“Big-Paleo*” has a secret that they don’t want you to know.
It’s something far more insidious and if you have “gone paleo” or done a Whole30, you’ve most likely already fallen into the trap.
Here’s the story:
You’ve [and when I say YOU, I also mean ME because I’ve already BTDT. I mess up first so you guys don’t have to 🙂 ] eliminated all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar for 30 days and you feel better and lost some weight! GREAT!!!!!
Now, you try a BITE of bread and your belly blows up and you have gas. Hmm…that’s new…maybe I have a wheat sensitivity. I should probably stay away from all grains in all forms.
Or maybe you tried adding back in some creamer to your coffee and you experience digestive discomfort like never before. Maybe it’s dairy allergy!
Suddenly, you have digestive problems that did not exist before.
The “experts” tell you that this is because you should not be eating these foods–no one should!
Unfortunately this is not true! You are likely experiencing digestive problems because you have avoided these foods for so long that the enzymes needed to digest them have decreased. Your body is smart and if you aren’t eating dairy/beans/grains, your body isn’t going to continue to produce enzymes to digest it!
If you never had the gas, bloating, etc before, chances are your system is just not used to eating these items anymore. It does NOT necessarily mean that you need to forever swear off these things.
I am not saying that food sensitivities, intolerance and allergies don’t exist. They do.
[WAIT–grains, potatoes, dairy, beans could be healthy foods?? Do you think communities where people routinely thrive into their 90’s and above are doing something right? Then check out what these people do.]
So, if there is no “magic” , no EVIL food group, in Paleo, why did I feel so good? Why did my energy go up and my weight go down?
If you are like me, during your 30 day cleanse you also eliminated alcohol, sugar, and highly processed foods. Most people feel better when they eliminate these things!
Chances are we felt better not because we weren’t eating dairy, grains, beans, BUT because we took time to eat real, whole foods that we prepared ourselves at home and avoided eating crap like White Mocha’s Frappuccinos, breakfast cereals, the candy our co-workers offered, and the bag of chips before bed while watching Breaking Bad.
That is not always true and THIS is the secret that Paleo* does not want you to know: There is no “magic” in Paleo for most people.
The problem is that diets like Paleo have such rigid rules to follow, that they set most people up for failure. You love ice cream but can’t have it when you are “on” Paleo? Coconut version not cutting it? Most people end up binge-ing on the REAL deal, think themselves failures and then proceed to toss the whole thing out the window only to end up back where they started vilifying foods and back on the diet hamster wheel.
The truth is that most people feel better when they cut out the crap: alcohol, highly-processed and nutrient-poor foods, and stop negative eating habits like eating late at night, snacking when not hungry, eating your feelings, and skipping meals. By NOT putting yourself into a diet prison and labeling how you eat, you can allow yourself ice cream and not hate yourself or suffer the rath of the Paleo-Police.
So, next time (and trust me if you are coming off of one of these diets, there will be a next time), try a #dontdiet by just eliminating the garbage and eating better foods that you make at home, eat at a table with love and gratitude.
*I’m not picking on Paleo. You can insert any other diet or program into this blog and come to the same conclusions. You can try Dukan, Vegan, Wheat Belly, Atkins, Raw Food, etc.
What do you think? Hit close to home? Have you done a paleo-challenge only to end up with more digestive problems than when you started? Have you blamed it on an EVIL food group? Could it be something else? I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. XOXO, Dr. Amber