Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, What?

The more I read about nutrition the more confused I get.  It should be basic stuff, right?  Like, don't eat fried foods; don't eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; limit sugar intake; eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein.

I started thinking more about my diet after some friends were talking to me about them being on the Paleo diet.  It's very similar to the Atkins/no carb diet except I think a little more restricting (and confusing).  So, you can have nuts, but not peanuts.  You can have flour, just not wheat flour (i.e. can be almond flour, coconut flour, and others.  You can check out a list here).  No milk or dairy products (i.e. cheese.  I <3 cheese so much and this would mean no more pizza which should be another food group for me).  I started doing some searching around and found a documentary called "The Perfect Human Diet".  If you're part of Amazon Prime you can watch the documentary for free on instant streaming.  It doesn't explicitly say it's advocating for Paleo, but it (strongly) hints at it.  

Here are some of the points that I took away:

  • Stay away from milk, butter, bread, potatoes, beer, and sugar
  • One of the speakers, Lane Sebring, said to also stay away from grains and beans
  • Societies that ate more proteins and less carbs (grains), were healthier, thinner, and had larger bone structures.  When cavemen started eating meat, this is when intelligence started to increase and why things began to rapidly change as people were more quickly learning how to hunt, provide shelter, and basically learn faster and better how to survive as well as create basic comforts and conveniences for themselves. 
  • Lane Sebring also mentioned multiple times that grains prevent our bodies from absorbing nutrients.  So, even though the two slices of whole grain bread we're eating as a sandwich with meat and veggies has a bunch of heart healthy vitamins and minerals, we are unable to absorb them because they are being held in the gut by the grains.  Interesting, huh?  Anyone have any thoughts on this?  I need to do more research on this.  I think this is the foundation for claiming celiac disease or a gluten allergy and the push for gluten free foods. 
  • Another statement by Lane was that after the age of 2 people are not meant to drink milk, especially from another animal.  This pushed me to watch "Milk?"  Yes, you guessed it.  All about the pros and cons of milk.  People who are for milk are basically sellers.  When I was talking to Daniel about this, he said "but people have been drinking milk for thousands of years".  So, I looked it up and people have been drinking milk for thousands of years.  But, it turns out that it is from a genetic disorder that allows people to drink milk.  So, back when food was scarce, people who could drink (and tolerate) milk were more likely to survive.  Thus, prompting the reproduction of more people that were able to tolerate milk. 
  • Some vegetarians claim that people are not meant to eat meat because our bodies were not made to take in and digest it.  But, one of the researchers in the film rebutted pretty convincingly by saying that (summarized) "if people were meant to eat plants, we would have multiple stomachs so that we could pass the plant foods through multiple times and we would possibly regurgitate our food as well in order to absorb all the nutrients from the plants."  I had to look into this because I know of a few animals that only have one stomach.  Ehow explains it pretty well:
    Dietary adaptations allow animals to survive on available resources, exploiting plant or animal-based food sources. Herbivores, or plant-eating animals, have evolved to extract a large amount of nutrients from relatively poor foods, such as grass. Most grass-eating animals possess a four-chambered stomach that allows food to pass slowly through the digestive tract, prolonging the extraction of nutrients. However, certain species use a single stomach, offsetting the low nutrient content of their feed by consuming larger quantities.

    Read more:
So, not sure if you're as confused as me.  And, to throw another factor into the mix - meat from large farm, mass production companies.  All the stuff you see online and all the stuff you don't see but know happens makes me want to give up all meat.  I'm slowly trying to remove all meat from my diet except fish.  Daniel and I have been doing really well for about two months with sticking to meatless Mondays.  I am on the hunt for stores that sell ethically raised and killed chicken and beef.  I honestly don't know if there is an ethical way to raise and kill another animal, especially when it's for the masses. 

Along with this minor change in eating less meat, Daniel and I are going to attempt this no dairy, grains, and sugar thing.  The no grains to me is basically gluten free so I have been looking for gluten free stuff.  Came across this blog that was very helpful -  Especially for athletes. 

Please send me comments and let me know your thoughts, insights, and experiences on all this?     


  1. To add to your confusion, you should look at the Blue Zone book or The China Study - all about how people who eat primarily plant based diets live the longest. Brendan Brazier's books are a great resource for being an endurance athlete on a plant based diet as well. There's a ton of information out there on what's "natural", etc, but I think at the end of the day you have to find a diet that works for you both ethically and physically. We are all individuals, so while something works best for someone else, it may not be right for you.

    1. Thanks, Mindy! I will take a look at the other resources you listed. Hopefully I'll find what works best for me sooner than later.