Monday, August 5, 2013

A Grain-Free Adventure

So, if you guys spend any time on this blog at all, you know that sometimes I cook stuff, and I get in these food-adventure modes.  You might also know that I've been struggling with my weight and some related dietary problems for a long time.  So, with that said, I'd just like to take a second to express my frustration about food and health. 

One thing you run into quickly as a pet owner is that veterinarians know jack-all about nutrition.  Nutrition takes up maybe one day of class in vet school, and that day is usually sponsored by a big-corporate pet food maker (like Science Diet), so the majority of veterinarians will lead you down the wrong path.  The same is, I suspect, true of most human doctors: They know jack-all about nutrition and the role it actually plays in health. 

Now, this is a problem for me because it opens up a big ol' doorway for "woo woo" practices and pseudoscience to step in, and those grate my nerves like none other (you might've noticed, I'm the blogger who runs "critical thinking thursdays"?)  So on the one and, you have doctors who are pretty much refusing to comment about diet at all...and on the other hand you have woo-woos who are trying to claim that diet cures everything from cancer to eczema and all you need to do is *insert stupidly complicated system here*.  It's a veritable landmine of conflicting advice and bad science. 

And yet, I feel compelled to do something for my body.  Two of my grandparents died of colon cancer (the others died of breast cancer and heart disease, respectively), and several of my relatives have autoimmune disorders.  I myself have had my gallbladder removed and have had IBS since I was at least 10 years old -- possibly earlier -- and, as mentioned, weight problems that have been haunting me all my life (or anyway, since I was about 10...which, come to think of it, seems kind of significant). 

Anyway.  This has lead me to do a bunch of research and read a bunch of things.  I've read a lot of Michael Pollan books, and he and Jamie Oliver have gotten me pretty well sold on sustainable locavorism.  Long-term, a "whole foods" diet is exactly what I'm aiming for. 

But I kind of feel like, in the short-term, I need something a bit more dramatic.  Because the thing is, a "whole foods" diet is just close enough to what I've always eaten that I find it very easy to cheat with certain simple substitutions...and pretty soon, I'm not eating whole foods at all.  So from that standpoint, I think it makes more sense to take everything away and add it back a little at a time. 

It might also help with my IBS triggers and repairing my metabolism.  It can't hurt, right? 

So the question becomes: What kind of short-term transition diet should I go onto? 

One thing has struck me as significant about both the paleo and vegan diets (both being quite popular, at least among the circles I frequent): At their core, they're actually very much the same.  At the end of the day, the core tenet of both diets (and the reason I suspect both are successful for some people) is pretty simple: Eat more veggies and nuts/seeds.  (Or, as Michael Pollan puts it, "Eat real food, mostly vegetables.  Not too much.)

Now that's advice I can get behind.  Eat more vegetables. 

The problem is, I'm not really sure how to eat more vegetables. 

And so I had a brilliant idea.  What if I substituted more vegetables in the place of grains in my diet?  I'm making this choice not because I think grains are evil (don't get me started), but because starch is a fall-back food that I rely on like a crutch.  Also because I think my body could use a long "palate cleanser" between its current habits and 100% whole grains (which is my end-goal).  And also because, what the hell, some research suggests that starches might make IBS symptoms worse, so maybe if I cut them all out and re-introduce them one by one I can tell which grains my system actually agrees with. 

And, y'know, vegetables have fewer calories than starches.  It seems pretty inevitable that if I replaced all of my grains with veggies, I'd pretty much have to lose weight (unless I was dousing them in butter-cheese sauce and bacon or something...which, now that I mention it, sounds pretty amazing). 

So anyway, that's the plan: I'm going to try a short-term (a month? a couple of months? idefk) grain-free diet and focus my attention on learning how to eat a whole lot more veggies.  In theory, by the time I'm done, I can transition onto whole grains from time to time but still eating a whole bunch of veggies (since the FDA is saying your plate should be 50% veggies anyway). 

Wish me luck, and I'll try to keep you posted on how all of this works out.  In the meanwhile, back to pinning recipes to Pinterest and planning how, precisely, I am going to pitch this brilliant idea to my Italian boyfriend ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment