The Benefits of Less

Before going Primal, I felt enslaved to my hunger cues. Intellectually, I knew that I had only eaten my breakfast of oatmeal with bananas and dried cranberries two hours prior. But physiologically, my body wanted a snack NOW! *Cue scary violin music* With such stabbing insistence in the belly, what is one to do?

With Primal, you no longer eat what you don’t need. You eat when you’re hungry, which just isn’t as often. You may find yourself skipping meals, either intentionally or accidentally. Snacking may become a thing of the past. You get to listen to your body, not the irrational rumblings of rogue fat cells on a carbohydrate binge. And this is good for many reasons.

Tasty? Perhaps. But you'll be hungrier than if you ate nothing.

While Primal eating can be a hit to the pocketbook, I argue that eating less overall helps to offset some of that cost. Satisfaction means you’re spending less money, less often. No more 3pm runs for a Venti Caramel Mocha Frappucino and a maple scone just to survive until quitting time. Before Primal, I was buying several “health” cereals for $5 a box and approximately 3 1/2 bowls later, they were gone. Eggs are far more economical than that and take about the same amount of time to prepare. And because they will sustain you through at least the morning, you can scratch the 10:30am visit to the company vending machine off your budget too. There, I just saved you $10 a day! Now go celebrate with a nice, grass-fed ribeye steak.

Philosophically, uncontrollable hunger troubled me because, as a student of yoga and Buddhism, I thought I was eating more than my body needed (or, at least, just the wrong sorts of things as Gary Taubes clarified for me). The evidence? My growing ass. The tenet of ahimsa asks that in our actions, intentions, and speech we do not engage in injury or harm to ourselves or others. And my hunger cycle was definitely not displaying kindness to myself, which snowballed into having not-kind thoughts about myself as the pounds crept up. Now, for the first time in my adult life, my philosophy and my physiology are in harmony, and it feels awesome.

In addition, Primal/Paleo can actually be environmental. Stick with me here, I know that Paleo is unsustainable for the current world population, blahblahblah. All true. But all environmental actions are trade-offs, and this diet is no different. If you’re not taking in more resources than you need, then you are wasting less. Maybe you’re eating your leftovers for breakfast instead of throwing them out. Maybe you’ve started composting. I’ve noticed that the groceries I buy now have less packaging, so we have less recycling and garbage as a result, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch thanks us. And if you start aggressively sourcing your meat, eggs, and produce as locally as possible, that helps cut down on fossil fuel usage, especially if you also go organic since commercial fertilizers and pesticides contain petroleum, among other nasties. The more you can unplug from the Industrial Food Complex, the better off you and your health will be. It’s also a vote against those practices, and perhaps, in time, that will amount to something.

Has Paleo/Primal helped you simplify your life? Share your Less-is-More tips in the comments.

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