As I continue to dig, scratch, and claw my way through Paleo diet information and relevant research, I am struck by HOW far from the proverbial “missed boat” that I have been. I would condemn myself for this, as is my natural inclination(sadly), but it has dawned on me, that how I missed this boat is exactly what makes this whole paradigm and it’s implications so huge!
When I was… in college, and graduate school, and my internship, and at my RD jobs, and as a stay at home mom doing continuing education… I never even had an inkling that problems with grains, legumes, and dairy were anything more than “allergies” had by certain people with the misfortune. I know what these allergies mean, I know how to educate on them, I can create an individualized diet plan for the poor soul with the diagnosis, but what I never knew was that this might affect far more people than a few unlucky souls.
And that in fact, why on earth are we eating all that stuff in the first place? It may be doing more damage than good, and really when it comes right down to it…we don’t actually NEED grains to be healthy. Yup, there, I said it. Of course, dietitians have been saying for ages that fruits and vegetables are KEY, but as compliance would wane, we would say…well that’s okay, f and v’s are your best choice, but you can get fiber and many good nutrients in FORTIFIED grains and cereals. And as our population continued to get busier and richer, our food technologists got more and more creative with how to let us have it all… Vitamins, minerals, fiber, flavor, zero calories…you name it, they created it for the consumer. Now we get to eat what we want, it has the medical profession stamp of approval, and we can skip the veggies all together…right?
Clearly, I am being a touch facetious, but not entirely. Everyone always knew that the fruits and vegetables actually were/are very important, but somehow it has been made okay and easy to skip eating them a lot of the time. Which brings us to the crux of the issue. Carbohydrates from grains/legumes, dairy, and processed foods are not only delicious, but they have been made into the ultimate convenience foods! And that will be a tough nut to crack! And as you can see there is good reason why I, and many others, “missed the boat”.
As I play around with how a Paleo diet would work in my house with my family with our busy lives and picky eater children(in order to know how to teach it to others and find sticking points), it is all the little logistics and conveniences that make it feel overwhelming. And as a dietitian, the implications for our profession are huge and also overwhelming. Why have we not studied this more, or at all? And how do we continue to let health care professionals know that this is an issue which needs to be further researched, investigated, and looked at with fresh eyes. How do we question paradigms that are so “ingrained”. How do we make eating a Paleo diet just as convenient?
So, why do I care? I am not fighting a battle for my personal health here. But I have always known that there is a lot of power in food. And I have also always been a firm believer in looking further, deeper, and wider when there are no medical “answers” to afflictions.
If we keep doing the same thing, then we will keep getting the same results. There are so many afflictions that don’t have answers, and the only way to come up with solutions is to try something new and just see. Cancer, MS, huge spectrum of autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, digestive diseases, severe allergies…the list goes on. It is all so scary, but the information that I continue to come across that points the finger at gluten specifically, but others as well, I find to be incredibly empowering, exciting, and most importantly, HOPE inspiring. If this is a possible solution, I want to learn more!
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