To look for a “healthy” diet can be as discouraging as a search for the “true” religion. I spent many years extricating myself from a belief system which had at one time seemed to have all the definitive answers my teenage self was yearning for. One would think I might have learned a lesson or two about words and ideas that sound too good to be true.
Some of my readers may remember a few passionate posts I wrote back in October of 2011, when after reading several convincing books by cardiologists I decided that Tim & I should become vegans to try to reverse his heart disease. In my mind it was a done deal, the final answer. But in the months following our change to a vegan diet, Tim wound up in the hospital twice, which left me feeling demoralized. It was as if eating plants was making things worse, not better.
One day last fall, I happened to catch another cardiologist being interviewed on TV, and he was talking about the evils of gluten and wheat, and how consumption of grains leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And so began another round of research for me, more books, more websites, more theories to contemplate. To make a long story a bit shorter, we have switched to a paleo diet, or caveman diet. Wild game, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry. Lots of vegetables. Nuts and berries. Hunting and gathering. No wheat or grains. Keeping our fingers crossed.
This time around I’m not looking at this change as The Answer carved in stone. It’s an Experiment to see if anything different will happen. I’m the daughter of a scientist after all. Maybe the food we choose to eat has nothing at all to do with heart disease, though somehow I still think it might. But cardiologists don’t seem to agree on the best diet for heart disease, so I won’t list all the authors of the books I consulted. Staying off of the bandwagon for the time being.
Last week we did have some encouraging news after Tim went in for a checkup. He lost some weight and his progress pleased his doctor for the first time since his original heart attack five years ago. Let’s hope we’re finally on the right track, although I am keeping myself carefully skeptical, just in case…
photos by Barbara Rodgers