I just came back from a vacation in Seattle, Washington. It is a beautiful city with so much to do! The people are so friendly that I almost hate to write this blog but I just can't help myself!!! The entire week that I was there, every conversation involved hearing about the paleo diet or different forms of elimination diets and of course the importance of eating only organic! (Can you hear me sighing as you read this?) Let me give you examples....
Example 1: My friend and I went to a spa to get massages. As I was lying on the table, the massage therapist, who knew I'm a dietitian, starting telling me that she could read my body and it was full of inflammation! She then told me that I need to be following the paleo diet in order to rid myself of this inflammation! She told me that her dietitian colleague agrees with her when recommending this diet to her clients- even though she is not herself a registered dietitian. She told me all about her own experience following the diet and what happened to her body when she "cheated". GRRRR...
Example 2: My friend and I have a tradition of taking a cooking class every time I come to visit her. When looking at what was available, we decided to take a vegan class to see what it would involve. So maybe you could say that I was asking for it but hear me out. The class involved us standing on our feet and chopping vegetables for 2 hours! We were exhausted and realized that there was very little cooking involved. No one in the class, including the instructor, was vegan and we all agreed that the regular version of the foods we made were better! The recipes went beyond vegan though which bothered me. We made a "risotto" using cauliflower instead of rice. I decided to ask the instructor why this was done as vegans are allowed to eat rice and I was told that it was to keep with the "nutritious" food theme. GRRRRRR.......
Example 3: During this same cooking class, every single person there started talking about different forms of elimination diets they follow when they are "good"! The instructor told us about her holistic doctor that recommends cleanses all of the time. Another woman was gluten free and another one was avoiding dairy because her doctor told her it would help her feel better and clear her skin! GRRRR... (I found it interesting that although they all believed these diets would work for them, none of them were following them because they were not sustainable or enjoyable! One person even said, the elimination diet was too hard for her and didn't even help her feel better!)
Example 4: I was at a farmer's market and someone we met was eating lunch. Her plate was a grilled chicken in a gluten free bun and a large portion of fries. She said that her doctor recommended she go gluten free because of digestive issues. GRRRR...
These are just some of the many things that happened in the last week! I think you are getting my point by now! My annoyance was growing with every conversation I had because it apparently is a west coast mentality to be following these types of elimination diets. It has become part of the culture there.The people don't know that the science proves these diets to be wrong and can result in malnutrition. What upsets me most is that their health care professionals and doctors are the ones giving them this misinformation!! If you can't trust your doctor with your health, who can you trust??
Some of you may be asking if I said anything to anyone? The answer is no. In my experience as a registered dietitian, people do not want to hear the truth about these diets that they are following unless they are flat out asking you. I have even stopped telling people what I do for a living for the same reason. People don't want to be criticized and I don't blame them! I don't feel that it's my place to tell everyone that they are wrong within a 15 minute casual conversation! They are looking to feel better and find the miracle that will do it! I don't want to be the one to burst their bubbles!
I do feel that it is my job though, to write blogs like this and continue to educate people about this misinformation. If they don't want to hear it, they won't read the blog and that's ok. I'm not here to tell people what to do and what not to do. I'm here to give you science based information so that you are well informed to make your own decisions and therefore feel empowered to do so.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue to eat everything in moderation, including meat, gluten, carbs, sugar, dairy, etc....and I highly recommend you do the same!!! Balance and moderation are key!
Questions or comments? Let's discuss it on my facebook page at www.facebook.com/gailkardishrd
Side note: All of us in the cooking class were hungry within an hour after eating our meal!!! lol!
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