Spring Cleaning: Reexamining Diet Dogma

It’s Spring!  What better time to take stock, reassess, purge what’s not needed anymore, and start fresh?  As I’m writing this, spring showers are washing everything clean outside my window and it is feeling like the perfect time to reflect on what is beneficial and enriching in my life and what is not working anymore.  One area that continues to need altering and tweaking is my health/diet.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I have gone through many diet incarnations searching for better health and have latched on to several specific ways of eating.  After years of vegetarianism/veganism, I saw many improvements in my health switching to a Paleo diet.  But unfortunately, unwanted symptoms – insomnia, headaches, etc. – started creeping back into my life and once again I was left scratching my head wondering why I couldn’t find lasting health.  While many of my symptoms have greatly improved by including high quality animal fats and proteins in my diet, the pendulum eventually swung in the opposite direction.  Following a Paleo diet and avoiding all grains and legumes meant being in a relatively low-carb range that now doesn’t seem very sustainable in the long run.  Believe me, I ate lots of sweet potatoes, dates, squash, and root veggies, but even with all that my carbohydrate intake was still quite low.  For me this has meant a return of adrenal fatigue & hypothryoid symptoms.  Apparently I’m not alone.  You can find many stories out there from people who didn’t “see the light” from Paleo-ism or any other restrictive way of eating for that matter.  A few great reads can be found here, here, and here.

I started to see a common thread running through all of these diets that felt very dogmatic – lots of “Eat This” & “Don’t Eat This” lists as well as intense philosophical arguing over what our healthiest, most moral diet should be.  On a personal level, I can see now how these rules were incredibly appealing to me because I had never known eating without any rules or exclusions.  But finally, I’m beginning to break free of it all.  I am still intent on eating the best quality, unrefined, whole food I can find, but now I am stuffing my face with lots of fat, protein AND carbs of all types, and I am experiencing better sleep and moods and many other great improvements to my health.

As I said in My Philosophy, I don’t know what changes are around the corner next week or next year, but I feel liberated by the knowledge that there will always be unknowns and change in the future.  I’m okay not having all of the answers and see how important it is to remain open and receptive to new information and able to bend when my current ideas and beliefs are challenged.  It’s unfortunate that many of us feel the need to box ourselves in and create so many neuroses around food and eating. (If you’ve never heard of orthorexia, google it.) There is still so much we don’t know about human physiology, health and nutrition, so it behooves us to remain open and flexible instead of trying to prove our “rightness”.  Let’s all continue to strive for optimal health and remember to think for ourselves!

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One thought on “Spring Cleaning: Reexamining Diet Dogma

  1. Your writing is so impressive and so open and honest. I know more about you from these insights. ..karen in San Ramon

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