Let’s get real about the Paleo diet. It’s a big trend now: some people SWEAR by it: that it cuts bloating, helps them lose weight, and transforms the way they see food. But does it really work? Should we really be eating like we did thousands of years ago? Let’s break it down:
What is it?
Essentially, the Paleo diet is based off of the idea that we should be eating similarly to our caveman ancestors. It centers around the theory that our bodies haven’t evolved as quickly as our agricultural technology, and therefore we are unable to digest processed foods such as grains, legumes, and dairy. It’s believed that this inability to digest these foods properly causes our chronic diseases.
What can I eat?
The foods approved by the Paleo diet include: meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruits, roots, and nuts. Basically, if it used to be hunted and/or gathered, you’re good to go. The off-limits foods are grains, flours, dairy, legumes, sugar, and salt.
On one hand, this diet promotes some seriously clean eating habits. All processed foods are out, so you’ll be consuming nutrient dense foods. This diet also promotes more vegetable and fruit consumption than the average American diet, which is great news in light of the fact that most adults don’t meet their recommended 5-6 servings a day. Its also a very satisfying meal plan thanks to its emphasis on higher protein- and fat-containing foods.
While there are definitely some benefits, the Paleo diet can be a bit unbalanced. Many of the food options contain fewer carbohydrates and more fat than recommended. Don’t forget-we need carbohydrates for most of our important bodily functions! Also, cutting out whole grains, legumes, and dairy completely could cause nutrient deficiencies if you’re not planning carefully. Lastly, it’s not always practical. It can be costly to find the most natural food options in our modern convenience age, and it’s a challenge to maintain such strict dietary regulations over a long period of time.
Remember- before you adopt ANY diet, make sure you speak to your doctor or a dietitian to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrients, especially if you’re going to be cutting out a lot of foods.
Would you ever consider going Paleo? Do you have any tasty Paleo recipes you’d like to share?