Who likes to be in the middle? Me - I stick to the edges as much as possible. Parties, dances - I am a wallflower. I gravitate to corners. That preference gets me funny looks, but if I apply it in my grocery shopping life, I might be onto something.
I got into an interesting conversation with a couple of friends on Facebook yesterday. We were talking about Dr. Terry Wahls, a physician who has done incredibly powerful self-experimentation with her diet. She has MS and at one point was confined to a special wheelchair that kept her pretty much horizontal. She researched what vitamins and nutrients her brain needed - and went out there and figured out what foods provided it. She's now walking. Biking. Living life not horizontally, and on her own two feet. All because of her diet.
One of my friends had posted on her wall a link about eating a vegan diet - though the title was more along the lines of WHOLE FOODS. Which made me think of Dr. Wahls and her work.
My other friend pointed out that actually the diets advocated are vastly different. Wahls is a huge believer in what is now known as the paleo diet - going back to our hunter-gatherer roots (no pun intended). The vegan diet, on the other hand, eschews all meat and animal products.
Where they overlap, though, and where I find the most common sense ground of all, is the fact that they are focusing on real food. Real plants and vegetables, real meat. No processed stuff, no convenience food or takeout or Kraft's poor excuse for macaroni and cheese.
You can find all the information you want to on the foods that are bad for you. Dairy and wheat are certainly up there for a lot of people, much due to how those foods have been manipulated by hormones or genetic engineering over the years. You will have to decide for yourself where you stand on that (but if you have skin issues or digestive issues, giving those up might give you some information!). I posted a picture of my breakfast not to incite a diatribe about dairy, but to show you one thing:
All those foods in that breakfast? They all came from the perimeter of the grocery store. Fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You might argue that the yogurt is processed (I'm not quite at making my own yet) - but it is organic. No growth hormone to start my day.
So whether you are paleo or vegan, raw or solid meat and potatoes - you will do best food-wise to stick to the wholes. Those are all on the fringes of the grocery store, in the corners.
Maybe being a wallflower isn't such a bad thing after all.