all last week i was researching what the "experts" thought about paleo. i wanted to know why people didn't like it and if maybe it wasn't the healthiest diet for Peter and me to be following. it started with a conversation with a good friend of mine who is a nutrionist, chef, entrepreneur, vegetarian, and so much more. she lives in new york and was out here for a visit. she was shocked to see so many of us southern californian's guided by this way of eating. as a vegetarian she was skeptical and wanted to learn more about it. when she got back home to new york, she reached out to her database of experts and asked around. i felt so grateful that she shared with me what they said about the paleo diet. i love being challenged in my thinking and belief system.
here are a few comments that i found very thought provoking and interesting from professors, clinical researchers, anthropologists, nutrionists, etc.
- the diet is not scientifically based
- a nutrition grad student who is also a biological anthropologist, said that the "Paleo" diet would have about 8% meat/dairy - so small amounts of animal source foods
- one called the paleo diet a fad
- My problem with the Paleo Diet is that it is based on out-of-date
knowledge about what our ancestors actually ate. I believe eating like
a "cave man" can be quite healthy -- if you eat as they likely actually
did. Which would be a variety of whole grains, legumes, underground
storage organs (potatoes and such), nuts, fruit and veg, and meat when
you can get it (ie. not every day, and not in huge quantities). The
diet would have also varied dramatically from habitat to habitat,
depending on what was available, as one of the most unique features of
humans is how adaptable we are in exploiting whatever the local
resources happen to be.
- specific environmental places - what native plants and animals were traditionally edible? Are they still available? Is that knowledge lost, or is it just harder to come by? Is it actually *possible* to eat a paleo diet specific to your place? These questions lead to such interesting and unique answers depending on the location, and give us paths to explore the local world around us. The point that across the entire planet, "paleolithic" diets would have been drastically different - but still nutritionally complete
- The current emphasis and publicity is that the Mediterranean diet and plant-based eating provide consistently healthier outcomes than meat-based diets
- is all about the right diet for someone's biochemical individuality. No one diet for everyone
- quinoa is a seed, why isn't it allowed on the paleo diet
i use to tell people that paleo is like eating like caveman, you know, nuts, seeds, berries, protein, healthy fats (avocados, coconut oil, etc.) and fruit. foods like we know them today. but the more i read and thought about it....i think we are far too removed from what cavemen use to eat. they didn't eat meat very often, depending on their environment. their diet consisted mostly of nuts and berries. and when they did find meat it must have been so different then what we eat now. native berries and plants and fats were so different to each environment and are those even available anymore?
all of this made me a bit confused. it rocked a little bit of my thinking of paleo. but then....
on friday i came down with strep throat, the effect of my daughter having it about 2 weeks ago. it gave me the opportunity to lie in bed and watch a movie i have been wanting to see for weeks now. the human diet. i felt like this movie was the opposite of all the comments and articles i had spent time reading the past week. i enjoyed the movie because it aligned with my belief system of eating but i did read comments of people that did not like the movie which i found interesting since it did not align with theirs.
which brings me to my conclusion after much pondering of it all. this is the right diet for Peter and me. and here are our reasons
- we were both heavy and over weight and this helps us maintain a desired weight
- it helped us remove all processed foods and sugar - which no matter how you eat this is the most important part of any lifestyle for optimal health
- we workout hard five times a week and find this diet helps us perform the best
- we eat paleo about 90% of the time. this help us keep this life style sustainable
- we have to keep in mind it's mostly a vegetarian diet with lean protein. it's not about eating huge amounts of protein but more vegetables with a small amount of protein, fruits and healthy fats.
- it helps us eat whole foods, organic as much as we can (and afford) and just being conscious of how we fuel our bodies.
I am sure my belief system will always be evolving and challenged. paleo may or may not always work for me....but whatever is next will align with what works best for me and my optimal health, an overall feeling of wellness, energy and living long and strong for my children.
what are you sure of? do you challenge your nutritional belief system?