A special welcome to all of Kris’ readers who have joined us from my post on CrazySexyLife last month. And a tremendous thank you for those who consistently read.
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 soy eating selves?
I know. I was that person. Six 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.” Each week this month, I’ll be blogging about these differences and give you points to consider for your own body. (My Truce with Food program is my sermon on the mount for determining what foods work for your unique body). But 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!).
For starters, I’m assuming we are discussing the ideal version of Paleo and Vegan diets. No factory soy dogs or factory farmed meat! No excess of cocoa almond flour brownies or Tofutti. As a theme, both diets are trying to reduce systemic inflammation, a root cause of most modern health issues, including weight-loss. 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 incredible supportive communities. Last month, I talked about the power of relationships in weight-loss and how the Swedes remind us “only dead fish go with the flow.” 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. Human connection is needed as much as food.
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? These studies don’t explain this. 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. There’s a very real effect when it comes to the psychology of our food beliefs and nutritional science is still playing catch-up.
When convention claimed the world was flat, there were scientists who thought differently. I am betting with this different thought process, they experienced other benefits and freedoms from conforming to an authority who chose what was fact. 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.”
By being a scientist, a philosopher, and most importantly, curious about your bodies nutritional needs, you’ll connect to the sacred. The science and sacred harmonize when they co-exist. The sacred in nutrition is becoming your own Buddha (without the belly). When this internal mastery occurs, the need to control your anxiety, stress or life with food dissolves. Green smoothies get blended. Home cooked meals get made. You feel more connected. What is more healthy than that?
The biggest challenge for people becoming their own expert is they feel so off-balance or stuck. I’ve found after years of doing this work, most people who are trying to eat well and lose weight think the eating healthy, but aren’t. It’s why I created my Truce with Food program. By understanding how your body works on a biological and emotional level, the mostly bad nutritional information out in the collective conscious becomes apparent. Clarity arises. Faith is replaced with an inner knowing. You become your own authority.
In this newsletter, I discussed the similarities between the Paleo and Vegan diets. In my next blog, I’ll be discussing protein’s role, one of the great dividers in the Paleo versus Vegan debate. This is important to anyone wanting to lose weight and get well. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you tried either the Paleo or Vegan diets? What did you find worked best for you? What confuses you about proteins?
If you liked this newsletter, I’d love if you would pass it along to those who would be interested.
Until next week, be well.
Thursday, September 6: NBC 10! The Number One Fall Food Trend
Wednesday, September 12: Truce with Food first steps: Free Call
Tuesday, September 18: Pure Fare: 3 Health Foods Sabotaging Your Waistline
Monday, October 1: Truce with Food Meet and Greet Call
Tuesday, October 2: Truce with Food Begins!