TELLING GAVIN BROWN ABOUT THE PALEO DIET (2014)
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This is an email that I sent to Gavin Brown on March 6th, 2014. He did not respond.
How's it going? I hope that this message finds you doing very well. I don't know about you, but I'm just about ready for spring these days! Sheesh. I can barely handle this cold. To be fair though, it's my first real winter in about twelve years or something, so I'm admittedly a bit of a wuss. Longtime New Yorkers though keep telling me that this is the wildest winter in years, so maybe I'm not being such a wuss after all. I did grow up in Michigan, but that was ages ago!
Last summer, my ex and I tried out this thing called the Paleo Diet. Have you heard of it? It was definitely weird to get used to at first, but I seriously think that it had some benefits that I never imagined I'd experience. Since I was a kid, I kind of had crazy acid reflux disease. By the time I hit the age of thirty, I was taking two Zantac 150s every day and also chewing up an entire roll of Tums. That can't be good for you, right? Anyway, the Paleo Diet is kind of wild and I guess it's like supposed to reflect the diet that our ancestors ate back in the Paleolithic era. Some people call it the "caveman diet" but I'm not sure if that's politically correct or not so I generally try to avoid using that term.
We cut out starches and carbohydrates from our diet, as well as dairy and salt. At first, I was like, "Are we seriously grilling chicken and then stuffing a roasted red pepper with it and applying a blended sauce of olive oil and avocado on top?" I mean, to be honest, Gavin, I've always been more of a slice-of-pizza-type-of-guy, if you catch my drift. After a few weeks though, I really got used to it. I started having more energy, I almost never had heartburn, and I was shedding pounds like it was nobody's business. This is kind of crazy, but I also ended up going running a lot. In all seriousness, I was in the best shape that I'd been since I was in high school and I played varsity soccer for the Traverse City West High School Titans.
My girlfriend and I broke up because she moved to San Francisco and I was moving to Richmond, VA to do a residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, but I kept on the diet and continued to feel better and better. Now, for the record, she and I both live here in New York these days, but that's a whole other story that I won't bore you with in a casual email! Anyway, while in Richmond I really stuck to my guns and maintained a strict avoidance of the things that the diet prohibits. Oh man, I even invented this absolutely crazy vegan/Paleo cream of squash soup that was totally out of this world. I also figured out a really great substitute for bread crumbs in meatballs and knocked the socks off of some dinner guests that I had over one night (hint: it's a type of seed that some baseball players chew since they've outlawed chewing tobacco).
I'll admit that it's been a *little* harder to maintain the Paleo lifestyle now that I'm living in New York. I mean, there is SO much food here to try and it's just the plain truth that a lot of cultures make food that falls outside of the Paleo-appropriate spectrum. And, I've slowly been introducing the slice back into my life. I've been careful with it lately, just letting myself maybe grab one slice every week or two because the amount of wheat and dairy, plus the acidity of the tomato sauce, can sometimes really overwhelm my stomach and it leaves me feeling kind of lethargic.
Maybe the weirdest thing about the whole Paleo adventure though was that I just wouldn't give up beer, ha ha. A lot of internet forums have people on them who are also mostly Paleo in terms of their diet, but they just love beer so much that they're not about to give that up! There's sort of a running joke in the Paleo community that we're "Eighty-Percenters." It's pretty crazy to think that twenty percent of what I consume is beer, but it is 2014!
If you're ever interested in giving Paleo a try, I have collected A TON of awesome recipes and also simple food-hacks to turn your favorite dishes into something that'll make just about anybody's mouth water. You can hit me up whenever. I work a lot at NYU's Art Department, but my nights and weekends are often open and that's when I find myself doing the most cooking. I hope your week is awesome and that you're going to all the parties.
Okay, talk soon!