? Why does my brother who rotted out six of his baby teeth have superior health, fitness, and the waist line of an actress?
I was brought up by a southern/Texan lady, my grandmother. We literally had to stand at the top of the stairs and enunciate so that we could learn how to speak properly. For an introvert, that alone may be the reason I hate public speaking. In the back of my mind somewhere I know how to set the table for a dinner party with multiple spoons. I was brought up to be pleasant and polite.
When it came to eating, this meant I ate what I was given, didn't eat much candy, and avoided fatty foods. I suffered through many an overcooked, over salted, canned vegetable before I could leave the table (my brother threw them against the wall to avoid this). My reward for this good behavior was a size 18 by the time I was in 8th grade. I was 180 pounds and only 14 years old.
Given, I was also a bread pig. I ate so much bread, but only the best whole grain. I often left the table still hungry. Could I not even be satisfied before having eaten "too much?" I definitely ate mostly plants (if you consider grains plants). My petite, elf like aunt "doesn't really eat meat." She does, but only occasionally and only a couple bites. Looking back I was very similar, just twice her size. If I was served meat, I ate it like a polite lady, but if I ever had the choice, I ate vegetarian. My favourite food was pasta with marinara and real basil.
Whole grain pasta is pretty well accepted as a healthy food. It's even considered low GI. Maybe there wasn't enough protein, but my issues with weight and uncontrollable blood sugar continued after I became a true vegetarian and ate more beans and legumes. Clearly I was missing something. I don't know what could be missing from lots of fruit, whole, low GI grains, fresh organic vegetables, legumes, organic whole milk and cheeses, a few eggs, and a conservative drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil. It's the diet that so many books are sold on, the one that allows people living below the poverty line to eat organic, the one that's supposed to save the world and our health.
Then why was I so miserable? Was it really simply that I didn't "eat (enough) food"? I stopped feeling hunger sometime during high school. Through swimming (and eating All the Food) in high school, two years of college, basic training, and my first year in the army, I got as low as 140 and as high as 170, while losing more and more of my health.
My third year in the army, I discovered paleo, and for the first time ever, I had success AND control over my body. I had steady energy, plenty of it, I was eating meat, fat, and salt, and I felt great. At least until I had to eat around other people. I actually made it all the way to 150 pounds, and finally I felt good about my body. I was happy to wear a bikini in public (pools, not the street), and when a man expressed interest, I wasn't afraid that it was only because he though because I was fat I was easy.
But it was a different when it came to other people looking at my food. Everyone has their own opinions about food now, and many hold fiercer beliefs than for religion or politics. Maybe my issues with eating "too much" we're emotional after all? If I'm so impressionable as an adult to feel so much guilt for eating a teaspoon of butter with my homemade (gluten free and flourless) bread that I haven't done so since, isn't it even more possible I was substituting in food for whatever it is psychiatrists think make obese children obese?
I can't imagine what that would be though. I never felt unloved, and when I was lonely, I had books to turn to. More often than not, I would forget to eat because I was at a particularly good part. I did feel hungry though. Whatever I did to lose my hunger signals has made it a little more difficult now. Having to constantly manage eating enough (but "not too much"), making sure I eat carbs (but only the right kind), and trying to find socially acceptable proteins (that actually work for my body but don't contain too much PUFA) is tiring.
I'm tired. How is it that a fat woman bringing in a home cooked lunch of a couple oxtail joints, sweet potatoes, and fresh greens is worthy of shame and unhealthy, but if I order take away BBQ pork and cole slaw (with PUFA laden mayo!) no one bats an eye? I don't want to be tired. I want to enjoy my food and have the energy to enjoy my body. I don't want anyone else to have to feel what it's like to lose a fight with your own body, especially not anyone I care about. I believe my outlook on food is defective. I don't want want that for my future. I want health.
So why am I considering leaving the first key to success I've ever found? Is it just social pressure? This low fat mentality is hard enough to shake and harder now that it's back in fashion, but I'm no better for abandoning my butter for bananas. I guess the answer is, I'm not any more better with the biohacking macro balance of the month either. I've sifted through too many studies, and the conclusion I've come to is this:
We've discovered a lot of things about the body, food, and different chemical reactions. But we know nothing.
I've done a lot of dietary experiments from the conventionally approved healthy whole grains to make most of your meals vegetarian (vegan is better) to raw vegan to flexetarian to primal to paleo/whole30 to GAPS to confusion. Definitely the second half of that list has treated me more kindly, but at this point I honestly feel like I don't really know anything.
I'm honestly not sure where I'm going to go from here, or how I'm going to cope with these new social pressures regarding how I nourish my body. There's a chance (however small) that someday I'll have to teach my children how to eat, and I'd rather have them think of food as nourishment, not a social or science project. I want to give them good food so they can go off and have fun. I don't want them as young teens to think this tomato is going to kill them or put some Hispanic into modern day slavery. I just want them, and me, to be healthy and well adjusted.
I don't know if I'm taking a break from paleo so much as I'm taking a break from "food networking." The healthiest I've ever been, my diet was probably 80% vegetables, starchy vegetables, animals, and fruit and 20% whiskey and butter. I was happier and healthier than I was during a full on Whole30. I kid you not. Just looking at the results, I think that's a good place to start. Maybe I'll bake some (gluten free, that's one thing I really do need to avoid) bread or maybe I'll throw copious amounts of bacon into a vegetable soup. Probably both. I just hope I find happiness and health in eating again.
Last edited by RittenRemedy; 06-05-2015 at 06:37 AM.
yeah, but "hey i'm Khan the sword king" is not normal.... the universe is being fickle... this is a thing... ignore me for a few weeks.