Why Do I Live the Paleo Lifestyle?
I remember when I did my first round of the Whole30 Program in July, I had a TON of people ask me why in the world I would "put myself through that".
When I say a TON of people, I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. Family, Friends, CoWorkers, Waitresses in Reastaraunts. . . . . No one could understand my motivation.
I tried explaining myself, but most people just shook their heads and said "Well you're crazy, but good luck!" (By the way - when I get called "crazy" from time to time - I take it as a compliment. . . it means I'm different - and I want to be different! Who wants to a carbon copy of everyone else?!?)
At the time, I had a ton of reasons for wanting to "Put myself through it" ranging from health issues to vanity reasons. After about two months of strict Whole30 Compliance, I sat myself back down and re-evaluated the reasons that I have chosen this way of eating. I am one of those people that won't do something unless I understand WHY it is that I'm doing it. In other words, I have to understand the Why? behind the How? before I can fully commit to a decision.
So what are my personal reasons for choosing to stay Paleo?
#1: Prevention of Autoimmune Disease
- Autoimmune disease runs rampid in my family. It would be easier to list the autoimmune diseases that DON'T run in my family than to try to list the ones that DO. But a short list of the biggies include: Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Autonomic Neuropathy, Ulcerative Colitis, and Thyroid Disease. Additionally, adult onset Diabetes and Osteoporosis are also prevalent in my immediate family.
- I love my family dearly and I hate to see them suffer with the pain that these diseases cause. I would do anything that I could to make it go away for them. Unfortunately, I don't have the power to take their diseases away, but I am going to do everything in my power to prevent the onset of these diseases in my future.
- The elimination of Grains, Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nightshades, Legumes, and Artificial Sweetners has been linked to the remission of many auto-immune diseases, and there are a ton of studies out there that suggest that adhering to a diet free of these inflammatory foods can prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases in people that are pre-disposed to them. THIS is the BIGGEST reason that I have chosen to follow the Paleo Diet for life! My health and quality of life is worth a little "inconvenience" when it comes to finding and preparing approved foods!
- Here's a few links to interesting articles and testimonials regarding The Paleo Diet and AutoImmune Disorders: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/autoimmune.html
http://paleozonenutrition.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/hashimotos-auto-immune-thyroid-disease-avoid-gluten-like-the-plague/ (Thyroid Disease)
http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/9-simple-steps (Addresses Inflammation associated w/ Autoimmune Disease)
- My personal experience has shown me that I feel like a million bucks when I adhere to a strict Paleo Diet. I have all kind of digestive problems that all but dissapear when I'm "strict". My mood in general is better, I have more energy, I sleep better. . .I just plain feel better. MUCH better. So much so that I can't imagine ever going back to feeling like I did before!
- I honestly didn't think that I was "sick" or that I didn't feel good before. But in comparison to how I feel now, I realize that I was tired, sluggish, and drained most of the time. When you've felt like this for a really, really long time, it just becomes "normal" to you, and you forget what really and truly feeling GOOD feels like!
- Yep - you heard that right - I'm admitting it. I'm Vain. I look and peform SO MUCH better when my diet is dialed in. . . . and I like that! And you know what? I like it when people notice it too! I love the feeling of squeezing into a pair of jeans that I couldn't get my big toe into 3 months ago. And I don't ever want to experience the feeling of having those jeans get too tight again! I like going to the beach and not worrying about taking off my shorts and exposing my cellulite! I love setting PR's in the gym and watching my strength increase. I love watching the little "turkey neck" that I had under my chin dissapear (no more gobble gobble!!), and watching my abs show up a little more each week. Lastly, I love that for the first time since I was a teenager, I'm 95% acne free.
So if you're considering trying a round of the Whole30, or you're finishing it up and trying to decide if you're going to make this new way of eating a way of life - do yourself a favor and do a little self-reflection. Determine what YOUR reasons are for wanting to eat this way - write them down - and pull them out to remind yourself from time to time.