“We are less hurt by the contempt of fools than by the lukewarm approval of men of intelligence.”
– Luc de Clapiers de Vanvenargues
So I’m waiting patently in a Raleigh Starbucks last night for the the cute (in a Suicide Girl kind of a way) barista to whip up my tall red-eye and, being the curious, fidgety sort that I am (and from all outward appearances, probably not needing the said red-eye), found myself thumbing through a Starbucks Nutrition By The Cup fact sheet. Interesting, to say the least; and, well, scary as all hell, too.
Now, I love a good cup of strong-as-black-iron joe as good as the next guy, and, to be perfectly honest, I confess to having done more than my part to keep the Starbucks enterprise afloat during these turbulent financial times — this in no way diminishes the fact, though, that it’s common knowledge within the Paleo community to steer clear of the sweet stuff (in all forms — food and drink) while supporting your favorite corner purveyor of delectable caffeine. And while most will readily identify sweet foods as being an item to steer clear of, the froo-froo drinks oftentimes escape the same level of scrutiny. Now, I’m a plain and simple red-eye kinda guy myself, so I don’t give these concoctions much more thought than damn, those things have got to pack a pretty hefty carb wallop — until last night, and waiting for the cute barista to work her magic, and my perusing of the Nutrition By The Cup fact sheet. And what I found was — hot holy-damn, Batman.
And holy hot-damn in more ways than just this egregious example. Wow, make that bad boy a venti with whipped cream, and you’re hammering down a whopping 120 grams of sugar in one, single pop. 120 grams! Just to write that makes my pancreas quiver with over-exertion.
Now, I don’t consider Starbucks to necessarily be part of the problem of American (and world-wide, really) obesity, but some of the company’s product offerings certainly are a reflection of that underlying problem. Now maybe that’s a lame distinction, but let’s face it: we can blame these companies all we want for what they offer, but the true, underlying problem here rests solely on society’s shoulders. Companies more so respond to consumer demand than do they create the same. At least, that’s the case theoretically, and within an enlightened, educated and engaged society. And therein lay another (and possibly the more substantial??) part of the problem — a collective, societal apathy towards true, inner health — which translates into lack of education, enlightenment, and engagement. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. And one that’s apparently pretty damn tough for some to break free of. The pursuit of health, though, is no different than any other worthwhile pursuit; the first step to success is mental — first and foremost, you gotta want it. Really, really want it. All else will surely follow. And I don’t want to slide into a theological discussion here, but I also see this as a spiritual issue; the body being the vessel of the spirit and soul.
What to Eat? The Essentials —
Sarah, aka Paleo_princess, offered up a question/musing to the “Twitterverse” the other day that got me thinking about how I go about making my own food choices. What thinking process, or mental template, do I employ so as to make my day-to-day food consumption decisions? Anyone who’s ever “dieted” (note: the lack of having to “diet” and, therefore, not being consumed by all that the word “diet” insinuates, is the yang to the Paleo Way’s yin of what is actually consumed. The Paleo Way is a lifestyle more so than a conventional “diet”, and this is the essence behind its success) knows that the war is ultimately lost in the myriad of small, day-to-day skirmishes; that is to say, “diet” meets its death by a thousand bad meal choices.
So here’s my macro-nutrient “hierarchy”, so to speak; my mental template against which I hold all meal choices throughout the day. And this, truly, is the extent of it:
- Meat/organs/eggs, and/or good fats. In a pinch, raw (if at all possible) nuts
- Raw dairy
- Veggies/salad and the like. Occasionally, a small sweet potato
- (and a way distant 4 at that) fruit
If #1 or #2 is unavailable, I will not eat. Simple as that. Now, am I’m what would be considered “textbook” Paleo? Absolutely not. And if consumption of raw dairy gets me booted from Paleo island, so be it. I tolerate and respond well to raw dairy, and so I include it (albeit sparingly) in my diet. The thing, folks, is this: in much the same way that genetics are the “guardrails” and not necessarily the “railroad tracks” of one’s ultimate phenotypical expression, there is a fairly wide “zone” of proper human diet. About the only “universals of avoidance”, that is, things well outside of everyone’s “guardrails”, are simple carbohydrates, grains, legumes, sugar and hydrogenated fats. I’d say that raw dairy teeters on the rails, and as to which side it ultimately falls is an individual tolerance issue. And know this, too — there is no biological need for carbohydrates — the body does quite well in the total absence of carbs,via protein and fat (ketone) utilization. I think of veggies and fruit as taste and texture variety, and little more than that.