Welcome to Wide Open Wednesday! This – and every – Wednesday, I will write about something that is interesting to me outside the kitchen. I may share an article, a quote, a question, an experience, a highlight, a low moment or whatever else inspires me to put fingers-to-keyboard. It’s pretty much wide open.
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In 2008, my husband Matt introduced me to the concepts of paleo eating.
I immediately argued that this “paleo diet thing” was ridiculous.
We all know how that debate ended up – with me writing a blog of paleo recipes.
In our early years of transitioning to paleo, Matt and I spent a fair amount of time discussing paleo eating. We bantered back and forth about articles we had read and talked about how the changes to our diet were making us feel and perform. Matt explained the parts of Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet I didn’t understand and read out loud from Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution when we were in bed. (OK, that last part happened only once and it was very G rated.)
Now that eating paleo – with the occasional infusion of ice cream and brownies – is a given in our household, we don’t have as many discussions about omega 3:omega 6 ratios as much as we used to.
But I know Matt is still spends a significant amount of time reading and thinking about diet – as it affects himself, athletes at his jiu jitsu studio and the patients he cares for at his job as a nurse. So, I decided to ask him a few questions here today.
MC: Give us some background. What made you start eating paleo?
Matt: I started eating paleo when I had been doing CrossFit for several months or a year. I began to think more and more about other aspects of my lifestyle that could benefit from the wisdom of the CrossFit community. When I read more about paleo, it completely made sense.
MC: As you alluded to, there is a strong correlation between paleo and CrossFit. Do you see that connection at your jui jitsu studio?
Matt: No. Brazillain jiu jitsu has a strong connection with Brazil — and Brazilians eat like much of South America, heavy on legumes and grains. Also in my observation, the more serious the athlete, the less strict they are about paleo.
MC: Really? That’s surprising to me. Why do you think that is?
Matt: Most of us who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle do really well on the paleo diet. The committed jiu jitsu athlete extends so many calories. If you are trying to do an unnatural amount of work, like the professional athletes at my studio, you would have to have an expertly created paleo diet to meet the intense carbohydrate demand. Most young athletes, lacking an expert, just eat a lot of rice and other fast carbs.
MC: You have mentioned that you think a lot of your patients could benefit from losing weight and eating paleo. How do you bring up the paleo diet to your patients at work?
Matt: I don’t use the word paleo. When my patients ask me about losing weight, I educate them about the three macro-nutrients — protein, fat and carbohydrates. Then I tell them that if they limit their carbohydrate intake to vegetables and a small amount of fruit, they can eat all the animal fat and protein they want.
I also try to warn them against vegetable oils and things cooked in vegetable oils, such as fast foods.
Finally, I try to educate them about insulin, which is a hormone they already know a lot about. I tell them that eating foods that cause you to secrete insulin are likely to add to your waistline. If you want to lose weight, eat foods that cause you to release less insulin.
MC: Who would you say eats more paleo – you or me?
Matt: You. But I’m doing better than I ever have before, mostly spurred on by having joint pain lately that I’m hoping I can improve by eating more strict paleo.
MC: When do you find it easiest to stay on the paleo path?
Matt: When I am in my house and make food for myself.
MC: What’s your go-to paleo meal?
Matt: Bacon and eggs. For the past five years, I have been eating four pieces of thick Whole Foods bacon and six eggs every morning .When my cholesterol was last checked, it was in the range that is considered healthy by most insurance companies.
MC: Yes or no – Is beer paleo?
Matt: No. And it is my biggest non-paleo offense.
MC: Anything else you would like to say?
Matt: The paleo diet allows each of us to rescue ourselves from a world and society that has created many health pit falls. Much of what we see and experience is controlled by corporations that don’t care for our health. The paleo community allows people to spare themselves the diseases associate with modern industrial society.
MC: This was a pretty serious interview. You are usually very funny.
Matt: I actually still geek out on this stuff a lot. I think it’s pretty important.