What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet is based on the idea that we should eat what cave dwellers ate for optimal health. It sounds a little unconvincing when you remember that most cave dwellers didn’t live beyond 30. Still, a closer look shows that some of the diet’s recommendations make sense and mirror the advice of many nutritionists and researchers.
What foods are allowed?
Meat, fish, poultry, (some) fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and coconut. Emphasis is on pasture-fed animals who were raised in a humane environment under sustainable conditions.
What foods are not allowed?
All refined sugars, dairy products like milk, yogurt, butter and cheese; cereal grains like barley, wheat, corn, oats and rice; legumes, including all beans, lentils, peas, peanuts and peanut products and soybeans and soy products; starchy vegetables like potatoes and all potato products, sweet potatoes, and yams; salty or cured meats such as deli meats, and bacon; pickled foods, many condiments, and really all packaged or processed foods.
· Eliminating overly processed carbohydrates can reduce overall caloric intake if you are trying to lose weight.
· Eating additional vegetables increases nutrient intake as well as essential fiber.
· It encourages the careful selection of meats, poultry, eggs, and fish which have been humanely raised and/or pasture-fed
· Eliminating whole food groups (such as starchy vegetables) is never a great idea as it can be unsustainable long term.
· Beans & whole grains, which are not allowed, are an essential source of nutrients and fiber, plus an eco-friendly source of protein
· Increasing meat product intake in some cases can increase the risk of disease and may be harder on the environment.
Overall, even though the Paleo has its benefits in increasing vegetable and fiber intake, it is also restrictive, and any weight loss attained is usually temporary and hard to maintain.
A healthier option is to simply reduce the amount of highly processed foods consumed, increase fruits and vegetables, lean protein and fibrous grains and mindfully enjoy your meals. Food is meant to be not only nourishing but also enjoyable.