Can You Give Up Pretend Foods?
- 2 Minutes Read
- Sep 15, 2014
There's real food and "pretend" food. Know the difference and ask yourself if you can give up the fake stuff.
About a year ago I began my personal journey into living a Paleo lifestyle. It gave me just what I needed to overcome a long-term plateau my body decided to hang on to. I dropped 30+ pounds in about 7 months, and I felt great. I didn't rush losing weight (mostly because I couldn't give up beer altogether!), but it did happen.
In the last couple months my body started another plateau, and then it started to gain weight again. I knew I had given myself a few more "cheats" than I should, and now I could see the visible (scale's) evidence of those cheats.
My wife and I decided to do a 30-day sugar detox, following the Whole 30 plan (read It Starts with Food, by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig for more information). For me, already on a mostly Paleo eating lifestyle, the changeover wasn't that difficult (we're over halfway through it), but for my wife it was a bigger diet change (mostly by giving up grains). There is a great article that accurately details what one can expect to feel like while on this detox (again, more from someone who's going from zero-to-60 instead of transferring over from a similar eating plan). Regardless, it's worth preparing yourself.
What I have taken to heart through this Whole 30 plan (so far) is a few things: 1) even while following Paleo recipes there are countless recipes (even whole websites) devoted to food "hacks" that are supposed to taste like the foods you've given up but follow your new eating guidelines. In essence, promising you can still have your cake and eat it too! Sure, these hacks are useful for weaning yourself into a new way of living and eating, and yes, they are very tasty (sometimes), but they can also be a crutch.
Secondly, following Whole 30 has shown me the importance of committing, really committing to something. There are no cheats or cheat days; there are no recipes for pseudo/fake/yet-approved Whole 30 pancakes (sadly). You eat good food and you do it every day for 30 days.
Lastly, it's is absolutely eye-openingly amazing HOW MANY FOODS HAVE ADDED SUGARS! I mean, sugar is everywhere these days. I challenge you (no, implore you) just to take five minutes looking through your kitchen and fridge to see how many foods/drinks you have that contain sugar. I'll bet you come back surprised.
As I have been following this plan, I came to realize some painfully obvious observations about food. If it comes in a package and is meant to be put in a cupboard, it's probably not your best food choice (nuts excluded). Second, if a food comes in a man-made shape, it's probably not your best food choice. This can be likened to all the foods (especially snacks) that promise X proteins + Zero Fat + Half-the-Calories, etc. etc. If you need protein, eat protein; if you need something sweet, eat fruit; if you need good calories; eat vegetables. In short, don't eat something that's been marketed to make you believe it's something else.
So the question is, can we give up the "pretend" foods and try living on the real, good stuff?
Note: This is an unsolicited article about the author's personal eating preference. He has not been paid by Whole 30, or any related company, for his opinion. This does not constitute as advice, nor it is a recommendation to follow the program. Do what makes sense for you!
Second note: read Donna Feldman's, MS, RDN, and contributing MyNetDiary Dietitian, remarks about Whole30, especially her concern about "food boredom."Meal Planning & Diets->Paleo & Low Carb