vegan ♥ paleo

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4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

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.

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4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

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.

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4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

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…

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4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

22 thoughts on “vegan ♥ paleo”

  1. My bestest chum, Amy-Lynn, of Flandrum Hill fame will really like this post as she and her hubby are converts to the paleo diet. I gather he has lost a lot of weight on it and A-L says she feels much better on it and also speaks of the evils of gluten.

    1. I have to admit that I am feeling much better on the paleo diet, too, and it’s wonderful having Tim truly enjoying his meals. 🙂 I hope Amy-Lynn will get a chance to stop by and share her thoughts. I’m almost ready to recycle our toaster…

  2. I love the images in this post. They’re beautiful and make me yearn to step inside one of them so I can be at the beach.

    I hope this is the answer for you and Tim. I know several people who have gone Paleo and rave about it. There are so many different diets and theories and studies. It’s hard to know which way to go. I’ve done more than my share of supporting the health and diet book industry. I suspect that’s not a good thing. I went gluten-free a few years ago, and felt much better for it, but it’s managed to creep back into my life again.

    1. Thank you, Robin! The beach was on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia last April. The vegetation down south is a little different than what we find on the beaches up north here, yet all seashores seems to share a common spirit.

      It is mind-boggling sorting through and evaluating all the information available on healthy diets. Why must deciding what to eat be so complicated??? Probably because our food is so over-processed and genetically modified. Like you, I have done more than my share of supporting the health and diet book industry. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Laurie – happy you liked the photos!

      As you allude, there is a lifestyle that goes along with the paleo diet and I’m happy to report that Tim has brought home the paperwork to sign us up to exercise at a local gym. It’s encouraging to know about the success of the two people you know who are living paleo-style.

  3. Oh dear! I hope you settle down with the right & the best diet for both of you soon. Yoga & Meditation also helps too. Do take care. I love the sand in the pictures 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sonali! Sand dunes by the sea are some of my favorite places on earth… I have to laugh, the one time Tim tried to do yoga, mostly to please our daughter, he wound up down on the floor laughing at himself. 🙂

  4. I know how you feel. It’s so hard to know which diets are the best–and different experts seem to have diametrically opposed opinions. It’s great to hear that the paleo diet is working well.

    1. What you say is true, Sheryl – there are probably no other diets more diametrically opposed than vegan and paleo! It makes me wonder if different body types need different kinds of food and if a bit of natural selection is at work here in the human species.

    1. So glad you loved my photos, Bente! You’re such an amazing photographer – it makes me feel so wonderful to receive your compliment.

      I’m with you – natural diets are important to me – organic, local, humanely raised or hunted…

  5. Barbara, we will all be so eager to see what changes you discover with this new diet. I have heard great success stories with the paleo diet. One thing I learned while on the detox diet recently was that I have not been getting enough natural healthy oils. During all the years with the gall bladder problems I avoided oils. But when ate all the fruits & veggies with lots of natural oils my skin got better and lots improved. But how to make this a lifestyle change… it can be so hard. Wishing you and Tim the best of luck!

    1. Thank you, Kathy! We’re keeping our fingers crossed. That’s so interesting that your skin responded positively to the increase in natural oils – I’m fascinated by all the different kinds of oils found in the paleo recipes. We can keep many of the vegan recipes we grew to love, except for the ones including grains. The thing I’ve noticed so far is that my blood sugar (I’m hypoglycemic) seems to have stabilized and I can go longer between meals without distress, which makes life a lot less complicated. It is challenging to make yet another change, but I guess we’re getting a lot of practice! 🙂

  6. Hi Barbara,
    I also really loved your pictures of the beach. I’d love to walk there…

    I don’t know anything about the paleo diet but its basically what Mr F and I have been eating the past decade. Lots of farmers market veggies and animals that [hopefully] lived a proper life and ate a good old fashioned diet of grass etc, and rice for starch.

    Just want to mention that I can’t eat any products labeled “gluten free” because they’re usually made with foods I’m allergic to like corn and potatoes. What I found is I do best if I eat something made with the smallest number of ingredients, so for instance the bread I buy is made with 3 ingredients ie “organic whole wheat flour, filtered water, sea salt.”
    (I also avoid “yeast”)

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed the beach pictures, Rosie, it was a wonderful walk, noticing the similarities and differences between the beaches in New England and the ones in Georgia. Visiting every National Seashore in the States is on my bucket list.

      The no wheat or grains part of the paleo diet means no bread, pasta or cereal for us – I miss my oatmeal but am enjoying the scrambled eggs (from local pasture raised chickens) and Brussels sprouts we’ve been having for breakfast. I made a frittata last weekend with almond flour instead of wheat flour – it tasted very good. We’ve been traveling an hour away to get our grass-fed beef and other meats from Whole Foods, but we’re looking into finding a local farm and getting a freezer. Like you, it is very important to us to only eat wild game and wild-caught fish, or meat and poultry that has been raised naturally.

  7. It sounds optimistic, and I wish both of you the very best of luck with this diet. To me it sounds not so much like a ‘new’ diet as the sort of foods people ate before prepackaged meals and fast foods came along. Normal food, really, in other words. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Val. It is a very “old” diet, eating normal foods, as eaten before the Agricultural Revolution, that is. 🙂 It’s so sad that it’s so hard to find and afford food that isn’t over-processed and prepackaged, but we’re getting very picky about reading labels and have reading glasses on hand for the fine print. 🙂

  8. Hi Mommy!

    When I was doing a paleo diet I slept better, had more energy during waking hours, and definitely had a little less superfluous padding. 🙂 But I’m most glad to hear that Dad loves the diet. Quality of life is more important than quantity and in my opinion a good meal that I can enjoy is one of my biggest pleasures in life. It makes me happy to hear that Dad is enjoying his meals. 🙂

    Love you!

    1. Isn’t it wonderful to feel better and more energetic?! I hope you’ll return to the paleo diet again, and I hope that little scrap of grass-fed pot roast we gave you Sunday night was sustenance enough for your trip back home! 🙂 Leftovers don’t stay around for very long around here any more…

      Grass-fed really does taste better. It is so very gratifying to see Dad enjoying his meals and it has been so surprising how easily he gave up the grains, the bread and pasta. Looking forward to seeing you guys on Saturday! Love you, too, Sweetie! ♥

  9. I am sure there is so much ‘poison’ that ends up in so much of the food available now. What is natural is so much better, on so many levels. I pray that Tim will continue to be well, and that you both will thrive with the changes you have made. I think – feel – you are on the right road! Blessings. XO

    1. Thank you, Diane, for your encouraging, kind words and blessings! If we can get through a year without a hospital stay I will feel more hopeful about being on the right track. I imagine it will take seven years for all the damaged endothelium cells in his arteries to heal and replace themselves. *hugs*

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