It’s a statement that resounds with me constantly and one I’ve written about before. Mark Sisson first uttered these words, in my presence, at PaleoFX in Austin, TX two years ago. He also mentioned level of choice in the world of clean eating and fitness. Extremes will result in extremes and moderation in, well, moderate results.
When I first began to cut grain and sugar, I was an extremist. I felt like I might die (DIE!) if I ate a grain of rice or a speck of sugar in my coffee, NO potatoes, not even a yam. That was 3 years ago. Over time, and through lifestyle changes on many fronts, I’ve reached specific health and fitness goals and then backed off, introduced some starch back into my diet and backed off from them, tried new things in moderation and decided whether or not it was a short or long-term addition. No matter what the choice, though, each were conscious and that is what I am most proud of. I have learned so much about food and our bodies from my journey with “Paleo” and clean eating. I have researched for myself, compared notes, kept food journals and understand how my body reacts to certain things more so than others.
In my old age (kidding, I fully intend to live to 100. I’m barely a third of the way through!) I’m able to recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I thoughtfully work towards making, what I find to be a weakness, more of a strength. More often though, I just try to make it less of a reason I don’t achieve the results I desire. Like being a food nazi. Strong word, but I have a feeling that’s how people think I live my life and it’s not.
Just recently, I went to dinner with a few friends. The dinner special was Tilapia stuffed with crab. YUM! When it came, there was a small side of rice and a cucumber salad. Everyone waited to see if I would eat the rice. OF COURSE I ate the rice. I was a little surprised by everyone’s anticipation of my decision. The meal was delicious and I devoured every single grain of it. I very rarely eat out but when I do, I try to choose the best options. I don’t ask the waiter a thousand questions about ingredients or sauces because I do not have a specific food allergy or medical reason to do so. I would rather allow room for others, should they need to inquire, without making it weird. I feel that paranoid about a restaurant’s menu, then I’d rather choose another restaurant. That’s not weird at all, just smart.
Although I still do not condone replacing all your junk food with gluten-free junk just because it’s ‘gluten free’, I have loosened my thought process for my own children and will buy them gluten and gmo free cereals as an easy morning breakfast. Also, just because they enjoy a bowl of cereal every now and again. Processed food is still processed, after all. Fresh is always better. But again, I’m not trying to be weird or make my kids feel weird, so they also enjoy a gluten, gmo and wheat free waffle or pancake from time to time. Still seem weird to you? Baby steps. Besides, they’re just called waffles in our house. My girls understand they are a better choice of waffles because of the brands we choose to spend our money on.
So, while my stomach is not as flat as it was 2 years ago and my thighs have more fat then they did last summer, I am still healthy and happy with my decisions. I am satisfied with my eating lifestyle at this moment and make conscious decisions to keep my body in a good enough state, while allowing room for ease due to a more hectic lifestyle then I was leading in the past. I’ve dropped from extreme to moderate…with leanings towards extreme. Give me some room here, folks.
I still consider myself 80% Paleo but would rather promote clean eating to others and slowing ease them into a grain-free lifestyle. I realize not everyone is a born extremist and many would rather begin making one better choice at a time. Robb Wolf recently posted the 7 Shades of Paleo, which reminded me that I’m still on track even though I eat sweet potatoes and don’t interrogate the waiter about ingredients. I’m still making great decisions, despite my lack of extremes. Thank you Mark and thank you Robb, you had me at hello.
Disclaimer: I’ve had this post written for a while but was hesitant to post it due to the level of frivolity found within. I mean I AM a little obsessed with the guy, at least in a dude-changed-my-way-of-thinking-calls-for-a-little-love kind of way. He’s smart and humble and interested in one thing: education. Back to my point; here is the post he published tonight, why he rocks and the reason I relate to him so strongly:
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m up to, what I’m trying to accomplish. And I think it boils down to this: I want people to know they have another option. You don’t need sulfonyurea drugs to “treat” your diabetes. You don’t need to HAVE diabetes! Not many people are aware of this. I am, and I feel morally obligated to get that message out to as many people as I possibly can. Nicki’s mom died from complications surrounding her Rheumatoid arthritis. THREE MONTHS before Nicki met me. How many testimonials do we have on the blog from people putting RA into remission? A dozen? I know in the blogoshpere there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples…and it’s just not happening fast enough because wonderful, good people will die needlessly because I’ve failed to get this idea “out there” faster.”
And here is what I originally wrote about Robb and my experience in Austin, but had yet to publish – why the hell not?
A number of years ago, when I was first introduced to the concept of paleo eating, a friend told me to read RobbWolf.com. That address was the starting point from which I began a journey focused on something that had everything to do with the quality of life I was interested in obtaining, and more importantly, sharing that info with others.
Long story short: Robb changed my life by being a seemingly laid back guy with just enough sciency know-how to get his point across in a firm and direct fashion. (DIG.) The message made sense and he makes connections with folks, not because he necessarily likes you, but he cares about an individual’s quality of life and if he truly thinks you’re listening he’ll teach you things that will help you. After listening to his podcasts and reading his work, I was delighted to see him in action on a Discovery Channel’s Curiousity mini-series called ‘I, Caveman‘ where they referred to him as a “writer” and not a “bio chemist”. (Okay, you got me, I was more than delighted, I was HYPE!) Robb was super casual, helpful and he killed an elk with an atlatl. I mean, seriously. My harmless obsession has only remained strong as Robb continues to delivery constant, varied and life-saving information. I’m such a geek, in fact, my husband got me a personalized-signed copy of his book last Christmas. Best gift ever.
After witnessing the Ancestral Health Symposium from a far last fall, I decided if there were another gathering of Paleo-minds I was going to be there. Much to my delight, PaleoFX was created and I immediately tweeted Robb, asking if he’d be presenting. His answer: YES. I purchased my ticket, booked my flight and tried to contain my nutrition-geekery for the next 3 months until I was on the plane to Austin.
Imagine my excitement when I saw him in person at the keynote event. (I’m giddy just thinking about it.) He felt very familiar, just standing there in front of me. So, two vodka and limes later, I was ready to creep on him and ask for a photo. My Austin roommate was kind enough to snap a pic with my phone (THANKS CORI!).
I then insisted on a photo of him and one of our new ‘Paleo’ friends, Ben LaMonte of Inside the Box Athletics. He looks like Robb, right? Come on, maybe a brother or cousin? At least when they weren’t standing next to each other, Ben resembled Robb… and in a room where Robb was to be appearing… can you imagine the whispers?
You see what they’re doing there? What a nice guy! Confident and informed and willing to save your life. Have I mentioned he’s expecting his first child? I can’t wait to see how this plays out. Good luck to he and his wife. His daughter or son is in good hands.
Of course there were dozens of other intriguing and informed presenters at this event. I wasn’t there just to see Robb Wolf. I definitely would have stalked him more if that were the case. Glad I got it out of my system on the first night.