“It’s risky to eliminate whole food groups,” said by doctors and dieticians everywhere.
Really? What kind of risk are they actually talking about?
There are resources available that show exactly how to do it… so there aren’t any risks figuring it out.
And Yet Everyone Thinks Diet Change Is Risky. Why?
Well, for one I think it’s because everyone seems to be an expert. If you can eat, you must know a thing or two about food right? WRONG. Doctors, moms and co-workers won’t hesitate to give us their opinion on why what we’re doing is wrong and then turnaround and offer us a Twinkie.
It doesn’t matter that these people haven’t done their homework or tried the diet. Nope they have an opinion and we should listen. For example, my co-worker told me the other day, “If you’re trying to improve your digestion you really need more fiber and the best place to get it is whole wheat bread.”
The reason I understand this is I used to be this way too. About 10 years ago I had several conversations with a crazy smart uncle of mine who stopped eating grains. Didn’t he know he was going to slowly die an awful painful death and turn to dust in like a month or two?
Nope, he told me as he tried in vain to lay out the science for me – to which I did a great job of not listening.
What Is Going On Here?
Well, there’s either one of two problems happening in these situations.
#1 The person giving us diet advice when we change to SCD or other real food diets is totally ignorant of actual science.
#2 The reason they think diet change is risky is that most people evaluate risk irrationally, thus gauging the riskiness based upon emotions rather than fact.
If we were rational creatures (we’re not, but we like to think we are) we would read the scientific literature, look at our ancestors and the right changes would smack us in the face. But it’s not that easy. You see, our brains won’t let us.
No, we like our emotions too much. Actually, they usually help us make the right decision most of time. But there are times, like in choosing processed food, when it’s probably a bad idea to trust them.
The Actual Risk of a Grain-Free Diet
The scientific risk of SCD or Paleo is non-existent. They are safe and effective. You’ll suffer no ill effects from eating this way. You might actually reverse every medical problem you have.
So, what is it?
The risk is doctors will write you off, spouses will sleep on the couch and friends will make fun of you.
The risk is you might feel like an outsider, left out and sad on the inside.
The risk is the people you eat with will judge you.
The risks of a new diet are all emotional… and it seems like you have to confront them at every meal. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard to change sometimes. If you change your diet, you risk emotional pain with every bite until you grow as a person and realize these people can only affect you if you let them.
I’ve been there and damn if it isn’t hard to change in the face of these emotional risks.
We’re all emotional and irrational beings… don’t forget that.
I no longer perceive eating my custom SCD as risky… but I had to grow to this level.
Have you dealt with these emotions? I’d love to hear about it below.