Back to the beginning

I’ve gone back to my roots. Maybe that’s a weird thing for a paleo-esque dude to say, since duh. But what I mean is that I’ve started trying to eat more like I ate when I first started this gig. When I started, I was very good about avoiding vegetable oils, very good about limiting my sugar, very good about a lot of things. Those had started to get a little looser in recent weeks, I’m sad to say. Sort of like the sugar had. I’ve still been streets ahead of where I started ever since embarking on this journey, and even my “not so good” right now is still probably pretty darn good by most standards. But hey, I’m a tinkerer by nature, and someone who is rarely satisfied with my own performance. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m awesome. I’m probably more a fan of myself than anyone you know, but I’m also pretty hard on myself when I don’t do as well as I know I can. So, I’m a little disappointed that I’d let things go off the rails. Sugar was part of it, and probably the biggest part. But when I looked at that, I started realizing all the other things I’d let sneak in as well.

A big one is the bad fats. Soybean oil, canola oil, etc. I’m still getting the vast majority of my fat from good sources, but I’d allowed more bad fats into the mix than I should. It started with a bottle of dressing. I was trying to get my wife to eat more spinach (she’s pregnant and I’m overbearing) so I picked up some dressing I knew she’d like. This was before she’d really gotten on board with any of my dietary changes (still eating wheat, drive-through burgers, etc), so I figured the benefit of the veggies outweighed the negatives of a little extra vegetable oil. Anyway, I got some of that for her, but then I ran out of my own salad dressing and started using hers. It was tasty, but honestly I didn’t enjoy it as much as mine (mine’s really freaking good, if I do say so myself). Still, I finished one bottle and moved on to the next. The convenience is what did it to me. It’s not even like it takes a long time to mix up my own, either. I did a new batch this morning and it takes maybe 5 minutes and that batch will last me for weeks. But still, there was some psychological thing about it. I’ve really maximized my dressing-making efficiency at this point. I don’t even use a blender, so there are no dishes. Everything is mixed and stored in the same container.

So anyway, that was one part of it. I’d also started using the Costco pre-crumbled bacon bits on my salads. I got a bag of them for something I was doing a long time back and ended up using the stuff in my salads because (again) I ran out of the pepperoni (Applegate Naturals, so it’s supposed to be pretty good stuff) I had been using, and it was more convenient to just grab a handful of bacon bits out of the bag. The bacon, incidentally, isn’t great quality or anything. It’s not especially tasty, it’s not humanely-raised, all it is is convenient. So I finished the bag and found myself picking up another. Why? No idea. I literally cannot rationally defend this, I’m just telling you what I did. I went through another bag of this stuff. So now my salads, which used to be pretty darn paleo/ethical/delicious were not much better than what I’d get at a drive-through or something. How did this happen? I think I fell into the trap of perceived convenience. Not even real convenience, which I could understand. How long does it take to pull out and cut up some slices of pepperoni? Maybe a minute or two. I’m not so tightly-scheduled that a couple minutes in the morning is going to ruin my whole day. heck, I could very easily slice up all the pepperoni at once and then just grab some and put it on the salad, so there’s literally zero additional time used per day.

But here’s the weird thing. Even with all this added convenience, I wasn’t enjoying my salads like I had been. I used to love them and actually look forward to them, but once I started using the bacon and the store-bought dressing they just didn’t appeal and I stopped eating them. So even with the perceived increase in convenience, the reduction in enjoyment was enough to get me to stop bothering altogether. I really made a point of making my own dressing today, and cutting up the pepperoni, and making my salad like I used to. And it was amazing. I ate a whole big salad and three of my burger patties from the other day with some Dubliner cheese on them. It was incredibly filling, satisfying and best of all, completely guilt-free. Because that’s the thing. There’s some cognitive dissonance when you do something you know you shouldn’t. I know soybean oil and factory-farmed pork aren’t good for me, for my community or the planet. So even though I was making the choice to eat them, there was always a part of me that felt bad about it. I think it’s different from an actual “cheat” though. If I’m going to have some crème brulée, I know I’m eating it purely for enjoyment, and I know that it’s a cheat. But when I’m eating low-quality bacon or soybean oil dressing, I’m not eating those purely for the enjoyment of them. I’m really not, because they’re not good enough to qualify. So there’s that whole “This isn’t supposed to be a cheat, this is just what I eat, but this isn’t what I know I should be eating when I’m just eating what I eat” feeling. That probably doesn’t make any sense.

Anyhow, I’m recommitting. I know what’s good for me, I know how to make it, and when I do I feel better about everything. So I’m going to get back to it. Not saying this is the last time I’ll ever slip up or fall into a trap, but I’m crawling back out again and as long as I keep doing that, I win.

Okay, now for some links, because you know how much I love links.

Paleo Diet Resdiscovered – This is very cool. For one, I love that Robb is a sci-fi geek. But also, I love that someone was barking up this tree 50 years ago. It wasn’t time then, but i think it is now.

Why Calories Count Foshizzle – *Applause* Seriously, zing.

The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: Part 1 – Dr. Attia is always a fun read, and is always informative. This is his latest, and I really enjoy it a lot. I think the whole cholesterol house of cards is collapsing, and will be on the scrap heap of history within a few more years.

That’s it from me for today. Thanks for reading!


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