Diets And Diatribes

I spent the past several nights working overtime—straining my eyes staring at a computer screen, straining my wrists and shoulders with the tension of typing, and straining my mind with the stress of transcribing and editing an interview about simplifying your life and honoring your health. I wanted so badly to properly distill the essence of Sarah Fragoso’s message that I completely missed it.

So here I am, my body feeling like a clenched fist, I haven’t eaten properly all week, I’ve neglected my friends and my fiancé, and I’m skimming over the fruits of my labor which are basically slapping me in the face with irony.

The really beautiful thing about Sarah—apart from her face, body, and glowing personality— is the way she lives. She is bursting with generosity, open, loving, and completely fluid. She does the things that matter to her and embraces the opportunities that stem from that. When she finds herself out of balance, she simplifies. When she finds herself inspired, she acts.

The whole idea of eating/living “Paleo” is often met with skepticism and labeled a fad, and in a way that’s justified. The concept can be co-opted as another path to weight loss, another way to sell products, or another thing to give neurotics a foothold to claim they’re allergic to everything—ruining dinner parties everywhere. It can be misinterpreted, done half-assed, and taken to extremes; it can be taken at face value and easily ridiculed. I can’t count the number of articles titled “Paleo Debunked!” where someone pushed their glasses up their nose and said, “Actually…” Only to read through them and see they never analyzed the actual research and nutritional template the diet is based on, just made buzzworthy assumptions and tore down straw men.

I think for a lot of people any attempt at becoming healthy is a fad, because it’s not something that fits into their crazy lifestyles or lines up with their other goals. We are nothing if not a manifestation of our priorities.

For the record, I am not eating a diet that would be considered Paleo. I do lean a bit that way, but I eat all kinds of dairy and legumes and occasionally eat bread/cake/supercake. But the people I know who really understand the science of it and approach it with balance and self analysis, like Sarah, are onto something that goes way beyond cutting out grains. The broader concept is about using our bodies in the way they’ve evolved to be used, fueling them with foods they’ve evolved to thrive on, and nurturing our environment so it can support us in return.

Yes, we’re opportunistic omnivores who can survive on garbage (I lived on chips and ramen for about two years in my early 20s), and yes, we’re capable of staying alive for a good 80 years while plastered to a chair in front of a television or a computer, but there is a layer of misery that creeps into your life when your body is so misused. We have a choice: Survive vs. Thrive.

I know all this, and yet here I am with a raging pinched nerve in my shoulder, exhausted because the pressure I’ve put on myself has given me insomnia, and craving fat/sugar/ salt bombs because I’ve been telling my body we’re in a famine.

As I was saying, I feel like a dingus.

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Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.