Monday, April 15, 2013

"Shouldn't" versus "Don't"

Those of you familiar with this blog know already that I think there is a lot to the notion of a mind/body connection. For example, it is going to be difficult to get anywhere significant with the plan of "fixing" first your sleep, then your food, then your exercise, if, ultimately, your head isn't together. If stress has you down, sleep won't be right, gut integrity will take a hit and exercise will, more than likely, just stress you out more if you push it very hard.

And I also think there is a ton of value in a lot of Zen notions, right down to the healing powers of meditation, a good walk (outdoors, not on a treadmill) and a mindful way of eating (rather than slamming your food down as if in an eating competition).

But there's a whole other aspect of mindfulness that can get lost in the transition to paleo, and, if you can only wrap your, um, *mind* around it in advance, you might save yourself a lot of grief.

While I am not a huge fan of repeated 30-day paleo challenges, one of the great things about your *first* 30-day challenge is that, by eliminating grains, legumes, dairy, etc., you learn, when the 30 days are up, what is (or should be) truly off-limits to you in the future, what non-paleo food items you might eat here and there as an occasional treat, and maybe even which ones you can actually regularly eat.

In other words, you figure out how to eat from there on out. For life.

For me, that list looks like paleo plus fairly regular grassfed cheese, occasional treats of ice cream or booze, and *never* any gluten.

If I eat (or drink) gluten at all, it messes me up. If I make my occasional treats too regular -- in other words, not occasional at all -- they mess me up. But there's a big difference between those two, and understanding that difference is fairly critical to doing this primal/paleo deal correctly.

The "occasional treat" list is a declaration of "things I *shouldn't* eat" that don't slaughter my innards as long as I don't indulge very often. But the "off-limits" list is totally different. That one announces: "I *don't* eat that stuff. It is not food to me."

And, in many aspects, for someone on top of his or her mindfulness, the "don't eat" list is a lot more manageable than the "shouldn't" list. It involves almost no restraint of your decision-making power at all because you just *don't* eat that stuff anymore.

For example, if someone puts a bagel or bread in front of me, it's not that hard for me to say no. I don't eat that stuff. It's not food to me. It certainly isn't part of my regular food and it doesn't even make the list of "occasional treats." That's simple.

Ice cream is another story. It is a "shouldn't" food for me, but it only really causes trouble when "occasionally" becomes "often."

So, if you can truly put a food on the "don't" list, you are going to easily handle its temptation. On the other hand, it is managing the "shouldn't" list, the occasional treats, that is going to make or break how you do on paleo. "Shouldn't" is a long way from "don't." Keep the "shouldn't" list short and manageable, and don't head there often, and you'll handle this paleo thing just fine.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments:

Post a Comment