I used to be vegan and now we’re trying the paleo lifestyle.
Yup, I went from eating a plant-based diet and trying to avoid anything made from animals (clothing, body products, etc.) to eating meat. And eggs. And bacon.
Crispy, greasy bacon. Yum… bacon…. wait, where was I?
How can I live with these conflicting feelings of ethics? It’s simple, let me explain…
Human beings have always eaten meat. Not every culture or religion on the Earth, but most of them. In the past, the animals were respected, and it was not an ugly industry that is damaging the planet.
In fact, in many cultures hunting was a big deal full of ceremony which including thanking the animal for their sacrifice. Being a hunter was respected for you fed the tribe or clan.
Now, of course when an animal is killed it’s probably not a fun thing for that animal. I mean, duh, right?
But the thing is that animals do eat other animals. This is not something new or surprising. No one judges a lion for eating other animals because, well, that’s what they’re supposed to do. I mean, they’re animals after all.
Well, humans are animals too.
The idea that we don’t need meat to survive is true – we don’t. There are varying degrees of scientific data that support both a plant-based diet as well as diets that includes certain types of meat.
To me, this means that the truth is that people can be healthy without eating animal products just as they can be healthy eating animal products. However, people can also be unhealthy doing both things depending on the way in which it’s done.
There are tons of “junk food vegans” or vegetarians who eat nothing but crap and vice versa.
The reality is that it’s about more than just the ethics of eating meat. It’s just not that cut and dry or easy.
So, what about the evils of factory farming? That shit is real. Factory farming is ugly. It’s evil. It’s cruel. It’s screwing up the environment.
And so are many other things that are wrong with the world like not recycling, driving gas guzzling cars, paying more for war than education and the list goes on and on. Human beings do a lot of fucked up shit.
And I don’t say that to assuage my guilt or justify eating meat. It’s just a fact. People do fucked up shit.
So, how do I reconcile all these conflicting feelings? Basically, I try to do the least harm I can while still being honest about my (and my family’s) health and emotional needs.
And it comes down to this:
I have a kid with autoimmune issues that no one has been able to fix. No doctors or specialist, no pills, no steroids, no vegan diet, no supplements, no three times a week light treatments, no nothing.
Nothing, to date, has healed my child or even made her symptoms less pronounced. In fact, with time and everyone using her as an experiment she’s only gotten worse.
Do you know what it’s like to watch your child suffer and not be able to fix them?
There is clearly a connection between the food she eats and her condition though the Western doctors aren’t big on admitting it. In fact, it took me literally years to get a doctor to say that “maybe” her symptoms were related to what she eats.
We tried a mostly g/f diet and that didn’t work. Vegan diet didn’t work. We eat healthy food in general so that’s a non issue. So what then?
Enter the paleolithic diet. The cliff notes version of this diet/lifestyle is that you eat good meat, healthy fats, fruits, veggies and nuts (assuming you don’t have an allergy) and avoid all grains, legumes, gluten, sugar and processed foods.
There is debate in the paleo community about what types of dairy one can eat. Some eat dairy, some don’t.
There are many paleo folks who have cured autoimmune disorders by following this diet. There is a lot of information that suggests that our bodies are not meant to eat the foods to avoid, or at least some individuals cannot process these things well if at all.
So, when we tried the vegan thing we may have been doing more harm to her than good.
(Sorry, vegans, it doesn’t cure everything for everyone. No hard feelings, okay?)
And the reality is that for someone who can’t eat nuts, and a host of other very real and potential life-threatening food allergies, there is no way my child can follow a plant-based diet and get everything she needs if she is avoiding legumes (the primary protein source in plant-based diets) and grains.
And anyone who has an issue with my belief that’s true can go and suck it.
Well, just because she’s paleo doesn’t mean I have to do it too, right?
No, it doesn’t But, it does make it easier for her and everyone else. It was hard enough cooking vegan and regular dinner. Can you imagine trying to plan, prepare and grocery shop for three very different diets? That would be insane!
Not to mention the effort to make sure that everyone is getting all the nutrition they need. I had a hard enough time managing that when I was the only vegan.
It has been interesting to adjusting to a new style of eating and going back to eating the meat of something that was living but no longer is. To be honest, touching dead meat still gives them the heebie-jeebies but I do it.
In the short amount of time we’ve been experimenting with this lifestyle I’ve noted that Macaroni has decreased symptoms, seems less teary, and overall happier.
She is really enjoying her food more and I imagine that’s because her body feels good.
Stari is also doing it with us and Ladybug does a hybrid version since there’s no way A. is going to give up his grits, white rice, white sugar and hot links, though my goal is to eventually transition Ladybug to being fully paleo.
There are many in the vegan community who would wish a pox on me for this transition and make judgments and to anyone who judges someone for what they eat I mean, wow, get a life.
Nutrition and our bodies are so complicated and I’m just stumbling along blindly trying to figure out what works for us.
If it were your kid, you would do the same.
So, expect to hear updates about paleo stuff. Expect to see pictures of food. And, most importantly, keep your fingers crossed for us that this change will help heal Macaroni once and for all.
Here are links to just a few stories from parents with kids who went paleo or gluten-free and were healed or are improved from medical conditions: