Are brains paleo? I’m not talking about offal. I’m talking about YOUR BRAIN.
No, I don’t want to eat your brain. I want you to just freaking use it.
I might be more immersed in the paleo community than some, so I might be exposed to more paleo talk than I need to be. I’ve been seeing ludicrous questions asked about the paleo-ness of things, and it makes me think that people are missing the point. I’m not talking about legitimate questions about certain foods. Quinoa? Maple syrup? Butter? Potatoes? Are they paleo? Those are legitimate questions, and it’s completely understandable that they’re often asked. A lot of people who are embracing the paleo lifestyle are coming from a variety of other types of diets. Quite often, those former diets are on the complete other side of the spectrum. Going from a low-fat, calorie counting, cardio crazed lifestyle to a high fat, cholesterol loving, heavy lifting one is a huge transition. There are, of course, questions. 100% understandable.
What bothers me are the questions that suggest that we are supposed to be living some kind of historical reenactment, powered by google recipe searches. Do you see how ridiculous that very sentence is? We. Are. Not. Cavemen. Dress up as one for Halloween if you need to get it out of your system. But if you’re reading this, you live in a home with a solid roof on it. You buy your food from a store with just about every ingredient you can imagine. You bring those neatly packed bags of food home to a kitchen that is equipped with modern appliances, sharp knives, and smooth countertops. Bonus: There are no animals that try to eat you while you’re preparing your dinner. Begging dogs, maybe, but they’ll just clean the floor if you drop something.
Let’s entertain the idea that some things aren’t paleo or not paleo, they just ARE. Computers, Facebook, cars, makeup, toilet paper, contact lenses, spa days, cookbooks, 6 course gourmet dinners, office jobs; didn’t exist for our cavemen ancestors. Hell, some of these things didn’t exist for our grandparents.
Want to know the “Is it paleo” question that inspired this rant? Is flossing paleo? Someone asked about flossing in a paleo group the other day, and you wouldn’t believe the length of the thread that followed. People wanted sources backing up why flossing is healthy, and not actually some kind of ploy to get us all to unknowingly shove bacteria into our gums. (yes, really). Here’s a thought: Food gets stuck in between our teeth. Does eating a paleo diet give us a better chance of having good dental health? Yes. Will it prevent food from getting stuck in our teeth? No. Is food stuck in between our teeth for days on end a positive thing for our dental or overall health? I’m not a dentist, but I’m going to say No, no it’s not. Did cavemen have floss? Doubtful. Do I care? Not even a little.
Asking questions is great. Reading books, doing research, going to talks, all good. Knowledge is power. But let’s stop with the black and white, paleo non-paleo stuff. Not everything has to be one or the other. Twinkies? Fine, they’re just not paleo. But what about distance running? Does it have to be one or the other? Does it matter which one it is? Do you feel great when you run? Keep doing it. Does it cause pain to every part of your body ? Stop doing it. Simple as that. Enough is enough.
Yes, the paleo diet is based on an ancestral way of eating. There is plenty of science and a lot of common sense that shows how and why eating an ancestral diet is good for us. Grains are inflammatory and difficult to digest. Let’s not eat them, because inflammation is no bueno. Legumes, it turns out, are not so good for your heart because contrary to popular belief, farting more isn’t actually heart healthy. I never really liked them anyway. Oh and all of those additives that go into processed foods? They’re chemicals and we can’t pronounce their names. Maybe they’re not food? Huh. Let’s not eat those, either. *
Let’s Just Eat Real Food, and pay attention to how we feel after we eat it. Adjust as needed. Reassess. And for the rest of the stuff, let’s not be so obsessed with if it’s paleo or not, before we all start looking like crazed religious lunatics. Let’s use our big evolved brains, instead.
update 10/1/17: Grains and legumes can be problematic for some people, but are not universally unhealthy, especially when prepared correctly. I have reintroduced grains into my diet after being Paleo for years and personally do great with them, and am happier with gluten-free baked goods in my life. Again: do what works for you.
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