I’ve heard and seen many statements over the last few years that indicate that many people think you need a reason to eat a Paleo diet, and that just wanting to be “healthy” isn’t enough. A year or two ago, it was common for people to be teased or jeered for following a gluten-free diet unless they had been diagnosed with celiac disease. In some circles, I see a similar pattern: “Oh you’re Paleo? Do you have a disease? No? Then why would you do that to yourself?”
In America, we tend to equate free eating with a full life. If you can’t eat gluten, dairy, or grains, you must be suffering, and if you’re suffering, you must have a good reason for it, right? Since when did preventive living become so out of style?
Paleo Is a Wellness Lifestyle
I wish I had known about the Paleo diet, and whole food eating in general, long before my health crash led me to Paleo eating in an act of desperation. I wish I had been with it enough to know that a pattern of eating junk foods, processed ingredients, and artificial sweeteners would destroy my body and make it attack itself. Yes, autoimmune disease has a genetic component to it, but I sure gave it every opportunity to trigger itself.
When someone tells me they’re eating Paleo to just lose a few pounds or because their relative is eating it or because they just want to feel good, I say good for them! I don’t snicker or snidely remark that they don’t need to, or that they should enjoy the freedom to eat whatever they want while they can. I can’t read their genes. I don’t know that they could go on eating a junky diet forever without suffering the consequences. I haven’t really met very many people who don’t eventually catch up to what they’ve been putting in their bodies, anyway.
If you’re eating a Paleo diet because someone you love needs to eat it for health reasons, good for you. Not only are you mentally supporting someone you care for, but you’re also investing in your own health! Frankly, it can’t hurt to focus on whole foods that come from quality sources. That’s the same way our ancestors ate because it was the only option. No one was ridiculed a hundred years ago for eating free range meat or eggs… because back then it was simply called eating meat and eggs.
So — whatever brings you to the Paleo diet, let us, as a community of people who love whole food and nourishment, embrace anyone who wants to eat it — whether they “need to” or not.