Smashing Conventional Wisdom Part 1
****if you are looking for information on my MS symptoms or how I got started on this lifestyle check out the earliest blogs*****
I came to this lifestyle with a lifelong weight problem. It was my Multiple Sclerosis that motivated me to adopt the paleo (or whatever you want to call it. Seriously, you can call it anything) diet but in the background was always my obesity and lack of athletic prowess. I tried to lose weight my whole life. I read tons of articles about food and followed the recommendations. I went to Weight Watchers at least once a year. I started going to the gym in 2001 in my late 20’s. I was at the gym 5 days a week for an hour or more per day. Lots of kickboxing, Body Attack, boot camp. So why was I fat? And why did I get Multiple Sclerosis? It mostly comes down to the fact that I made bad decisions that were informed by conventional wisdom.
In the past, when I considered myself ‘getting healthy’ I was eating egg white omelettes with a side of Kashi Good Friends cereal in 0% fat greek yogurt instead of milk. I avoided meat completely 2 days a week and I refrained from eating more than 2 oz of meat at a time when I did eat it. I used Smart Balance on my cauliflower mashed potatoes with no salt. Instead of eating meat I ate chicken and drank protein shakes from the bacteria encrusted blenders at the gym. I got all those food suggestions from the internet, cable news health clips and Oxygen Magazine. And those recommendations can work for some people. I was an inflamed mess with a pissed off liver and a confused immune system. None of those suggestions worked for me. Almost as bad as the food suggestions were the exercise suggestions. And I say ALMOST as bad because there is some sound advice out there in the globo gym. Just like there are grains of sound investing advice in federal prison.
Once I started reading about ancestral health and implementing some principles Myths started getting busted. The first myth of conventional wisdom was busted when I learned tread mills are bad. Turns out one can achieve and maintain excellent health and never go on a treadmill, or any indoor cardio machine. Finding that out was like a punch in the gut. The hours I have logged on a treadmill are infinite. Worse yet is recalling the anger I have felt waiting in line for a treadmill. I’ll chalk it up as a character building experience. Another myth that was busted at the gym is that jogging is not the best way to lose weight. It’s not even the 6th best exercise to do to lose weight. Here’re other things I learned (these are not myths): using the pull up machine at the globo gym will prevent you from being able to do a real pull up. You can and should squat past your knees. Women can and should lift heavy weight and will not bulk up. Exercise is the least important element in weight loss. Diet and stress management are the keys to weight loss. Exercise can be attempted after diet and stress management are under control, which can take months. Last but not least in this post but certainly there are plenty more myths about exercise being perpetuated every day, is that running shoes are a product of marketing that may hurt your legs and feet.
There could be a whole web site devoted to false conventional food wisdom. The most significant myth was busted when I found out that grains are not nutritious enough to bother eating. That grains are third world nutrition. They will keep you alive but not let you thrive. “Heart healthy whole grains” are part of a government sanctioned food group that makes me fat and sick. How about the food pyramid? Was it created to nurture grain and U.S. agricultural interests? I have no idea but the food pyramid, or plate, whatever it has morphed into, with its high grain recommendation is completely disregarded in our house.
Other food myths include pasteurization being harmless and necessary for fresh local milk. I am not totally dissing pasteurization, the story of its discovery and the impact it has had on society is fascinating. read about it here. But I want raw cow’s milk and I can’t get it because conventional wisdom demonized unpasteurized milk and now there are laws ‘protecting me’ from it. I have discovered that high fiber cereal is bad for you. It was hard to learn that because I was entrenched in the marketing on that one. It hurt to accept the high fiber cereal information. I remember the first time I ever ate a bowl of high fiber cereal. A very memorable day. I had, at one time, considered it the pinnacle of healthful eating. But, because it contains gluten I had no qualms about cutting it out of my diet. There is a great discussion of fiber in Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach.
For the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet, the initial elimination period cuts eggs, especially egg whites. Learning about eggs made me change my perception of eggs. I now think of egg whites as a placenta. One that traps all the commercial chicken feed and chemicals (and rat poop) the hen digested and prevents all the waste from reaching the baby, the yolk. There is also no fat in the white. It is not the best part of the egg.
And who hasn’t heard that vegetable peel, another thing autoimmuners eliminate, has all the nutrients? Turns out it’s the opposite. The peel actually has anti nutrients and is doing its job protecting the flesh from chemicals and repelling predators. Another placenta of sorts.
******************Part II of this blog is posted******************
Part 2 talks about the myth of conventional wisdom I have most recently busted that no one agrees with