Diet Is a Four Letter Word…

I am an indecisive person-I do not do well with absolutes. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? I pick swirl. New boots or sneakers? Check the clearance rack- two for the price of one. Mountains or beach? I vote for the Carolinas. There are always shades of gray (50 of them I believe..?) and that’s where I like to hang out; you get to experience way more in life if you chill in the middle. Labels come with absolutes, why does everything have to be SOMEthing. Can’t it just BE?

Republican or Democrat? Christian or Buddhism? Team Jacob or Team Edward? Why must we always be one or the other…can’t we just dabble in some of everything? Now, let me back this Type B train up a little bit and say there are 3 things I will label myself as: Female and Married and a CrossFitter…everything else is in the gray 🙂

In the world of nutrition there are SO many fad diets that fly around I can hardly see straight. I really just hate the word “diet” in a sense that describes rules to eating. Honestly, the truth is…

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“Paleo,” “Clean eating,” “Raw Food,”…what-freakin-ever. Who says you have to name the way you eat? It drives me absolutely crazy when people put parameters on what they are eating because a specific outlines it that way, and then they get discouraged when they can’t stick to it. As most know, the diet that is peddled by CrossFit is paleo…but did you know, during an interview at the (2013) CrossFit Games, every individual athlete was asked who follows a paleo diet, and not a single one raised their hand. That is because they EAT ACCORDING TO THEIR GOALS. When absolute parameters say no grains, dairy, or legumes…what’s a hungry athlete going to eat to keep them fueled to perform? Not to say Paleo isn’t a great choice for some people, but it’s not the do all end all in the CrossFit world…or in the fitness world, for that matter. Eating real* food is what’s important-whole, from the Earth, quality foods that keep us satisfied and provide our body adequate nutrients to function. True most of these don’t come from boxes and bags, but if that’s what’s going to help you hit a PR, by all means, eat what you must!

On the same token, some of these “absolute” diets are necessary for a certain population. One SUPER example is this gluten free nonsense that is everywhere anymore these days. Hey, Oprah and Miley, congrats on your weight loss, but removing gluten from your diet had nothing to do with it. But please, keep telling people that and perpetuating this horrible fad diet. Thanks.

Heck, I bet a majority of the people attempting to be “g free” don’t even know what gluten is! For those people: gluten is a wheat protein that provides elasticity to dough and helps the product to rise and to keep its shape. Most commonly gluten is found in wheat and wheat products.

If you spend a few minutes surfing online and discover a long list of reasons you absolutely must avoid gluten:

  • It’s a toxin.
  • It causes inflammation.
  • It gives you autoimmune diseases.
  • It gives you headaches, joint pain, and brain fog.
  • It makes you fat and sick.

Most of the arguments against gluten can be traced back to the idea that it increases intestinal permeability or gives you a “leaky gut” with the bottom line of:  if you eat gluten on a regular basis, your gut and body stay inflamed, and you develop an increased risk of just about any disease imaginable.

Unless are one of the 20 million Americans that have celiac disease, there’s no need to start buying the costly foods that tout the “gluten free” stamp. If you do have sensitivity to gluten then yes, buy up the gluten free products. However, the number of people who think they’re gluten sensitive is probably far greater than the number that actually are. The Bottom Line: If you don’t feel sick after eating gluten, there’s no reason to avoid it.

So don’t “diet”…eat whatever foods make you feel good. If that way of eating doesn’t have a name, I’d say you’re on the right track. I’ll always advise to eat close to the Earth, and avoid the highly processed foods that are saturated with preservatives. But, if a way of eating is making you uncomfortable or causing you stress, it’s not worth doing. Eliminating entire food groups is drastic and unnecessary. If its not sustainable, its not for you. Don’t set yourself for up failure. There are no absolutes when it comes to a walking breathing experiment. You do you. Like I said, there are always shades of gray.

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