**Trigger Warning: This post discusses disordered eating. If you are in recovery and don’t want to go there, I give you both snaps and this kitten video instead.**
I have a bone to pick with the Paleo diet. For most of college, I dabbled in disordered eating, exercise bulimia and some purging behaviors. After years of hard work both in therapy and by myself, I found my way to a better place- until the Paleo diet came along.
Touted as the “Cave Man diet”, Paleo cuts out grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar and potatoes completely out of your diet. What’s a major indicator of disordered eating? The labeling of certain foods as “bad” and avoiding them entirely. Suddenly there was a way to go about my disordered eating and not only would no one try to stop me, they were joining me.
Ten years ago, if I went out for some friends for lunch and ordered a chicken salad, but asked for no cheese, no croutons and no dressing on it, my friends would- without fail- be all over me for “starving myself”. Now I can go out with the same exact friends and place that same exact order, but by uttering the words “I’m trying Paleo”, not only are they excited and want to talk about it, some of them may change their order to match mine.
Let me be clear- I’m not saying anyone on the Paleo diet has an eating disorder. But for those of us who do struggle with disordered eating, the Paleo diet and other restrictive diets like it (Gluten-Free, Dairy Free) offer handy excuses to use in order to hide in plain sight. While those with normal eating habits may find Paleo offers them useful guidelines for eating healthy and feeling great, I have to consciously work to avoid hopping on the bandwagon. Hearing others talk about how much they love the Paleo diet makes me yearn to try it, I’m jealous when I hear about how much weight they’ve lost or how much energy they have, but I know I can’t trust myself not to go overboard and end up in a place where I’m not getting the nutrition I need.
Can we bring back Atkins? I hate bacon, so ignoring that wasn’t a struggle for me. Or the honey cayenne pepper cleanse thing again? I can’t wait for a new diet trend to sweep the nation. Until then, I’ll take it one day (and one gluten filled meal) at a time.