Our Diets These Days and the Paleo Diet

Dear Reader,

Since I last posted on it, we have been experimenting with our diets again. My youngest daughter’s eczema was out of control. It was like the whack-a-mole of itchy patches–you hydrocortisone one and another pops up the next day in a new location. We saw some progress when we eliminated wheat and gluten from her diet and even more when we cut out dairy (we also tried eliminating peanuts but that seems to make no difference).  At this point we still lotion her twice a day but use hydrocortisone only rarely. Sores she had had for more than a year have finally cleared up and she rarely has places where the skin is broken.

Soon after, I happened to notice that my son’s skin felt like sandpaper. At eight years old, I do not see him naked very often but for some reason I rubbed his back one day and was astonished to find that his skin felt like–well, not like skin. I have never known human skin to feel this way. Lotioning him regularly helped somewhat but eliminating wheat has helped even more. Dairy doesn’t seem to make such a big difference for him.

For myself I have been off wheat and gluten for almost a year but had noticed that I would get bloated sometimes when I ate  a lot of gluten-free bread. Searching online has led me to the world of grain-free eating and from there to paleo-eating.

All the information that is out there is still processing in my mind. I am trying to be more grain-free and not just to substitute gf products made with a lot of starches and white rice flour for regular foods.

Aspects of the paleo diet in its less extreme forms are also appealing. But I am a bit mystified by the theory behind it. The idea is basically this: our bodies evolved to eat a  certain kind of food and they are suffering because we are not doing so. We will be healthier if we eat what our hunter-gatherer ancestors did. This usually means with no grains. Sometimes it means all raw food. Sometimes it means almost exclusively meat.

But I wonder what this says about human evolution (a topic I am kind of on the fence on anyway but for the sake of argument let’s assume we have evolved). From what I have read our ancestors could not digest cow’s milk. But many of us now can. There has been further evolution, especially among those of European descent (Asians are still more likely than not to have problems with dairy). Is this a bad thing? Should we not have evolved to digest dairy? And if this aspect has changed can’t we also have evolved in other areas involving other foods? Why is the caveman diet the epitome of human evolution? And how to technological changes, from the discovery of fire to microwave ovens, figure into evolution? There are a lot of things about my modern life that I enjoy (and I mean a lot). Do we draw the line at food? I have also heard the paleo lifestyle discussed in terms of exercise. What about clothing? Should we wear bearskins? Housing? The kinds of jobs we have?

It reminds me a lot of arguments some Christians make that seem to put  a certain time period above all others. It may be the early church, Jesus’ day, the Reformation, the time of the Puritans, or some other time. But any of these says that we have it whatever it is; often it is pretty comprehensive) wrong now and things were better, clearer, more pure and perfect back then and we need to get back to that state.  But I wonder if any of these time periods can live up to our images of them. And how we decide that one, even the time of Jesus or the Apostles, is the epitome of what we want it to be. I have not been a post-millenialist, but it is enough to make me lean in that direction, but that’s another post.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Nebby, I have not been over to read here for ages. I will have to look back to see if you have posted on your son with the head aches? Also, I think I have mentioned to you before the high ratio of diabetics who develop celiacs. If one is unable to tolerate gluten in a family the figures are something like 1 in 9 close relatives will also suffer. I don’t believe that we evolved from anything/ one but that our fallen bodies are deteriating as well as our food sources and going further and further from natural/ organic.
    I am a Pan millenialist! Everything will pan out in the end 🙂


  2. Thanks, Ruby, for checking in and for remembering my son. I haven’t posted any updates because I haven’t posted anything in ages. His headaches are still a struggle but they are improving somewhat with acupuncture. Our new experiment is homeopathic medicine. We are not completely sure if it is working because it hasn’t brought down the headache but they also haven’t gotten worse as fast after acupuncture as they used to. Our current homeopathic experiment ends this week so I am really praying that it will still kick in and have clear positive results.


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