Has anyone experienced this when going to the doctor? I personally asked my dermatologist a year ago about the connection between what I’m eating and acne, and I was literally laughed at by the doctor. They told me that what I eat doesn’t impact my skin and acne at all... I beg to differ.
As a follower of the Paleo diet, one of the things that I’ve noticed and heard anecdotally from many people is that after going Paleo they have noticed health improvements, in a variety of things – headaches, allergies, GI distress, etc. The concept of ancestral health based on the Paleo diet is starting to catch on. After all, our ancestors weren’t faced with the modern day diseases of obesity, diabetes, and multiple types of cancer – maybe it had something to do with what they ate. In a blog post on Shots, NPR’s health blog The Paleo Diet Moves from the Gym to the Doctor’s Office it talks about how Paleo is starting to move from a fringe movement supported primarily by Crossfitters to a clinical setting- your Doctor’s office.
Today’s doctors aren’t taught much about nutrition at all in their schooling, and as someone that has been experimenting with how what I eat affects me, I can tell you that there is a HUGE link between what you eat, how you feel, and ultimately your health. While the NPR blog post is skeptical about applying the ancestral health movement in a clinical setting, because it’s trying to practically apply an uproved theory of ancestral health, I think that it’s encouraging that we are taking a step in the direction that acknowledges that food is directly linked to our health.
The blog post comments that “the paleo diet will seem extremely restrictive to most modern humans”, which is something that I hear from many people when they are considering trying Paleo out. I completely understand this point of view. As a former carbo-holic, when I first heard about the Paleo diet I thought it was crazy and that it was something I could never do. Over three years later, I’m still an avid Paleo diet follower. Basing my food choices around fresh, unprocessed foods, meats/seafood/eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and playing around to see what combination of those things work for me. Plus, I'm learning what additions that aren’t on that list can be apart of my life and diet – like dark chocolate, wine, occasional paleo treats, vinegar, grass-fed butter, etc. It’s important to remember that we are all individuals and that what works perfectly for me will not work for everyone. You have to work on yourself to find what is optimal for you, what makes you look, feel, and perform your best.
I agree with the statement that “Humans have lived in all kinds of places and we have adapted to all kinds of diets” and that is where the art of Paleo comes in. Focusing your diet on Paleo principles and then finding what works best for you is key to finding a sustainable version of a Paleo or Primal diet that makes you look and feel your best and be your healthiest. For some it’s including high quality dairy, dark chocolate, more fruit, less fruit, no nuts, etc.
The next time you’re experiencing some sort of illness or are not feeling well, I challenge you to think about how what you are eating could be impacting how you are feeling. Have you been drinking enough water, eating enough vegetables, adding something new into your diet recently, etc. If you’re at the doctor’s, start asking about how what you’re eating could be impacting how you’re feeling. We are never going to start to change the system until we start pushing and encouraging our health care providers to take a look at how what we eat affects our health.
About the Author:
Laura Pappas is a Crossfit Trainer at Crossfit King of Prussia, avid athlete, and Health and Nutrition enthusiast. She writes for her own blog Against the Grain sharing her perspective on health and fitness and has recently started a Health Coaching business.