I guess it’s suiting I paired two topics I’m very comfortable talking about together. When I think of all my blog posts on Eating Green and healthy living, Paleo would probably be the number one topic I’ve discussed as far as diets. Palm oil would just be my number one topic, period. I talk about it a lot. Because it’s pretty important.
I’ve discussed the dangers of palm oil numerous times, so I won’t go too much into it here. I will talk about how conservationists and fitness experts say the same thing in different ways. Paleo and palm oil together is the perfect example of what I mean.
Paleo is about eliminating processed food from our diet, and getting back to natural ingredients. Honestly, I think some non-paleo foods like grain and legumes would be alright to eat, if we followed the natural, down to earth model for eating. Breads and cereal would be out. But foods like wild rice, oats, and quinoa, unprocessed foods and a great source of nutrition, might have a place in even a Paleo diet.
There are some followers who argue legumes SHOULD be included on the Paleo diet, because there is evidence Paleolithic humans ate them. Legumes, including peanuts, soy, and beans, are labeled non-paleo because of they contain high phytic acid and lectin. However, these anti-nutrients can often be inactivated by simply cooking the beans.
More and more researchers and nutritionists are starting to lean toward the idea of Paleo being more of a template than a strict regiment of “can and can’t haves”. The important thing is to eliminate processed foods. As Michael Pollan once put it, “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, don’t.” I think that simple distinction is the heart of eating Paleo.
So, nutritionists have been saying for decades to break away from processed foods for health reasons. But you know what? Conservationists have been exclaiming the same exact thing. Except, they want you to break away from processed foods because it’s better for the earth.
Okay, processed foods can be natural food ingredients, but the whole, well, process is what makes them dangerous to us and the environment. Land is being cleared at a higher rate than ever before. We put additives and preservatives in our food to increase its shelf life. Producers farm crops in unsustainable manners. Pesticides. Soil erosion. Deforestation. Increase in carbon emissions. The list of infractions is rather long, and they all stem from eating processed food. Food most paleolithic humans would never eat.
So, when we try the paleo diet, it’s not so much to eat like a caveman, literally. We can’t do that anymore. Not in our society. We get our meat from the grocery store. Our fruits and veggies come from all over the country. But we can eat closer to nature, and connect to the earth in a healthy way.
And that connection can make a difference in conservation efforts too.
Using this conservation connection empowers me to make better choices. I am no Supergirl when it comes to eating right. I get cravings and I am tempted to eat junk food as much as the next person. To combat temptations, I use my mantra of no palm oil. It feels less like I am denying myself something I might be craving, and more like an action I am taking to preserve some of my favorite animals. But I get something out of it, too.
There is a direct link between effort and success. One of the reasons it’s hard to convey conservation messages is because there is no connection between our actions and the animals we are striving to save from extinction. When I promote healthy eating with saving Asian wildlife, I create a bridge from my actions to something concrete I can see. I am removing palm oil from my diet because it’s what nutritionists suggest, and it is what conservationists desire, too.
When the scale number goes down, or I see my pants are fitting a little looser, I know my efforts are paying off. This reinforces me to eat healthy, but it also shows my commitment to conservation is working as well.
Breakfast: Paleo Egg Muffin
Lunch: Cauliflower “rice” soup
Dinner: Fried cod with Paleo hushpuppies
Snacks: Trail mix and Pear with honey and chia seeds
CrossFit Open Gym- WAY too many squats, so modified to glute bridges
No ZooFit- Walked to grocery store together. Chris was not feeling great after yesterday’s and Saturday’s workout, so we took it easy today.
Squat workshop- because I didn’t do enough squats today! I need this though, and maybe it will help with my form, or help keep my knees from hurting too much when working out.
Mood: I feel frustrated with my damn knees. I want to get stronger and intensify my workouts, but when I feel a sharp stabbing pain in my knee, it makes it kind of hard. We got Chris’ ailment (sorta) taken care of, so now it’s time to take care of me. I’m looking to get new knee braces for when I do CrossFit. And I think I’ll look into this minor non-invasive surgery for my knees. Also, no more CrossFit on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Pilates only on those days.
Challenges: I got behind a little on my grocery shopping for the week, so I have had to make due with ingredients at hand. But that didn’t seem to be a problem. I made Egg Muffins last night, and had some for breakfast this morning. They were really pretty good. I may need to adjust some of the meals for the week so I can go out and get those items at a more convenient time.
Also, looking ahead at my meal plan, I realize I have a LOT of sweet potato recipes, especially on my veggie days. I know I said sweet potatoes are extremely versatile, but this may be a little ridiculous. We’ll see when we’re eating sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a couple days if Chris says anything. I do love my sweet potatoes. Maybe I can exchange delicata squash or pumpkin for some of these dishes…