I often joke that for those of us without a religion, we find nutrition. You must know that person. The one who discovers the Paleo, Vegan or gluten-free diet and miraculously, their skin clears, twenty pounds disappear and they spend their new found energy trying to convert family and friends in an effort to save them from their dairy, genetically-modified, glysophate-poisoned selves?
I know. I used to be that person. Nine years ago, a gluten-free diet was foundational to reversing my allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Depression. But coming from a family with a Jewish Dad who says he’s Buddhist, a recovering Catholic Mom who believes we are all one, and a 94-year old Grandma who explained reincarnation when at four-years old I asked what happens after death, I quickly remembered there are many paths.
My clients remind me of this daily. I’ve seen as many different diets succeed as Bible interpretations. One client lost and maintains a 90-pound weight-loss on a vegetarian diet. Another client’s vegan, gluten-free diet enabled her to lose 10 stubborn pounds and stun doctors with a rapid recovery from a hysterectomy. Another with the autoimmune condition type-1 diabetes has the best lifetime control over her blood sugar and insulin following a gluten-free/Paleo-esque diet.
Last month on Facebook, I was asked “Paleo versus Vegan? They both have science to prove their points.” And just like Catholics and Jews appear dramatically different but share the Old Testament and guilt, today I’m showing what Paleo and Vegans have in common (don’t tell them!).
As a theme, both diets are trying to reduce systemic inflammation, a root cause of most modern health issues, including weight gain.
Both are plant-rich, encouraging vegetables and fruits. Both include healthy fats like nuts and seeds and agree that sugar in all its forms is inflammatory. By getting off processed foods and executing these similarities, you’ll feel a remarkable improvement in how you feel and your longevity
Beyond the plate, both diets have strong disciples who have created incredibly supportive communities. Eating healthy in America takes support. In his book Blue Zones, Dan Buettner argues social engagement is one of the determining factors in populations with the longest life spans. This is not to be overlooked when considering why each of these diets works. Belonging matters, deeply.
What Vegans and Paleolites also share is compromised nutritional science. To no fault of their own. Just like when churches controlled information flow back in Old Western Europe, nutrition “science” has an agenda dominated by Big Food, Big Ag and Big Pharma. Good science is being done but it’s not what you are hearing on network news or in fitness magazines.
But even strong nutritional research has inherent flaws. Many are epidemiological in nature, trying to draw causation from correlation. Do people live longer on X diet because of the protein type or because their calories are restricted? Because they have strong community ties? Studies have a hard time explaining the inevitable multi-factors that create strong health.
Further confusing matters:
People lie or forget when logging food diaries, creating loose interpretations of what really happened on the plate.
The female perspective—like hormonal differences, often considered the foundation of weight-loss and wellness—isn’t generally considered.
Research is only at the beginning when it comes to the psychology of our food and that stress affect on metabolism.
When convention claimed the world was flat, there were scientists who thought differently.
Reverend Ed Bacon, a progressive Episcopal priest said on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, “If you don’t examine scripture for yourself and just listen to the preachers, and don’t have your own thought processes going on… then you are going to miss an awful lot of sacred scripture.”
This is akin to learning what foods work best for you rather than relying on the latest fad, one nutrition study or an expert who happens to be selling you their shakes and supplements.
Link to Cravings Program
You’ll know what diet (as in noun!) works for you and you’ll start to immediately restore trust that you like eating healthy. Promise!
To the path of discovery….