Y'all have seen that I have linked to Melissa Byers' blog before. I dig her style.
And I dig her latest post, "How to Win Friends and Influence Paleo".
She speaks the truth. Whenever I tell people why I don't eat this or that, because it gives me acne, or sends me running for the nearest bathroom, or after I eat it my knees hurt for no reason... People don't believe you. Or they think you're crazy. Or both.
People are often out of tune with their own bodies. They may think that their chronic back/knee/wrist/stomach pain is "Normal" and "everyone has it".
I tried using this example once, with my mom. We were talking about birth control pills, and I said that I hadn't had cramps since I was on the pill (aside from the obvious benefit of not popping out an unexpeceted chill'un). She said I shouldn't have cramps anyway, that she never did, and I told her most people experience some pain, and she came back with, "And HOW MANY people do you know that are in Optimum Health?"
Case Closed. Mom Wins Again. (I consider myself extremely lucky that my mother is incredibly intelligent, inquisitive, and quick on her feet and able to cite scientific studies and authors like you wouldn't believe! It makes arguing tough, though, when hard evidence is smacked down in front of you!) :)
Remember those same people from two paragraphs ago? The ones who think their chronic pain is normal? They also probably will turn to Western medicine, pills and injections and god knows what else, to cure their pain, when the answer is probably very simple. If you eat the right things (for you), exercise in the right way (for you), get enough sleep, and have some means of eliminating stress, then you will, very likely, live a long and happy life free from any sort of disease or major pain.
Note I said "eat the right things / exercise the right way (for you)". Let's start with eating. Here is what I eat: grass finished meat, chicken, pork (including bacon) from Skagit River Ranch in Washington, about an hour north of Seattle. If I can't get that, I make an effort to find the, at least, "grass fed" or "organic" animal slices in the supermarket. Organic vegetables from Local Roots CSA or my farmer's market, local stores, etc. Organic fruit from my farmer's market and local grocery stores. Some coconut water (no added sugar, but it does have naturally inherent carbohydrates because it is a perfect isotonic beverage). Herbal tea (lots). Water. Butter. Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices. One cup of coffee with organic whole milk in the morning (~12 oz total). Roasted cacao beans. The occasional bit of salami or hard parmesan chunk (not more than an ounce or so). Nuts of all kinds. A large salad for lunch (courtesy of the CSA). Very little alcohol (a glass a month, or so). Do I go out to eat? Hell Yes, and I try my best to stick to this sort of food. Is this type of lifestyle cheap? Hell No! Notice nowhere in there did I mention I go to Wal-Mart or the Cash & Carry/Giant/Safeway/Vons for my food. I know it's expensive, but I consider it in the realm of "preventive maintenance". If I can live in a manner that I believe is in accordance with my beliefs about environmental preservation, eating local, healthy, becoming an optimum weight, and being pain- and acne-free, then Why in the World wouldn't I do it? Notice that nowhere in this paragraph did I mention grains or processed foods. They don't work for me, plain and simple.
Here is an account by my friend Randy, of why he started eating more vegetables.
I am also committed to the Long & Slow track of weight loss. This means I have cut down my meat consumption, as well as portion sizes in general. This pretty much means I'm hungry all the time, and it is annoying, but I can see some body changes! It's pretty amazing. And it takes forever, because for some reason those last ten pounds are as stubborn as a mule in the rain.
Now for the exercise bit. I have friends that do pilates, friends that do yoga, friends that row or mountain bike or hike with 50 lb packs for days on end, friends that take all the morning classes at the local gym and then some evening yoga, friends that run 12 miles and then stop for two weeks, then pick up one day and run 10 miles again, and friends that are always training for a new triathlon. Lifting heavy things and being forced to do fast, crazy drills at Crossfit works for me, with a small dose of pilates. I also believe in getting the hell outside as often as possible, whether that's in a kayak, sailboat, on skis, snowshoes, hiking boots, or on a bike. If I can't get to Nature, I'll take a walk around my neighborhood and admire the changing plant life.
I encouraged my mom to find a personal trainer in Louisana, and that seriously helped her get in shape for their recent trip to Peru. He focuses on pilates with her. And you know what? She got hooked and is going to stick with him!
To summarize, I think everyone needs to find what is right for them. Most of us are capable of acting like sentient adults, and making our own decisions. No, it's not easy changing habits. Yes, you can do it. Self control and determination are skills that require constant practice, they just don't *appear* one day.
(Someone help me off my soapbox, please!)