By writing about such things as eating gluten-free or Paleo, in no way am I trying to endorse this lifestyle on anybody. I’m simply writing about my personal experiences and what I have learned from them. There are many testimonies to Paleo eating in The Paleo Solution or on the author’s website. However, I thought it would be interesting to have my dad share in his own words his experience eating Paleo.
As a guest blogger I have to admit this is my first time at blogging, but it is far from my first time at just calling it like I see it, as I explain what makes sense to me. I have nothing to gain whether you believe a word I say or not. I guess that’s why it is a blog – you take whatever you want to from the words written and do what you want with them– if anything.
I first heard about this “Paleo” idea from who else – my Mom! My father has developed diabetes in his later years and he had an old friend drop by for a visit, who recommended that he check out this book called The Paleo Solution. His friend thought this might be a possible way for him to better control the sugar spikes he knew darn well that my Dad was getting since he loved his bread and potatoes so much. My Mom had the wisdom to read the book and within only a few weeks she found the huge positive correlation between his sugar levels and reducing the kinds of starches and sugars that had been the mainstay of their lifelong diets.
Interestingly enough, in very short order I had an independent reference from a cardiac surgeon that also related to what we could or could not be putting into our mouths. I had recently undergone heart bypass surgery after a totally unexpected and unexplained heart attack. It truly was out of the blue and I was extremely lucky to have survived it. What was so perplexing was the absolute lack of any clear explanation given my relative lack of risk factors compared to almost every other patient I saw. I was fit, worked out regularly enough, had no visible symptoms, cholesterol levels and BMI within normal targets, no record of family heart history before age 55, ate relatively healthy (it’s all relative I guess) with little fast food and few restaurant meals, and so on.
My cardiac surgeon has done at least a few thousand heart bypass operations and he saved my life with this operation so I got up the nerve to ask him if there was anything I could possibly do, anything at all that might help me stay healthy going forward. Given his extensive education and tremendous operating experiences saving so many patients, I was hanging on to his every word. The reality was I was just hoping that my feeble brain would have the mental capacity to understand even an ounce or two of the latest and greatest breakthrough medical wisdom that he might share. I was utterly amazed at his response. He said “ Well you seem like the type that would do what I say (different than most others) so my advice is to just read this book called In Defense of Food”. That was it. Out of the plethora of medical wisdom he could bestow upon me he boiled it down to me reading a single book. He said it was a bit of a tough read but to stick it out and then decide what I might do differently as a result.
For those that have not read it, the mini moral of the book is to simply eat only real food (that your grandmother would recognize as real food) and that simple act alone will greatly increase your odds of maximizing your time on the planet. Reading that book plus The Paleo Solution, The Wheat Belly, and a variety of other research articles led me down the path of more carefully analyzing and experimenting with exactly what we are shoving into our mouths.
It’s not so much what I eat now versus what I ate before my heart attack, because I was always a huge raw veggie, low fat, low sodium, lean meat kind of guy thanks to my wise and wonderful wife. What is different is what I don’t eat at all or at least what I eat far less of and far less often. I had a lot of difficulty giving up breads especially given that I love fresh bread and I had been making my own for some time. I have since learned how to make grain free bread and am learning more types all of the time, although I have nowhere near the same urges to make or eat bread that I used to have. In the past it did seem that no matter how much bread I ate I was always still hungry and wanted more. I am hardly 100% compliant to a total Paleo diet but I can say with great certainty that the closer I stick to it the better my health is, the better I feel and the more energy I have.
It’s really wild thinking about some of the impacts of eating Paleo that I didn’t predict. For example the body aches and pains and slow moving joints first thing in the morning are much improved. My sleep is definitely better and the famous “muffin top” around the waist is all but gone. I don’t have the same issues feeling absolutely starved and then immediately after eating totally stuffed. Eating fresh fruit plus either meat or eggs for breakfast almost every day is very satisfying and I no longer have that mid-morning energy crash that I used to have. My blood cholesterol levels are better than ever, with what I eat as the only change made. Even my massage therapist says that my body is totally different as in far better in muscle, tone and tissue structure. She has only two patients that eat mostly Paleo and she continues to be amazed at the changes in our bodies compared to the fatty masses that she usually has to deal with – and neither of us were overweight at all before. Best of all, I feel that I’m doing what I can for my body without making any great sacrifice or feeling that I’m on some special or crazy diet. I’m simply choosing to eat far more of the good things – called real food, and am eating far less of anything else.
I plan to stay around this planet for a long, long time yet and I’m betting my life that this is the right path for me. All of the “Paleo” logic so carefully laid out in all of the references is helpful and that appeals to my logical side, but in the end, I’m just doing what makes sense to me – and to the brilliant cardiac surgeon that saved my life. Something for you to think about anyway, take what you want from one just happy to be here.
Thanks for sharing Daddy! Love you!