So, here’s the thing: I’m no longer “primal.” Or “paleo.” Or any other label that’s been thought up of late.
Why? Because I just want to eat food.
Well, okay, that’s not the only reason. Truth is, I’ve been obsessing about food lately, & by lately, I mean the last eight months or so. I know a lot of people have found freedom from this through primal/paleo, but I’ve realized that I’m headed down the dark path of orthexia. Food has just been constantly on my mind; what I should eat, what I shouldn’t eat, should I up my fats? My carbs? My proteins? I shouldn’t eat the cheese; I should eat more of this, more of that, less of this… not to mention the fact that it feels like every time I turn around there’s another food I should be avoiding. Another chemical; another preservative, another type of sugar. & I just cannot do it any more. I need to be honest with myself, & with everyone around me.
I feel best when I eat a diet of mostly veggies & fruits, with some protein. I shouldn’t feel like I’m failing at something if I want to eat a salad instead of a big hunk of meat. I shouldn’t feel like I’m doing something wrong if I find myself craving yogurt & fruit with a sprinkle of granola. I ate this very thing for breakfast this morning, & my god it was fulfilling.
So – what prompted the “aha!” moment? A few things, really.
» The essay Weight Less in the June 2011 edition of Whole Living It really struck a chord with me, & I encourage everyone to give it a read.
» The Carrot Train to Crazytown, from Whole9.
» Batty’s continuing posts about unhealthy body images, especially the mantra “strong is the new skinny.”
There were more signs, but it wasn’t until I said it out loud to my husband, “I really just want to give it all up & eat food I know is healthy” that I realized how bad it had become. We’ve talked some, & it turns out he’s been worried about me for awhile now. The list of “forbidden” foods just kept getting longer, & just… yeah.
I want to make it clear, though, that I’m not going back to a CW ideal of healthy eating – I’ve learned FAR too much in the past two years to do that. I’ll always be gluten-free – the migraines, stomach issues, skin problems, & other things I’m probably forgetting that are now a thing of the past will stop me from ever thinking I can go back to eating wheat. I don’t fear healthy fats, & my skin & hair thank me for it. & I have nothing against anyone who strictly adheres to the primal lifestyle. I personally have learned so, so much from the entire community about nutrition & general health – how to supplement correctly, the dangers of hormonal birth control, the grossness of vegetable oils, the awesomeness that is the coconut. I owe Mark Sisson a huge amount for helping me attain the health I currently have, & for exposing that the path of CW nutrition is a deadly one. Grains will never form a large part of my diet, & Real Food will continue to be my focus.
But I bought gluten-free granola, & it was delicious. We’ve been eating Udi’s gluten-free pizza crust for several months now, & it by far is the best gluten-free crust we’ve tried so far – but I haven’t wanted to say anything, for fear of being judged. NO LONGER! I’m going to occasionally eat Cinnamon Rice Chex, simply because I can. I’m going to eat all the delicious fruit of the summer, & not give a damn how many carbs I’m downing. I’m going to eat real french fries & rejoice when I do so. I’ll still eat mostly unprocessed food, & my diet will probably resemble a primal diet more than anything else. But if I feel like having french toast made from gluten-free bread, I’m going to enjoy it without a shred of guilt.
I feel like I can breathe again. Thanks for listening, & I hope you’ll stick around. I’ll continue to create & share recipes, & talk about simplicity & everything else I love.