February 21, 2013 in Living with Autoimmune Disease
Angie Alt is wife, mother, world traveler & blogger. She’s also a warrior in the autoimmunity war. Angie confronts three autoimmune disorders each day, including Celiac Disease, with powerful management techniques like AIPaleo & the Paleolithic lifestyle. She blogs regularly about the emotional side of tackling autoimmunity, adopting Paleo, and how it impacts her, her family, & their way of life. You can read more by Angela Alt at her blog and connect with her on Facebook.
You know what I am sick of . . . and I’m surprising myself saying this, but seriously, I’m sick of hearing about how Paleo is so easy. It seems like I read story after story all day long about how adopting Paleo was the easiest thing that “Paleolithic John” ever did for himself. As someone trying hard to manage autoimmunity with AIP, I’m not sure I can bear one more blow-by-blow narrative about “Paleolithic Jane” eating awesome buffalo chili and nut-flour based cookies while simultaneously achieving a perfect weight, spending peak sunshine hours outside soaking up rays, AND kicking butt at her job with all her new, incredible energy. Really? It was no big deal?
Paleo takes commitment, planning, and often, to be honest, bucks. Convenient? Not always. Spontaneous? Not really. The truth is that Paleo is not always easy and certainly not effortless, but somewhere along the path you might notice some unexpected benefits. The more annoyed I felt about the “Paleo is super easy, but also transformed my life” stories, the more I tried to focus on the unanticipated rewards that this lifestyle has offered me. The following are four of the reasons I keep working at the Paleo ideal, despite the fact that it is, (shhh, don’t tell Paleolithic John & Jane) hard work.
1) I spend more time with my family. Real time. We don’t rush to the next event while chowing down the fast food we were forced to pick up on the way. Following a Paleo diet means a lot more work, more than just one person can do (and not sleep in the kitchen anyway). We plan meals together, we cook together, we eat together and we clean up together. My daughter and I pick out new Paleo-fied desserts and learn how to make them together. My husband and I high-five each other and joke about being stellar chefs when we get a new roast recipe perfect. Somehow this simple act of changing the kinds of food we eat, has changed how much time we spend together and the value of that time.
2) This seems a little strange, but not having as many choices, has made me less stressed. I don’t go to the grocery store worried about missing the sale on the best salad dressings, I don’t worry about trying to fit in a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts before I get to the office, and while overall Paleo takes a lot of planning, the basics of putting together a meal are straightforward. I need to eat meat, veggies, and fat with a little fruit and I need to drink water. I have plenty of choices to navigate every day, making food choice more streamlined makes me a less stressed lady.
3) So, this follows . . . I appreciate the good food more I have left over when all those extra choices are eliminated. Much more. I made pork roast with just oregano and garlic the other night and it was the most delicious thing I ever put in my mouth. My food is yummier than it used to be and I think it is because I eliminated all the “clutter.” It might also be that I don’t feel awful right after I eat, that’s a biggie too.
4) I have become more thoughtful about my priorities. Doctors have judgment about how I’m eating. Friends, family, etc. think I am taking it way too far with this Paleo stuff. I know it is working though, so I keep on going against the grain (pun intended). I don’t believe that risking my health or my family’s for the sake of going with the flow is a legitimate choice anymore. It’s not always comfortable to stick with it though and that has forced me to truly clarify my priorities. Clear priorities mean a more confident me.
The clear health benefits I’ve experienced by following a Paleo template obviously make it worthwhile, but those benefits were hard won. Adapting to the Paleo life is truly a work in progress. I’m finding that all that effort is showing up in lots of unexpected places and inspiring me to keep putting my health first.