But what exactly is it?
The Paleo Diet is a current-day adaptation of Paleolithic eaters’ dietary habits. Think hunter-gatherer foods: meat, vegetables, seafood, eggs, seeds and nuts. The Paleo diet founder, Loren Cordain, claims that the human body is not made to digest modern foods. When we eat modern foods such as dairy and legumes, our cells become inflamed and we are at greater risk of disease. So what can you eat?
- Meat that is preferably grassfed
- Fruit but be careful not to overindulge, as this is where high levels of sugar may be consumed
- Vegetables –which you can thankfully have as much as you want!
- Seafood but be careful not to overload with high-mercury fish varieties (like Tuna).
- Seeds and Nuts are a great, if high-calorie, way to get essential amino acids and vitamins in the Paleo diet.
What Will It Do For Me?
All in all, the Paleo diet is quite a healthy one. The foods are rich in fibre, unsaturated fats, good carbs, vitamins and other nutrients. Adherents boast improved energy levels, better overall health and disposition. This, of course, could be the result of cutting out processed foods rather than the theoretical link with our caveman past.
The Dark Side of Paleo
The Paleo diet isn’t all sunshine and protein. There are some downsides:
- It can be expensive. Grains are valued because they are cheap calories. Cut them out and you are left with the more pricey food groups.
- It’s not easy. Unless you live in L.A., chances are you won’t have easy access to a full Paleo diet. And it can make social engagements around food awkward and difficult.
- The jury is still out. Hard-and-fast proof is hard to come by. Nutritionists are up in the air, and even those that are pro-Paleo can’t agree amongst themselves.
- Vegetarians, beware. You might be thinking that if meat is out of the picture, there’s no good source of protein for you in this diet. Well, you’re right.
I Want To Try...Before I Go All The Way
Going Paleo is a commitment. So what’s the best way to start off? A good strategy is to slowly minimise your consumption of non-Paleo items. Start by taking grains off your dinner menu, then progress to lunch when you’re comfortable. Then there’s breakfast. Before you know it, you’ll be painlessly grain-free. Or, if your beef with the Paleo diet has more to do with weekend social engagements, become an 80/20 Paleo. 80% Paleo, and 20%....what you want!
Easing into Paleo is definitely possible, and it gives you a chance to try it out.
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