Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting Friendly with Fat

I've deep into learning about the paleo/primal lifestyle and one of the things that's the hardest for me to embrace is eating more fat.  The reasoning behind why we should be eating more healthy fats (such as avocado and coconut oils) makes total sense: eating fat does not translate into one's body making fat (in much the same way eating high cholesterol doesn't mean you'll have high cholesterol).  But after doing Weight Watchers for over a year, it totally makes me nervous.  If I'm building a recipe in the recipe builder and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a recipe, the Points values per serving will indeed go up 3 or even 4 points sometimes.  But one thing I'm realizing is that if I eat more fat at a meal I feel fuller which means I look to eat less, i.e. no real need to snack.  So in that way, it all balances out at the end of the day.  But old habits die hard and psychologically I am still struggling to get friendly with fat.

On another note about paleo living, I have decided to take the transition really slowly.  On my 21st birthday, true to my all-or-nothing personality, I went vegan cold turkey.  I just stopped eating meat, eggs, cheese, milk and milk products--any kind of animal product.  And I think I did myself a huge disservice.  Had the transition been more gradual, I maybe would have noticed how badly I felt after eating particular things.  But I went from a standard American diet to a plant based diet just like that . . .  I didn't give myself a chance to compare the two really and kept feeling that I felt bad because I wasn't doing veganism well enough. It was my ideal and I held on to it for dear life until I just couldn't anymore.  So I kind of realize that paleo is basically the flip side of veganism.  In fact, it's probably the polar opposite.  It could be considered extreme but it really makes sense to me right now.  I guess the difference is that now I have all the wisdom I've gained over these years and a clearer perception.  I'm still on a quest for optimal health.  I haven't given up hope that I can get rid of my allergies.  Maybe improve my vision.  But I realize that there are genetics at play and maybe, even with all the dietary changes I could ever make, I may still struggle with these things.  That's okay.  I am willing to give paleo a good try.  30 day challenge.  Read as much as I can.  Listen to as much as I can (I've been listening to the Everyday Paleo podcast which is amazing--I've learned so much and it's perfect for me since the hosts are all parents . . . they relate everything to children and family which is just what I need).  And abandon ship if I feel worse.  But with just the minor adjustments I have made on the way to eating paleo full-time, I can say that my skin is clearer and I have more energy and alertness.  So I have a feeling that it may be for me (with an occasional cheat for organic popcorn)!

Isn't it interesting how much psychology plays into food, eating, weight loss and health? Especially for women.  


Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah! Our emotional history with food guides us, drags us and sometimes drowns us. I think about it all the time. Such a bold move to try to obtain optimal health through nutrition. So many people don't have the strength to focus on their health. It's crazy to me, but true. Hope this diet helps you feel better!

YogaSpy said...

You mean you're eating truckloads of meat in a gorge-fast style? I don't know about the Paleo fad. I agree that eating unprocessed food is good, but the quantities of meat are exorbitant. The longest-living peoples (in Okinawa, the Mediterranean, etc) do not eat tons of meat.

I do agree that it's important to assess what makes you feel good. I can eat a ton of almonds, for example. And rice suits my system better than wheat pasta (although Triscuit crackers, the low-sodium variety, is a favorite, go figure). I've been vegetarian but alas I do miss the pure protein of fish. (I'm Japanese and attribute such preferences to my fish-and-rice eating ancestors.)

The trouble with Paleo, IMO, is that just because humans ate that way eons ago doesn't mean it was better. Aren't we better off with green tea, mango, ginger, yams, etc, even if caveman didn't eat this stuff?

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