Monday, September 3, 2012
Paleo, Is it All That?
Yep, I am going to think out loud right now. I have been tossing this post around in my head for awhile knowing that I won't agree with everyone on this.
Here's a little back story:
As many of you know, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism over 12 years ago. Looking back I think my doctor put me on thyroid meds because I wanted an "easy" way out of my struggles with maintaining my weight. I think if I hadn't pushed it I would not have started down the path that I am on. Fast forward 5 years later and my hypothyroidism had developed into Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid. In short, my body thinks my thyroid is a disease. This is not a convenient situation as my body desperately needs my thyroid to regulate my mood, weight, body temperature, my digestion, memory, hair growth and blood sugar, to name a few. As you can imagine it has been very frustrating to have it functioning so poorly for the last 12 years.
Over this course of time I have tried so many different ways to take the stress off my thyroid with dreams of one day curing my disease. I became a Raw vegan because I had heard of several people that cured their Hashimoto's with this lifestyle. After 2 years I had lost about 30 lbs. but my weight started to go up again so I decided to add cooked grains and vegetables to my diet hoping the change would shock my system. I usually find that changing things up a bit helps my weight go back down but this time it didn't. I was desperate so I went to an Ayurvedic endocrinologist to get his opinion. He did an expanded blood panel on me and said everything looked fantastic and that I "should" be feeling great. Yeah, I'm glad the tests said that, now if I could just feel that way!
Well, a few months ago I decided to get the opinion of yet another health professional. This time I went to a Naturopath that my sister had her son going to. The only problem is that he was in Kansas. I had an hour consultation with him over the phone and we decided that it was best for me to add fish into my diet. He is a firm believer in healthy fats and he felt that I was not getting enough in my current diet. He also wanted me to avoid all grains and corn. My sister and her family were on a Paleo diet so I knew the basic parameters and it sounded like the diet he wanted me to do was a loose version of Paleo. "No problem", I said. I figured I've been strictly following these other eating plans, I can do this. And it wasn't a problem, still isn't. This is because I follow it loosely! Oh this doesn't mean I'm not completely rigid with what I eat, I am (It's called OCD!). I just don't subscribe to every detail of the Paleo mindset, and here's my top 10 reasons why:
1. I don't think eating excessive amounts of bacon will ever be healthy.
2. I don't think a lot of society has the money to eat the high quality meats that would be a "healthier" option so they just eat the commercially available, grain-fed, junk meat.
3. I don't think being Paleo should be an excuse to eat way too much meat.
4. Just because they call it Paleo doesn't mean it's not just another low-carb diet.
5. This diet/ lifestyle, like others, can be abused and contorted to an unhealthy one.
6. I don't think alcohol should be encouraged on any healthy eating plan.
7. I have a problem with beans not being allowed. (my vegan tendencies:)
8. I don't think cavemen should be an example of healthy living.
9. I like peanut butter too much. (organic, of course)
10. I can't afford Cross Fit so I feel like less of a person....
I know, I know, I just really annoyed some of my readers!! This is not intentional and as I said in most of my reasons, these are just my personal thoughts about the whole Paleo idea. I encourage you to respond to my thoughts. Go for it!
BTW, my thoughts on the whole meat issue do not stem from my being vegan, that was a choice I made NOT for animal rights reasons but for my personal quest to heal my body. Guess what? It didn't work for me. There is not a diet/ lifestyle out there that works for every single person. There never will be.
In August I went to Kansas and met with my Naturopath in person. What a helpful meeting this was! After a biofeedback test as well as several other tests, he concluded that my thyroid was functioning wonderfully. Halleluiah! Wait. If it's functioning fabulously, why am I still feeling crappy? Oh, that's what I found the answer to. Turns out my hypothalamus and pituitary gland are not functioning so fabulously. Here are some of the symptoms: hair loss, weight gain, moodiness, bad digestion, depression, fatigue. Hey, wait a minute. That sounds like the same symptoms as a malfunctioning thyroid! Heavens to Betsy, it is!! Maybe there is a light at the end of this really long tunnel! I was put on a natural medication to combat the hypothalamus/ pituitary gland problem. Here goes nothing!
What is my current food plan? Here it is:
Vegetables (kale, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.)
Fruit (berries, melons)
Smoothies(coconut milk, Sun Warrior Warrior Blend protein powder, fruit)
Goat's milk yogurt
Goat's milk cheese
Nuts & Seeds(limited)
Honey Mints(from Trader Joe's) Yep, it's a food group!
Chocolate(for a special treat)
It sounds limited and at times it can be, but I am so used to it that I don't mind at all.
Okay, go ahead, I want to hear what you have to say : )