8

votes

Should Paleos lighten up?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 29, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Some paleos are really hard on themselves, saying 'no' to cake at parties and completely forgoing alcohol and other 'nasties' in pursuit of a healthy and lengthy life........

So, where so we draw the line? It is better to be vigilant and healthy, though somewhat dour, anxious and boring or be a relaxed kinda person who can take or leave all those 'bad' things and deal with the consequences as they present themselves.....

I knew people who were drinking whisky, smoking and doing other very un-paleo things at 90 years of age, who had managed to keep intact a 'to hell with it' and 'just suck it and see' kind of attitude and they were happy as happy could be and to all intents and purposes, healthy until the day they died.....

.....so, what I am trying to say here is, what part of the equation does attitude have to our health; do we REALLY have to stick tooth and nail to this regime to get the best out of life or is our mental/emotional attitude more important regardless of what passes between our lips and how many miles of concrete we pound per week?

sometimes I feel as if a slice of chocolate cake is manna from heaven and food for the soul.....but I also feel that way about roasted pig's trotters......so perhaps I have a slight need for lightening up, myself......not too much...... ;) ?

2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

(455)

on October 24, 2010
at 06:33 AM

Me too...I'm looking for health first and if a nice physique follows that's gravy (gluten free gravy)=)

2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

(455)

on October 24, 2010
at 06:31 AM

EEK! Now this gives me more to worry 'bout =)

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:47 PM

Also, I'll be the first to admit: I should have added a couple of smileys in my original answer. Sorry 'bout that! :-) :-) :-) (to make up for them.....)

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:45 PM

Seriously, banging heads against the wall is just a "fun" way for me to express....disagreement. I am somewhat sensitive to the "either-or" argument. You either are wonderful or horrible...nothing in between, which is what set off my head-banging fantasies :-) IMO, there are many shades of gray. @pfw, if you think my response is angry, hoo boy, you don't know me! :-) (and that's right....you don't! I prefer to answer with a bit of personality, rather than the very "dour and boring" response that I would of necessity have used otherwise, due to my profession.)

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 30, 2010
at 10:53 AM

Heh, the fact that this comment got voted to the top is good evidence of a need to "lighten up" in the community. A moderate challenge engenders an angry response and a need to bang one's head against a wall? And five people agree? Sounds like six people need to lighten up ;)

Medium avatar

(7073)

on June 30, 2010
at 07:23 AM

this statement was a little teaser - I do not think paleos are dour and boring!!!! I actually know no other paleos in the flesh and do not have a paleo circle, I just wanted to see what people thought that's all! It worries me that people feel the need to bang their heads against walls about it though.....I think it is a case that the paleo diet actually stimulates a healthy lust for life (I am thinking of Mark Sisson here as one example) but do people see this as an obsession, or that we are obsessive?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on June 30, 2010
at 02:36 AM

Lots of hunter gatherers drink & smoke, paleo has nothing to do with cutting those out.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:35 AM

I actually know cheerful and wonderful vegans. I just learned not to bring my ideas on food... but still they were very respectful, just felt they are right. But one is there b/c she believes it's the best for her health, other both health and animal rights. Not all of them are so anxious about food... But I might be an exception ;-)

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 29, 2010
at 11:54 PM

Yeah, i gotta say that "dour, anxious, and boring" doesn't describe 98% of the Paleos I know. I certainly am not any of that. Hmm .... as a matter of fact that DOES describe every single VEGAN i have ever met ...

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 29, 2010
at 11:51 PM

FWIW, i was also a beer dinker (Bud Light grrl, me, with a rare indulgence of Newcastle) and I gave it up on the same day I went Paleo. I chose to only indulge in distilled liquor. Yes, i miss beer sometimes, but, like Melissa, I made a choice and I'm cool with it. You gotta pick your cheat - if you have one - and go on with your life. I think some Paleos really really overthink the whole process.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 29, 2010
at 10:21 PM

I prefer to be vigilant and healthy, though cheerful, calm and interesting. I have no idea how Louisa equates Paleo people with being "somehwat dour, anxious and boring". Must be people she knows in her circle.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 29, 2010
at 09:46 PM

Same OCD, agreed

  • Size75 avatar

    asked by

    (7073)
  • Views
    1.9K
  • Last Activity
    1430D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

11 Answers

best answer

4
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 29, 2010
at 09:29 PM

Given that adherence to diet is the strongest predictor for a diet's success... yeah, people need to make sure that what they're doing is mentally and emotionally sustainable.

