A Venerable approach to Paleo Diet
It's circulating, and a growing topic, especially among the younger set. Paleo diet. Caveman way of eating. Paleo caveman. Meat is back in, grains are out. What?! Really?
Having spent several years adapting our food diet to reduce meat, incorporate grains, beans, legumes, rice, pasta the paleo diet recommendations rather turn that on it's ear. It goes contrary to all the good advice we get from medical professionals, nutritionists, and media. So why would I at our venerable ages of 60 + years convert our lifestyle to that of the paleo way of eating?
Well I did exactly that. And the why of it likely won't make a lot of sense to those who might read this little blog post. Yet in the short two and a half months I've had us eating the paleo way my husband has dropped 50 pounds and I am seeing the new him which I didn't even see in him some twenty years ago when we began sharing life together. I am seeing in me a redistribution of my body weight that has the big poking out stomach receding to a more normal size. While I'm not seeing a dramatic difference on the scales when I bother to weigh myself, I am noticing a difference in my clothes, my size and find it encourages me that I may have found a way for us to eat healthier as we face those aging years.
Who would have thought?
Two and a half months ago, on Christmas eve, my 46 year old son-in-law had a heart attack, was resucitated by paramedics bringing him back to the land of the living. It was cause for pause in reflecting on lifestyle choices for their family and ours. At about that time, having been exposed to the mentions of gluten-free, celiac, growing weight epidemic amongst American peoples (young and old), gmo grown foods, estrogen in our water intake bringing about premature puberty and causing man-breasts in some men, antibiotics and hormones added to animals feed, industrial agriculture, industrial and inhumane feed lots of animals meant for food (cows, cattle, pigs, chickens); the continued upswing of ADD, growing incidents of Asthma, peanut allergies, Autism spectrum and heretofore infrequently mentioned celiac disease, growing food deserts, I wasn't unaware that our food chain and way of life was being endangered. I might reconcile with myself that I could circumvent where I could circumvent and unlikely I could steer clear of some element or another that was not good for our bodies.
Before my son in law had his heart attack and we are indeed grateful he is still with us, I had already gone as far as I thought I could within personal limitations in our food purchasing and preparations. It seemed we are all subject to twisting in the wind in knowing which way to turn, which path to take, what is good for us and what is not when it comes to the most basic of human needs - food and water. I decided to go with a rule of thumb that if it was a convenience, prepared, boxed, preserved food in grocery store it was not food for us and loved spending time in the produce section of the store as well as local farmer's markets.
I was proud that I had a weekly menu schedule that included rice, beans, legumes, pasta, fresh vegetables and fruits, little to no sugars or refined foods. Chicken in small quantities and stretched over the rest of the meal, not the main course. I kept in our menus eggs and dairy (cheese, yogurt, butter) It had taken some time to get our pantry and cooking to that stage.
When our precious young son in law met death at death's door, we were taken aback because he was still so young in our eyes. They have raised a daughter who is in college, and have two younger ones in elementary school. He is an affectionate father, loves his children and can make some life changes that would point to better health. We were sure as he was recovering, he would be given a heart-healthy food diet that we expected would reduce or cut out red meats and advise towards light servings of other meats. That is our understanding of heart-healthy food diets. My daughter, his wife and mother of their children had spent some years in the vegan camp, and was studied in the ways of purchasing, preparing vegan. She was ready to swing into action with a primarily vegan diet. That is not what his medical doctor set up for him. I'm relieved as when she was strongly into her vegan days, she found herself passed out in a seizure on the floor of her bathroom. She is not given to seizures and I am somewhat convinced the seizure had something to do with what was lacking in her vegan diet.
Along this way comes a documentary I decide to watch 'The Perfect Human Diet' which doesn't advocate for a way of eating, rather points out what is now called a paleo approach to food. The documentary pointed out that people can be passionate about their food diets, as people can also be passionate about religion and politics. Lesson learned for me is that my passion about food is mine and not easily embraced by others who have their own passion about their food diet. Now I know the concept of having passion about either religion or politics or both and the polarization that seems to have resulted from public dialogue on either of those subjects. It is not a stretch to see how people might also be passionate about their beliefs regarding food.
With that said, I can appreciate that I can share our experience of food diet without pulling out a soapbox, anticipating others might see it in the same or similar light as I am seeing and experiencing it. We are still novices at the upstart paleo diet or as I prefer to call it the paleo way of eating or paleo lifestyle. I think though, we are not typical of the younger set that is more likely to embrace the paleo lifestyle. I hope to grow, learn more about the impact of paleo as a lifestyle for us of the venerable older ages. I do appreciate the younger set that has taken the preparation of the approved paleo foods to another level, making their recipes, books, and experience available online to those of us wanting to undertake the transition.