That’s a general question I come across often.

Mind you, I don’t mean “health food” as in junk like microwave meals, and processed refined “diet” foods.  I mean the real food, the less processed options.

Why does it taste bad? Why does it taste bland? Where is all the flavor?

Truth is, it doesn’t actually taste bad, it’s not bland, and it has lots of flavor.   Have you ever been drinking a soda, or sweet tea, anything very sugary, and then tried to eat something sweet? Piece of candy, bite of ice cream?  For a lot of people who frequently indulge in such things, it’s fairly common knowledge that one is going to over power the other.  One of them is going to end up not tasting right, because suddenly the soda is not going to taste as sweet compared to how sweet the ice cream is.  (I know a lot of people don’t go for ice cream and soda together in the first place, but it’s just an example)

In that same respect, if you’re eating a lot of fried food, or a lot of processed food with fillers, loaded with carbs and sugars, whole food is not going to taste as good to you at first.  You’re going to crave those carby surgary things.

You have to give it time.  It will get better, but only if you keep at it.  It’s not so much that you’ll just get used to the blandness.  It’s more that once you stop eating the processed foods, you’ll start noticing the flavors that were hidden before.

Now this doesn’t necessarily apply to things you just don’t like.  If you’ve never even remotely enjoyed broccoli ever in your life, then I’m not suggesting you start torturing your self by choking it down anyway.  Stick with things you can actually tolerate, things that are edible and just maybe don’t give you that mental enjoyment you get from more processed options.

If you’re in that boat, I would suggest a gradual shift to “clean eating.”   The clean eating method has a big emphasis on just knowing where your food came from and what’s in it.  It’s not so much about “hey don’t eat ice cream, hey don’t eat french fries”  It’s more about “Does your ice cream really need 20 ingredients?”  “Do you really need to eat crackers with high fructose corn syrup in them?”  It does have a large focus on eating more fruits and veggies, but it doesn’t have as many “rules” as trying to go Paleo.   It’s also something more easily eased into.  It’s hard to quit a diet of carbs and sugar, if it wasn’t hard, there wouldn’t be so many methods and support groups out there.  Clean eating doesn’t necessarily demand you give up those things, but it will ease you into the realm of fresher food if you feel like you might need an extra step between your current diet and your goal diet/lifestyle.

As always, you should speak with your doctor about any major diet changes you may be considering.  There may be underlying conditions that will have to be taken into consideration when altering your diet/lifestyle.

Is Paleo a fad diet?

July 3, 2013

I saw on Amazon prime instant videos last night there was a documentary called “The Perfect Human Diet”  the synopsis seemed like it might be about Paleo, or something close to Paleo.  I haven’t watched it yet.  It only had 3 stars so I checked out the reviews and while it does seem to be at least partly about Paleo, a lot of comments said things about Paleo being a “fad diet.”  Perhaps some of the comments were meant to be ironic, like one titled “the two million year old fad diet.”

It irks me though because I don’t see Paleo as a fad diet.  If you look up what fad diets are, you’ll get some varied qualifiers. The main two I like to go by are:

  • It is short-term or otherwise not sustainable
  • Promises substantial and fast weight loss aka “sounds too good to be true”

Is it short-term?  Are you only supposed to do it for a weekend, or a few weeks?  If so then you might lose weight while you’re doing it, but as soon as you revert back to business as usual diet/lifestyle you’ll get it all back, and maybe more.   Other diets are not all that sustainable. I do not mean sustainable in the terms of could YOU do it for forever, but whether anybody could or should do it for forever.  There is the obvious one, starvation.  I’ve also heard of only eating cabbage soup, or only eating bland boiled chicken breasts and salad. (lettuce, no dressing or anything else)  Those are not nutritionally diverse and you might lose weight but that doesn’t mean you’ll be any healthier. Also, contrary to popular belief, you cannot supplement the crap out of your self to meet all your nutritional needs.  You cannot try to live off of rice cakes, take a multivitamin and call it a day.  Vitamins are more for going the extra mile.  Maybe you get 80% of the vitamin D you need from your diet, so a vitamin will get you the rest of the way there.  For a last note on vitamins go and search “multivitamin bioavailability”

I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to use this somewhere lightheartedly.

How about losing 20 lbs in 1 week?  Or losing 1 lb a day for as long as you do it?  Or losing weight without really doing anything?   These are all the “too good to be true” diets.   They promise a lot but deliver little.  This includes weight loss pills and supplements.

Where do I see Paleo falling in on these points?  Is it meant to be short-term? Not at all.  It is sustainable, is it practical and healthy for the general human being to follow for the rest of their life?  Yes, it is.  Does it promise substantial weight loss or fast weight loss?   Not that I’ve ever seen.   Of course people who do switch to it do often lose weight, some people probably even do it for that purpose, but the main philosophy of Paleo eating seems to be about being healthier, not necessarily skinnier.  The same can be said of vegetarians and vegans.  People do often lose weight by switching to those diets, and that is probably the intention of some people who have done it, but the guiding principle of being vegetarian or vegan is more about what the followers find to be the healthiest.

So no, I don’t believe Paleo to be a ‘fad diet.’  I don’t even think these are new practices.  I’m sure there have been people out there all over the world eating “Paleo” the whole time and there just wasn’t a fancy name for it.  Or people to market the idea and make money off it.  Or so many people eating crap food because it’s pushed on us as being ‘healthy’ that we ever really needed someone to point out that the majority of us are all eating horribly bad food. Paleo is long-term, sustainable, and doesn’t make any wild promises or guarantees other than that it’s truly all around a healthy diet to have.

I know, I know.  Someone is going to read this and think to themselves “But I’ve done this or that fad diet or taken such and such supplement and it worked, I never gained the weight back, so it’s not bad.”  Well very good for you.  You are an exception, not the rule.  To me this is the same as someone saying they’ve been a smoker for 40+ years and have never gotten cancer so that must mean cigarettes aren’t bad.   That kind of anecdotal reasoning just doesn’t follow.  There are always exceptions to the rule, and that doesn’t mean that the rules are wrong, just that some people are lucky.  There are also other exceptions, like maybe you did a fad diet or took a supplement to drop some weight right as you were getting started with changing your lifestyle to be healthier. Very few people actually commit to the “changing your lifestyle” part though.

P.S.
As always, what is generally healthy for most, may not be a healthy option for YOU, so always discuss things with your doctor. 🙂