I don't know if this means that everyone should just kick back. It depends on what kind of person you are. rht posted this link in another thread somewhat similar to this one, and I think it only barely scratches the surface of the different cognitive biases that exist in individuals which need to be accounted for if one is to be successful.

So for people trying to jam themselves into the role of a dietary monk abstaining from all sin when they'd be better off with an 80/20 approach, they should probably lighten up. For people who thrive with simple, hard rules and who suffer under moderation, maybe they shouldn't, at least in terms of what they eat.

I think generally people need to "lighten up" by not taking everything so damn seriously and not investing so much of one's identity in a way of eating. This may be an important topic to some, and it's certainly important to me, but I'd rather not have it dominate my personality. I'd prefer to just be a normal guy who happens to eat in a funky way rather than be that guy who eats weird and won't shut up about it.

You can also go the "fuck it" route, succumb to survivorship bias and assume you're going to be the 90 year old who can smoke, drink and eat five gallons of ice cream all while doing the tango. Not my bag, but I do have friends who take this attitude and it's their life, so I don't lecture. Then again, their health issues are all minor things which don't provide the same mental kick in the pants as does a bowel disorder, so who knows what might happen if they wake up one day to a serious diagnosis.

9
70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on June 29, 2010
at 09:11 PM

Many people underestimate the impact of stress and worry on health and general quality of life.

Attitude is a huge part of the equation and can either magnify or detract from efforts to eat healthily (and other health-pursuing activities). If we are here in this life we might as well enjoy it. Which does not mean completely eschewing "health & safety" considerations, but there should be a balance. Being a relaxed person, for me personally, is key to a happy healthy life. It so happens that feeling good about what I eat is part of what makes me relaxed, but I don't constantly worry about it because that would have the opposite effect. Different people may have different priorities.

Do what you need in order to be happy/content (within reason) - if that means some cake once in a while, fine. Doing it just to make other people happy is a different matter, though.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 29, 2010
at 09:46 PM

Same OCD, agreed

8
145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

on June 29, 2010
at 09:57 PM

It is better to be vigilant and healthy, though somewhat dour, anxious and boring

WHAT? Just to let you know: being vigilant and healthy does NOT equal "dour, anxious and boring." No, not even "somewhat." Personality characteristics are a result of, well, personality, not diet. Anyone who is "dour, anxious and boring," is still going to be so, even if he's eating gold-plated bacon.

I'm sorry.....can't say much more. Maybe after I go bang my head against the wall for a while, I'll be able to come back, be coherent, and give you a better answer to your question.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 29, 2010
at 10:21 PM

I prefer to be vigilant and healthy, though cheerful, calm and interesting. I have no idea how Louisa equates Paleo people with being "somehwat dour, anxious and boring". Must be people she knows in her circle.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:35 AM

I actually know cheerful and wonderful vegans. I just learned not to bring my ideas on food... but still they were very respectful, just felt they are right. But one is there b/c she believes it's the best for her health, other both health and animal rights. Not all of them are so anxious about food... But I might be an exception ;-)

Medium avatar

(7073)

on June 30, 2010
at 07:23 AM

this statement was a little teaser - I do not think paleos are dour and boring!!!! I actually know no other paleos in the flesh and do not have a paleo circle, I just wanted to see what people thought that's all! It worries me that people feel the need to bang their heads against walls about it though.....I think it is a case that the paleo diet actually stimulates a healthy lust for life (I am thinking of Mark Sisson here as one example) but do people see this as an obsession, or that we are obsessive?

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:47 PM

Also, I'll be the first to admit: I should have added a couple of smileys in my original answer. Sorry 'bout that! :-) :-) :-) (to make up for them.....)

