Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve posted an update. Much of our online time has been occupied getting ready to launch our self defense site ondefence.com, which should be ready to go any day now.
In the meantime, Dave and I have traversed the landscape of diets, literally – from the meat-centric paleo diet, right to full-fledged vegetarianism. We even flirted with eating vegan and raw for a while. Crazy, right?
So, the last time we posted we had just finished the Whole 30. For those who don’t know, the Whole 30 is a squeaky clean dietary challenge where you eliminate sugar, processed foods, grains, legumes and dairy for a full month. Prior to that, we’d been following the primal/paleo path, which initially resonated with us because it seemed to be aligned with our ancestry and it’s based on whole foods. But as it turns out, we just weren’t ready to give up grains forever. And that’s not all…
I think the paleo diet can also be very acid forming. I’m a believer the body should be slightly alkaline and that most diseases flourish in acidic environments. Meat is one of the most acid forming foods we can eat. And the paleo diet tends to advocate a lot of crappy meat, like bacon, which I just don’t think is a clean source of fuel for the body.
Paleo advocates claim they model their diet after cavemen – and therefore it’s better suited to our unevolved guts. And I admit, at first that rang true because I know cavemen didn’t have processing plants or 7-11s. But then again, do you really think cavemen ate meat THREE TIMES A DAY? Or do you think maybe they gorged on meat when they had a kill, then starved and ate berries for days in between?
The other issue with such a meat heavy diet is that it’s not sustainable. Meat production is killing our planet. The amazon is being destroyed at some crazy ass alarming rate just to plant soybeans to feed the cattle to try to meet the demand for meat, in order to feed our growing population – many of whom are trying to emulate the North American meat-heavy diet.
So, having said all that, we decided to try vegetarianism.
For about four months we changed our diet completely. I borrowed a pile of books from the library, dusted off my copy of The Thrive Diet and started experimenting with soaking & sprouting and raw food recipes. During the summer months it was actually quite nice – refreshing even! My stomach felt lighter, my poops were abundant, I had lots of energy. And the best part? My once debilitating menstrual cramps became tolerable. For the first time in 15 years I got through my cycles without pounding pills and/or weeping like a baby on the floor!
But after a while, eating became a chore; food became a source of stress. What to eat, when to eat, what to prepare. All our old standbys were off the table and meal preparation lost its fun and freedom. I also started gaining weight – lots of it. What a bummer. Here I was doing something to help my body and I felt like it was turning on me. “Don’t you know this is good for you dammit?!” I asked my body as I watched my the number of clothes I could fit into become fewer and fewer. I had to wonder what was happening and if my body was getting everything it needed.
Ultimately however, it was once again the food stress that really made us reconsider vegetarianism. We love food and I love to cook. But it felt like I was trying to paint with a limited palette and that eating and cooking just weren’t fun anymore. Dave would come home and stare into the fridge, frustrated. We found ourselves repeating the same meals and getting bored, not wanting to go out or share meals with friends. We think food should be a celebration and with this way of eating, it had become a chore.
So, we started adding more animal proteins back in to our diet. And now, as circuitous as it seems, it looks like we’ve come full circle. Back to a happy middle ground where balance is the key. Just like any journey though, we didn’t come home empty handed. We picked up a few new tips and tricks we’re looking forward to sharing with you, like including raw foods each day for enzymes and energy, and drinking a green smoothie full of easily digestible super foods (which I’m pretty sure was the secret to conquering my cramps – more on that in another post).
So what are we eating now? Real, whole food in a balanced way. I am trying to incorporate protein into each of our meals; lots of fresh raw veggies; clean, conscious carbs, including whole grains in as close to their natural state as possible; and healthy fats. In fact, I’ll do a few posts on putting it all together, some sample menus and new recipes in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, let us know what you think? Have you ever spent time on one of the dietary extremes? What works for you?
Dheana & David