I have always been interested in food: it’s effects on our bodies, and the best way to fuel ourselves. This has become more important to me as a father. My job is not so much to put food on the table, but to put the right food on the table.
After observing several different types of diets, and taking into consideration my family’s variables, we’re leaning now more towards a Mediterranean/paleo combination as we move forward. There are several factors in this.
Rebecca is part Greek, so much of our food, and that which her mother prepares is heavily influenced by that heritage. I have come to enjoy much of the food. The problem I find with the Mediterranean diet is that it leans heavily into breads and dairy. This is where we lean towards paleo.
I am somewhat of a history junky, so I’m not big on new for the sake of new. I am more trusting of things that are historically tried and tested. The paleo way of eating brings us back towards the ways that our grandparents and great grandparents ate.
There are several reasons why we are going paleo-Mediterranean. First, we love eating meat. That being said, we have begun to limit the meat more, and swing away from the processed stuff. Anything processed these days is suspect. This has to do a lot with food safety regulations, because the food that is processed has to remain safe over a period of time, and in order to do that in an economical way certain additives are used. Those additives are, for the most part, unhealthy especially over time. While I am not afraid of my meat killing me back, I prefer something more healthy.
Second, is that after researching how our bodies use the fuel that’s put into it, meat is required for it’s fats and minerals. Sure, you can get most of the same minerals from vegetables, but the amount we would need to eat is crazy. I spent yesterday consciously applying our diet after letting it slip for Christmas. I ate so many vegetables that I may never look another carrot or cucumber in the face. I don’t want to spend all day eating just fruits and vegetables.
Third, in staying more Mediterranean rather than full paleo, is the economical aspect. With this many mouths to feed, and being low income, we cannot afford all vegetables, fruits, and meat all the time. Starches are cheaper, especially when I make our bread, which I love to do. However, we are limiting the starch intake more. This has to do with the paleo way of avoiding, as much as possible in our case, inflammatory foods. I am acquiring more joint pains as I get older, so I need to lean away from the things that enrage my joints, and towards the things that help repair, such as broths. Our second boy, Noah, has had issues in the past with his stomach lining, so again we need to limit the inflammatory foods, and hold to the regenerative ones.
Fourth, and this is a no-brainer, we need to move this train away from processed sugars and snack foods. We were able to keep a better limit on it this year, and have been doing battle with the kids since Halloween. We always feel like we’ve failed at this time of year, but I’m not letting it get me down now. When I look back and see how we, and the kids, used to eat I feel the diabetes and heart disease creeping up on us. Maybe this is just the health industry’s fear mongering, but there is truth in it.
There were very few health benefits to the way we used to eat. At one time we were eating fast food at least three times a week, had chips and pop always in the home, and candy was readily available. If we were to look at a report card concerning our family’s diet, there would at least be an “improving” mark, so I’m happy with this.
In choosing to be paleo-Mediterranean we have decided not to use one of the mainstream programs or any singular diet that is supposed to cure you in one month sort of thing. We have looked at these diets, and taken what we want, applying it to our life. What can be more Canadian than being multi-dietal?
Oh, by the way, those cookies and marshmallows we decorated the other day, they went in the garbage when the kids weren’t looking. It was more about the fun of decorating, as the kids weren’t even eating them.