Man down, man down!!
I’m just going to be blunt. I fell off the Whole30 bandwagon today. Heck, I fell off the paleo and primal bandwagon, too. Under normal conditions, I would chalk today up to my “20%” (80/20 eating rule—eat the best you can 80% of the time, and forgive yourself for the other 20%) But a Whole30 doesn’t allow screw-up room.
These last few days have caused me to be a low-grade gnawing hungry on a level that makes me cranky. We normally eat pretty good here, but we are definitely more primal than paleo. We eat dairy because it makes some food taste better and it is only used as a garnish, not a protein source. We eat soy sauce because it makes food taste right, and the amounts are marginal (c’mon a TBS divided among 6 servings is not going to kill me, but it is going to make my very healthy meal taste better so that I eat more of it so that I’m not hungry and snacky later...) You see? And sometimes we can’t find nitrate-free bacon in the grocery store. So. We. Eat. Real. Bacon. So I’m not 100% sure about this Whole30 thing. I am 100% onboard about the no-grains, no sugars, starches and legumes, but the Whole30 may be too much for me. No painkillers? Sorry. I get migraines that put me in hospital. If I’m hurting, I’m taking Advil and Tylenol, maybe even at the same time. But on the positive side of things, I AM going to work extra-hard to avoid all added and artificial sugars this month. I AM going to avoid dairy this month. I AM going to try extra-hard to eat extra good this month. I AM going to get right back on the primal bandwagon right now, and forgive myself for the slip-up today.
I did get out for a fun WOD last night, too. We went pepper-potting. An army guy knows what that is. “He doesn’t see me, jump up, take a shot, drop back down so he can’t shoot back at me.” Lay flat on the cold, frozen rock-hard ground. Push-up/speed jump up to a standing position and take a few fast steps forwards, then drop back to the ground. If you bruised your palms, elbows and/or knees, then you did it right. Keep going. We tag-teamed. Up, he sees me, down. When my belly hit dirt, I yelled go and he did his move forward, when his belly hit dirt..... Good thing its dark out. And cold. No one called the cops on us for suspiciously sneaking around in the dark park. When my arms would no longer shove be back up, I switched to our “inchworm” technique for moving forwards (I mentioned these before in a previous blog). Dirty, sore and tired, we ended the evening with a short traverse, but it was pretty sad indeed.
So onto better things!
I’ve had this question rolling around in my brain for a while now, and after reading an article titled “I Am A Ghrelin Addict” (the full article can be found at a site called Gnolls.Org http://www.gnolls.org/79/i-am-a-ghrelin-addict/ ) —the question has to be asked... Is Paleo/Primal eating just another food/eating disorder? Wait—read on—because you don’t understand yet (because the answer is no, but let me get there first...) An eating disorder is, simply put, a need to gain/retain control (either over one’s body or one’s environment), and that control is achieved through eating (or not eating, depending on the disorder). But the difference between Paleo and say, bulimia, is that Paleo is a healthy way of controlling your body. Sure, both allow us the control we seek, but one is harmful, and the other is not. All of this paleo/primal lifestyle is very well researched. There is a heck of a lot of science behind everything. If there wasn’t, I would not be doing this. These choices allow us to understand, to the most minute detail, what the effects are of every piece of food we put into our mouths. And we can FEEL the results. It’s not just a “Skinny B!tch” diet. We could have been bulimic and achieved that. We are not seeking skinny. We are seeking HEALTHY. Weight loss is simply a positive side-effect for many of us.
So, about the article “I Am a Ghrelin Addict” (this is a really good site by J. Stanton and I highly recommend reading it, there is a butt-load of science and not too technical-wordy, if you know what I mean.) So ghrelin is a hormone. Specifically, it is a hunger hormone. The article suggests that it is this hunger hormone that drove ancient man to get off his butt when he was hungry, and get out there and kill something. Alright, makes sense so far. The article goes on to suggest that when hungry, our minds are sharper, more focused, and we needed that sharpness to drive us to keep hunting as we got more and more hungry rather than giving up. Alright, well, I think that makes sense. But then the article talks about intermittent fasting, and how the writer of the article likes to be hungry, deliberately hungry, because it sharpens their mind. They LIKE the focus it brings. They will, on occasion, deliberately not eat while working on a problem at work so that they have that singular focus. Hmm. Well, ok, I have skipped meals on purpose, and they’re right, sometimes there is a kind of perverse pleasure in being hungry, in being in CONTROL of one’s hunger. Of being able to deny that hunger and to think “Screw you hunger, I’ll eat when I’m good and ready!” (Hence why the question of eating disorders rattled around in my brain—pleasure in denying oneself sets off alarm bells in my head...)
But I thought about this for a few days, and then I asked Steve to hear me out on it (it’s always good to think about the things you read, to dissect the info and throw out what doesn’t work for you). And Steve made a really smart counter-point to the whole ghrelin-hormone-intentional-hunger argument. He says “When I get hungry, sure, my mind focuses—it focuses on food and on how hungry I am. It gets so focused that I can think of nothing but food. I’m almost a hazard driving, because all I’m thinking about is food.” And yea, he’s right. When hungry, I can think of nothing but eating. Of eating anything at all no matter how unhealthy it is. We have a pretty healthy ghrelin-hormone response, I guess. We would not have starved because we would not have stopped until we had something to put in our mouths. Unfortunately that healthy ghrelin-response also means that allowing ourselves to get overtly hungry is a very bad thing. We make bad food choices when we are too hungry. Which is why I’m also questioning my commitment to do a Whole30. Because lately I have been hungry. Too hungry. No matter how much protein and fat I eat. I’m going to continue to do my absolute best. But I am, after all, fighting against a pretty deeply-rooted instinct here.