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 29, 2010
at 11:54 PM

Yeah, i gotta say that "dour, anxious, and boring" doesn't describe 98% of the Paleos I know. I certainly am not any of that. Hmm .... as a matter of fact that DOES describe every single VEGAN i have ever met ...

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 30, 2010
at 10:53 AM

Heh, the fact that this comment got voted to the top is good evidence of a need to "lighten up" in the community. A moderate challenge engenders an angry response and a need to bang one's head against a wall? And five people agree? Sounds like six people need to lighten up ;)

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:45 PM

Seriously, banging heads against the wall is just a "fun" way for me to express....disagreement. I am somewhat sensitive to the "either-or" argument. You either are wonderful or horrible...nothing in between, which is what set off my head-banging fantasies :-) IMO, there are many shades of gray. @pfw, if you think my response is angry, hoo boy, you don't know me! :-) (and that's right....you don't! I prefer to answer with a bit of personality, rather than the very "dour and boring" response that I would of necessity have used otherwise, due to my profession.)

3
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on June 30, 2010
at 01:33 AM

I remember when I was in high school not drinking alcohol =boring and not cool... but I guess most of us are beyond that time?

I agree with GHarkness - personality and character is one thing, eating another. You might express your personality traits in the way you eat - and be either very ocd and anxious if that's who you are, or you can be totally down to earth and relaxed... whatever you eat.

I personally was counting all I was eating and reading labels much more than usually in the beginning - when I was learning. Now I don't need to count anymore, unless it's something new and I want to check. I don't know exactly how much fat I eat in relation to carbs... I know what I should eat and I know what's harmful to me. I don't think my personality or character have changed over the past months I've been switching to paleo eating...

I sometimes let myself indulge... but I find I can find it still in the realm of paleo or at least paleo-friendly. For example today I made my own chocolate with a lot of butter, egg yolks and some sweetener. cheating? not so sure. Almost same time I was preparing lovely beef ribs for tomorrow. I enjoy my life, and especially the amounts of energy I got since switching.

....so, what I am trying to say here is, what part of the equation does attitude have to our health; do we REALLY have to stick tooth and nail to this regime to get the best out of life or is our mental/emotional attitude more important regardless of what passes between our lips and how many miles of concrete we pound per week?

I don't think it's either-or. attitude is important.. and good healthy eating. in general we should try and do all we can to limit stress and anxiety... But I still think that the food we eat each day is extremely important. I'm naturally extremely anxious person, and have been battling with it for years. In the meantime I change the way I eat and I see right away positive results. I am still anxious.

I simply haven't noticed much of a problem with my food. I've never felt I've been fighting "tooth and nail" for it, I am not really stressed about it... even though I am about many other things.

Why exactly are you so stressed about eating paleo? Maybe it's when you live with people who are not paleo? I am single so i eat whatever I want... maybe that's what makes it easier for me?

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 29, 2010
at 11:34 PM

I was the paleo gal who still loved beer. I was cool. I loved microbrews and could out drink the best of them. It was only once a week...so what could be the problem?

Then one morning I was lying on the floor with horrible stomach cramps. I said to myself "just not worth it." I haven't had a beer since. I miss beer, but it wasn't worth that physiological reaction.

You have to decide individually what's worth it. Since I identified gluten as a major problem for me, it is worth turning things down- even if grandma made it lovingly. So now I guess I'm one of those sticklers- but not really since I'll sometimes eat non-gluteny unpaleo things, but I'm definitely one of the few paleos I know who doesn't drink beer.

Have a cheat- but if it makes you feel truly awful, maybe it's not worth it. My dad had a hamburger with a bun today and afterwards he told me he felt crappy and he wished he hadn't eaten it. Later I had some dark chocolate- it wasn't too nourishing and I had to make sure to brush afterwards, but I didn't regret it.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 29, 2010
at 11:51 PM

FWIW, i was also a beer dinker (Bud Light grrl, me, with a rare indulgence of Newcastle) and I gave it up on the same day I went Paleo. I chose to only indulge in distilled liquor. Yes, i miss beer sometimes, but, like Melissa, I made a choice and I'm cool with it. You gotta pick your cheat - if you have one - and go on with your life. I think some Paleos really really overthink the whole process.

