The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet has grown in popularity over the last few years, and I am definitely one of those people that agree with the basic principles. The issue I have is that the principles are being twisted to fit in with peoples lifestyles in a negative way.
If you’ve been living under a rock, then here’s a brief run-down of what Paleo eating is:
Protein – animal meats and eggs
Good fats – oils, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, ect.
It sounds great, and if you stick to the basic principles, it is. The problem is that, like the ‘Gluten Free’ and ‘Organic ‘terms getting thrown around, people are taking the basics and twisting them to meet their needs and wants. Just because you label a cupcake ‘Paleo’ because it has no sugar, dairy, wheat, etc. in it does not make it good for you. It is a better option for sure, but it doesn’t mean you can smash a tray of them a day.
It’s a great tool when explaining to people how you should be eating from a health perspective; however, it really isn’t always the best way to go. Truth be told, there is no diet out there that works for everyone – everything needs to be individualized and paleo is the same.
Why Paleo isn’t the best way to go:
1. Ridiculously high levels of nuts – a common substitute for flours, etc. when cooking is to use almond meal or some kind of ground nut product. The issue is that we would never ever eat this amount of food in one sitting in it’s natural form. A handful or raw nuts is a great option for an ‘on the go snack’ option, but this usually turns into 3-5 handfuls a day which isn’t a good idea.
2. Dried fruits as a sugar substitute – sugar is sugar. Yes, fructose is a more ‘natural’ form, but when you think about it all sugar is natural. The effect on the body is the same, especially if you are not very insulin sensitive. Dried food great post work out or if you want to put on mass, but it should not be used every single day in the quantities that most paleo diets recommend.
3. There is no such thing as a paleo cupcake – I don’t care what you put in it, a cupcake is a cupcake. Whether it’s grain free or full of gluten, it is all the same. Sure, one is better than the other, but you cant eat it every day just because someone started calling it ‘paleo’. It’s like gluten free foods, you wouldn’t normally eat pasta or bread every day, but as soon as someone slaps a GF label on it, you can eat as much as you like! NOT.
4. Unless you catch and kill your food, you are not paleo – this one is pretty self explanatory.
4. Disguised weight gain – paleo advocates lots of whole foods which is great, however, in my experience there is rarely any guidelines on how much of what to eat and when. Anything in large amounts is dangerous, even water. The same goes for so called ‘Paleo’ foods. Coconut oil is great for you, but consume too much and you will put on fat. Protein is great for you, but consume too much and you wont be doing your health any favors.
Points for Paleo:
1. Great place to start if you are looking at ditching all the junk food – there are so many different websites and books out there with a heap of information on how to live the healthiest life possible. Paleo is a great starting point for anyone.
2. Promotes a grain free lifestyle – the grain industry is huge and I am not a supporter of it. Everything is genetically modified and nothing is really as it seems. Paleo is 100% grain free, gluten free, dairy and soy free – everything that I’m about!
So, overall Paleo is a great starting point for anyone wanting to sort out their health. As long as you use it as a starting point, there’s no issues. If you eat protein, fats and vegies then there’s no issues there either. The problem starts when you start to make paleo cupcakes or paelo breads. So keep it simple and stick to the meat, fat and veggies in the appropriate amounts.