Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Mom's Paleo-Inspired Success Story

For those of us who have started eating a more paleolithic diet, it can be like a religious conversion. Of course, we want all of our friends and family to feel as good, as full of energy, as healthy as we do. Especially if you've got loved ones in your life who suffer with weight issues or any of the myriad health problems that can be brought on by insulin resistance or gluten intolerance, you might feel compelled to share the good news about paleo with them. But let's face it, they're not all going to throw their hat in the air and yell "yippeee! you're right! I'm going to start eating nothing but meat and vegetables!"

Most people are understandably skeptical. Plus, who wants to give up toast, potatoes, pasta, ice cream?

The good news is that even if they don't take a running jump onto the paleo bandwagon, becoming what I call "paleo-inspired" can bring about positive health changes all on its own. My mom decided to make just a couple of changes in her eating habits after I started talking about paleo (okay, after I started raving about it and probably going on and on and on until she decided to change something just to get me to shut up about it already.) My mom has always been a healthy eater, with lots of fruits and vegetables in her fridge and only whole-grain breads in the breadbox. But carbs were a huge part of her daily calorie intake, and our family already tends toward extremely high cholesterol, something heavily influenced by insulin.

So she gave up potatoes, which was a staple of her daily dinner. This might've been due to me saying something like "you might as well have a cup of white sugar on your plate", since potatoes spike your insulin levels like almost no other food is capable of. She also cut down from 2 - 3 pieces of whole grain bread a day to just one. That's it! Just a couple of small changes. The result? 9 pounds total weight loss, but the real kicker is that she lost 15 pounds of fat. At 5'2" tall, that's a dramatic change in overall body composition.

I guess my point today is that you don't have to change everyone's mind around you. But by eating healthily, by talking about the common misconceptions (one might say lies) about nutrition that have been put forth by our nation's "experts", and by being an example of health, fitness, vigor, and energy, you can have a dramatic influence on the health of those around you, even if they don't choose to follow the whole-hog paleo dietary path. And who knows, as they experience the effects of making just small changes, they may also be inspired to make more changes down the road.

The Ironmom Extra Mile:  Here's another real-life Paleo testimonial from Robb Wolf's most excellent site. These are my two main go-to sites for nutrition information:

Robb Wolf
Mark's Daily Apple


Jason said...

That couldn't be more true. An example of this is one day I took my step-son to McDonald's (I won't touch the stuff) because it was fast. While he was eating I told him this was the last time I would take him there b/c it is not a good source of protein, poor calorie choices in white bread and french fries that are overly salted.

Mind you he is 4.

Also told him the more he eats those french fries the bigger his but will get.

Next time Mom wanted to take him there he said no b/c it was bad protein and he did not want a big butt.

Yes we can be influencers.

Robin said...

You're so right Jason, and we are the biggest influencers of our kids, especially when they're young. I saw a mom in Trader Joe's today ask her 4 y.o. to put some Cheese puffs back that she had taken off the shelf. The little girl was sad. It's hard to be the parent, the "enforcer" of good nutrition. This mom had a shopping cart full of real food. I wish I had taken the time to tell her what a good job she was doing. My kids at 11 and 14 eat so healthy, and it's because of all of those interactions through the years, even the ones that are tough.