2
154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a

(1215)

on August 18, 2010
at 12:43 PM

I never used to drink that much anyway, but since I've gone Paleo I've become even more of a light weight and my stomach is a lot more sensitive to 'bad' food.

I had two beers yesterday and they came out again within a couple of hours.

I read somewhere that this may be due to the fact that I'm losing the enzymes that help me process gluten etc.

It seems that once you start down the paleo path your body rejects all the previous poisons. Makes it hard to go back, even if you wanted to.

2
8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 29, 2010
at 09:41 PM

I agree with @archaea and @pfw that it depends on the person.

I, personally, went Lacto-paleo cold turkey at the age of 43. I retained my one cheat: alcohol, and have never looked back. It is all the 'sin' I need.

I have never fallen off the wagon and have never succumbed to ANY temptation in over 2 1/2 years - but then I'm OCD and everything, for me, is black/white, yes/no, on/off.

shrug

i think that if you feel happy and relaxed with "pure" (whatever your version) Paleo - like I do - and have no problem ignoring cake and ice cream even at the holidays then that's cool. You are relaxed enugh.

If you still struggle, desiring that random baked potato, or slice of Aunt Beatrice's cherry pie, well, then go for it. You need to 80/20 it and, yes, you need to relax. It'll all be OK, even all that turkey-deep-fried-in-peanut-oil you eat at Thanksgiving. ;)

1
Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

on July 10, 2010
at 11:17 AM

I like booze. I decided when I went this route that I wouldn't worry about a (gluten-free, minimal sugar, minimal crap) drink a few nights a week, and I haven't and it has been fine. I don't miss beer, which always made me feel lousy anyway.

I agree with the general point that lightening up -- learning to be comfortable in one's own skin, on multiple levels -- is way more important to general health (and arguably way more "paleo") than 24/7 strict adherence to The Way.

But that said, skip the beer. I don't have the studies at hand but I recall all sorts of links being suggested between chronic anxiety and gluten consumption. I do know that the depression that often comes with celiac is typically the anxiety-flavored variety.

1
424563ee2575f0620ea221badabb40d7

(272)

on July 10, 2010
at 03:48 AM

fwiw: http://www.theheart.org/article/1089045.do

Anxiety predicts heart disease years later June 21, 2010

"Two new studies firmly establish anxiety as an independent predictor for subsequent coronary heart disease years down the line..."

2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

(455)

on October 24, 2010
at 06:31 AM

EEK! Now this gives me more to worry 'bout =)

1
Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on July 10, 2010
at 03:33 AM

I agree that worry releases cortisol which is bad and unhealthy in large amounts. That being said a gluten exposure can cause inflammation for weeks or months after wards. I cheat but I stay away from grain. I'll eat Trader Joes dark chocolate without much worry (but I dont have a sweet tooth so it ends up being small amounts) and since Ive gone Paleo I notice that sometimes I crave fat and I'll treat myself to real ice cream, topped with fresh tasty tasty fruit. I am eating Paleo to address health concerns, body image is important to me but secondary. Therefore I think it is wise to be vigilant about what I eat. I just tell people that I have allergies and they leave me alone. It also opens up positive questions about why I eat and Ive gotten some converts :-) (I tell them I am no longer light headed, lethargic, foggy headed, back doesnt hurt as much, sinuses better and to close friends that my mood has brightened...all true).

2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

(455)

on October 24, 2010
at 06:33 AM

Me too...I'm looking for health first and if a nice physique follows that's gravy (gluten free gravy)=)

1
84f2ebde3766d05896406e1b0ad5b079

on July 10, 2010
at 02:56 AM

All I can say is, I'm better off listening to my body than dogma. I have always tolerated dairy and fruit well, cut both out to meet what I perceived to be a purely Paleo approach, and was miserable. And, by the way, gained weight.

I made a conscious decision to listen to what my body could tolerate. So I added my greek yogurt and berries back in. I refuse to consider myself a "failed" Paleo. I am lean, healthy, and strong eating animal meat and fat, moderate dairy, and fruits and veggies. And I'm happier too. Now that I've let go of my rigid approach because with the dairy and fruit back, I truly enjoy my WOE :)

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!