Over the years we’ve tried out various diets, just to see if they made things better or worse…you know…for science. And by ‘we’ I mean my wife has been desirous of trying out various diets and taking us along for the ride. Given that she does all the grocery shopping and cooking, attempts to opt out of these diets usually end up being more symbolic than anything.
One day I found myself on the Paleo Diet. I think it was my sister-in-law’s fault actually.
The Paleo Diet is based around the idea that millions and millions of years ago (?) people used to only ever eat certain kinds of things and avoid other kinds of thing… kind of like Adkins except if you also imagine you’re a caveman.
So that means no sugars, no breads, carbs, that kind of stuff. But you can still eat whole fruit I think.
Don’t quote me on that.
The low point of the diet was eating lunch one day at the mall food court. This is perhaps one of the more un-crunchy things we do from time to time, but it’s no more than once a month, and we figure that if you eat healthy 99% of the time, one day of mall court food won’t kill you.
Plus it’s important that your gastro-intestinal tract isn’t a complete wuss on that inevitable day where you get food poisoning. A little mall-food from time to time will keep your innards toughened up.
Anyway, usually we all split up to get food from wherever we want and then re-converge at a prearranged set of tables. I went off in search of something that a caveman could eat, but it turns out that cavemen didn’t have malls or food-courts, and so the whole system hasn’t yet learned to cater to them and their special dietary needs.
I ended up at something called ‘chop-salad’ which serves exactly what it’s name suggested, chopped up salad. The gimmick is they chop it right in front of you, like at those fancy Japanese restaurants, except a lot less cool…probably the lack of fire is the main difference.
I picked out some kind of chop-salad, and then waited for the girl in line in front of me to pay for her chop-salad. I think she was trying to use a credit card. I was in a hurry because our vehicle was on a timed parking space and I knew we only had X amount of minutes to eat. Somehow her credit card crashed the computer, and the teenager working the machine didn’t know how to reboot it so she whipped out her cell phone to call the owner of the chop-salad franchise.
Mr. Salad was a poor explainer of how to reboot the machine over the phone. It seriously took like ten minutes. Freaking out a bit about the time, and how little time would soon be left for me to do any chopping of the salad myself, with my teeth, I offered to pay cash for my order. But apparently all sales have to go through the register, probably for sales tax records or something, so I was told to wait.
FINALLY the machine came back on, and she was able to punch in the girl’s credit card number. But then, unbelievably, she put in the wrong amount. Instead of putting $8.80, she put in $88.00. And, unbelievably, she didn’t know how to authorize a change of the amount on the register.
Out comes the cell phone again, speed dialing Mr. Salad. Mr. Salad at this point is probably feeling nearly as frustrated as I am. What is the point of owning a franchise if you can’t spend Sunday afternoon on your yacht, not being bothered by the teenage wage-slaves you employ?…seriously.
Finally the girl in front of me paid for what I can only imagine was a very soggy chop-salad. I emphatically said I would pay with cash (to avoid any more computer crashes). If I needed to I could just walk away without change, salad in hand, but it didn’t come to that, much to my (and Mr. Salad’s) great relief.
So this new diet radically altered my lunchtime routine, not only because it limited my fast food options, but also because for years I have had a PB&J for lunch. For YEARS. In fact the practice goes back so far into antiquity that I’m not sure that I ever had anything else for lunch. Probably just one day my mom made one for me and my brain said, yes. Yes this is what I want out of lunch. For the rest of my life. ForEVER.
Well after we started eating Paleo, I found myself looking at a plate with a single spoon of peanut butter on it.
Jelly – Gone
Bread – Rejected
And you know what? Turns out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me not feel well! All my body really wanted was that peanut butter. I tried going back to the whole sandwich after our Paleo trial and I couldn’t do it. Even with our fancy sprouted / soured / multi-whatever bread, it sat in my stomach like a brick, and the sugar in the jelly made my head swim.
Now this should have come to me as no surprise. I’ve known for a long time already that I have a protein and fats metabolism. The day I started drinking a protein shake in the mornings was life-altering. You really need to eat food that your personal biome likes and can process into energy for your cells. I can’t stress that enough. If you’re eating the wrong things you’re going to feel terrible all day, every day, and for some people it’s carbs, and some people can do a mix. And some people can just eat vegetables all day long and be fine (whereas I would be dead by noon).
So the idea that eating a carb with sugar spread on it was somehow what my body wanted seems crazy to me now, but my body wanted those peanut butter fats so badly that it would take them no matter what was along for the ride. I never noticed how the other parts made me feel bad.
So thanks to the Paleo diet trial, I have broken free from a life-long bondage to PB&J. Peanut butter oil is spoon-fed (literally) into my system each day, and it is awesome.
NEXT WEEK, ON THE CRUNCHY DUNGEON:
“Try to get a half-hour of walking in three times a week…try to flex your abs as you walk…and while you’re at it, as you sit, as you work, as you eat…less food will fit under your abs if they are flexed…right? Just…anything. Anything other than how you are currently living. That would be an improvement. Any change.”