Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Answering the Common Arguments Against Paleo

I realise that when faced with the thought of not having grains anymore, people can get really defensive and stubborn. It is a strange, strange thing. I felt the urge to tackle some common arguments against the Paleo/Primal diet, in my own words and opinions.

1. But Aren't You Depriving Yourself of Lots of Things?
- Well, first of all, of course you are going to be depriving yourself of certain foods any time you attempt to eat a healthy balanced diet that our bodies are designed to eat. That's the whole point is it? To reduce the junk food, fast food and sugary beverages that are so cheap and prolific in our society. I'm pretty sure that any sort of "diet" tells you to cut these things out, or at least drastically reduce them only to be had in "moderation". Actually, going grain-free led to me eating a much, much wider range of fresh foods on a regular basis that I wouldn't usually have eaten before.
- The conventional wisdom which sadly still holds strong in many people's minds is to reduce intake of high fat foods, and switch to low fat choices. Well, sorry, aren't YOU depriving yourself of the deliciousness that is crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast, or a rich triple cream brie, or a fat juicy steak? I feel more sorry for you, because going grain free has opened up a whole new world of flavours and richness to me. When you're stomach isn't (temporarily) filled with bread and rice you have more room to enjoy the flavours of the meat, spices and vegetables which aren't drowned out by starch anymore.
- Eating this way, i.e. cutting out starchy carbohydrates and refined sugars, has been the only way that I have been able to really control my binge eating disorder. It's a small price to pay for being free from the blood sugar crashes and carb cravings that only fuel the disorder.

2. Following a Primal Diet is expensive. Only rich people can afford to eat like that.
- It's really not as expensive as you would think when you take into consideration what you don't have to buy anymore. Changing my lifestyle has allowed me to save money I would have otherwise spent on drugs to alleviate GERD, so that alone is a saving of $30 a month. So that's $30 extra to spend on meat and cheese! :) I'm sure other people out there have a whole range of medications they wouldn't have to take if they went Paleo/Primal so they'd be saving even more than me - on not only the drugs themselves but the doctors visits and the blood tests to monitor side effects caused by taking the drugs!
- You're saving money on all the packaged foods you used to buy from the middle of the supermarket like bread, pasta, biscuits, crackers, chips and bottled sauces.
- If you find a well priced, good quality green grocer or farmer's market you can buy a whole load of vegies  and it costs less than you think. Fruit and vegetables add lots of bulk to meals without costing the earth.
- You can buy meat when it's on sale and stick it in the freezer for later use.
- Buy specialty ingredients like coconut oil and flour in bulk online. Maybe go in on it with a friend.
- Ultimately, if you're savvy enough then this doesn't have to be an expensive way to live. But even if it IS more expensive than say, living on packaged food, well I'm happy to accept that trade off - isn't your health and happiness worth that?

3. But I Can't Live Without Bread or Pasta!
- Boy, do I hear this a lot, mostly from friends. One work colleague even said to me "I'd rather be fat." Well, that's your choice. If you'd rather be sick and plagued with chronic illnesses then that's your bed to lie in.
Now, I was a self professed lover of Italian food, namely pizza and pasta. And I had toast for breakfast, and sometimes lunch, and sometimes afternoon tea, every freaking day. But when I found out there was a way that I could cure my GERD without drugs I simply jumped at the chance, I was so sick of the pain. It took a little while to completely get rid of the grains but guess what, I'm here, I'm living without bread and pasta. 
- I can definitely live without the stodgy feeling you get in your stomach after eating bread and pasta; the lethargy, the bloating, the heartburn, and the food baby! I've said it before, I'll say it again, closing the door on grains opens the door to a whole new world of delicious foods, all of which can be enjoyed without regret  (mental or physical!) later on.

If you want to read some more of these arguments, this is a good article. 

Ultimately, what people choose to eat is up to them, and I am not going to go round saying these things to people unsolicited, but I felt the need to rant a little! This is the way I choose to live and the way that makes me the healthiest and happiest.