I truly do not set out to “hate on” the Paleo diet and what I call “Dietary Fads”. The thing that gets to me however is the variety of mistakes people continue to make on diets and the misconceptions formed by them. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of Paleo and Primal living is genius when implemented correctly, the same goes for raw diets, vegan and vegetarian diets. They all started off to help people heal of their ailments.
So what went wrong with these diets you may ask? And if they’re so great why is there a new spin on nutrition every few months? I’ll help you answer these questions which will help you tweak your diet to achieve the results these diets and others promise.
Two Major Points
- Using diet to cover up other incomplete issues– YOUR DIET WILL NOT FIX YOUR LIFE. I know you don’t want to hear this but before you do anything else seriously ask yourself this question…”What am I putting off, covering up, or avoiding doing/fixing with the distraction that is this diet?” I see with so many of my clients and some of it’s so obvious i don’t even have to speak to people to see what their problem really is. If you are not familiar with holistic nutrition the few things you have to know is this…If you’re eating a perfect diet but your sleeping patterns are horrible, you’ll never get truly healthy. Good sleeping patterns look something like getting to bed by 10 pm and waking naturally without an alarm. Additionally, if you hate your boyfriend/girlfriend but workout 7 days a week you’ll never get healthy. If your living situation is unhealthy you will not get healthy. You would have to have the consciousness of Buddha to get through most of the toxic situations I see people in. If you have financial debt, can’t manage your resources, or have a vision/purpose for life, you will never reach the level of fulfillment that is required for serious healing. I know it sounds crazy but that tooth decay, diabetes, gut inflammation, food allergy isn’t just from the food you eat. Let’s say you have gotten a good grasp on your other areas of life (spirituality, relationships, career/passions, hobbies, recreation, etc) and the last thing you can’t seem to dial in on is your nutrition game then this may still apply to you. In the realm of health, if you have adrenal problems from past stress you are going to have to nourish your adrenals properly with more than just nutrition, sleep and fun are crucial here! The solution: Ask yourself that question, find out what could be preventing you from fully healing when diet isn’t working, then take those actions first. If you have a nail in your tire, you can put all the jet-fuel and turbo chargers you want into your engine but you will always be slowed down by the nail.
- The “don’t eat this” philosophy- This is probably one of the biggest mistakes diets make on the nutrition side of things. I can already here people freaking out. What about gluten and dairy?!?! It’s the devil! The truth is it’s not the devil. The truth is if you had the rest of your life in order you would be less inclined to consume foods that are the devil such as processed foods and other difficult to digest foods. Our psychology works in a very weird way. When were told something is evil we become inclined to dance with it. We have a human need for variety. And the real problem is most people have not reached a level of fulfillment where they get their fix of variety from giving back to the world, helping change it for the better, truly caring for others or nature, building communities/companies based on moral values and so on. So instead people get their variety from drugs, sex, relationships, jobs, and more than anything…food. People have become habitually addicted to the variety of food because of the lack of it in their lives else where. I know this not only from my own experience but what I see in others when I sit down with them. Think about it…when you’re so wrapped up in something you love, you forget to eat. When you were a kid playing and imaging this creative life, your needs were met. You forgot to eat. As we grow older we forget this about life. We forget we can have our needs met in more creative ways that serve the greater good. People become addicted to diets because they create variety, something new in their lives, not to mention meaning. So when these diets add a big “DO NOT EAT” list, we embark on a journey where every day we see if we can stick to the diet and avoid the variety. However, when we are not fulfilled else where we only fail on the diet by the tantalizing “forbidden foods”. So do these forbidden foods serve a purpose? Yes of course. There is the reality that people have messed up mucosal lining in their intestines and in short, ruined parts of their physical bodies and avoiding certain foods will help with physical healing. But if you’ve tried to diet I know you’ve failed. Failed meaning you have eaten the forbidden foods and have probably binged or felt bad about it. As long as this is ingrained into our minds we will forever struggle. The solution: complete step one of this blog, find the voids in your life and seek ways to fulfill them, stop putting it off. If you can find a way to contribute to the world and grow as a human from something other than your diet you will be less tempted to reach for variety or stress from the lack of variety in your new diet. Yes, too many nuts and seeds will wreck your gut, as will wheat, grains and pasteurized dairy. But you’re better off allowing some variety in your diet, letting go of that pressure because when it’s on you are going to be way more likely to binge on nuts/seeds and possibly worse. I’ve noticed in myself and every client they have much more success and faster healing actually consuming a forbidden food here or there opposed to when I try to put people on strict diets. The odd thing is when you adapt this mind-set around the diet you become much more inclined to find joy in healthier foods, now that you know you can have what you want. This is pretty much a deeper elaboration on the psychology behind wanting what you can’t have. It has deep truth to it.
As long as these two main psychologies of diet are not addressed there is always going to be a more refined and restricted diet on the market. Because people’s problem is never the food, but their mindsets that get them into trouble. From there, food is medicine and will; like money, only magnify the person you are. A sad person will eat foods who make them sadder and sicker. A happy person will eat foods that make them happier and healthier.