Thursday, September 12, 2013

Going Paleo?

I remember a friend telling me a while ago that they were eating "Paleo" often times nicknamed "The Caveman Diet".  After a very brief description of what eating Paleo entailed, I remember thinking "Oh my god! I could NEVER do that".  I had forgotten all about that conversation until recently when I stumbled upon a popular blog I had just started reading.  I was checking out a post for a healthy version of the old favorite, chocolate chip cookies, when I began to read the entire post.  The author explained how some of her ingredient choices were due to the fact her boyfriend was on the Paleo diet, and with that I opened a new tab and Goggled  The Paleo Diet.  At first glance I realized I was researching the same diet my friend had mentioned to me a while back, but the more I read the more intrigued I became with the science behind the idea of eating Paleo/Primal.  It is based on modern foods that mimic the food groups our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.  It is also not a diet but rather a lifestyle.

I found two things most interesting when reading up on the Paleo Lifestyle.

1) Food.  What has happened to our food? Agriculture!  We are the only species who have dramatically changed the foods we were meant to eat.  When humans discovered farming, the agricultural revolution exploded, and we became farmers instead of hunter-gatherers. The problem however is that our bodies never adjusted to eating all the grains that we began farming.  Now, rather than mainly eating meat, vegetables and fruits, our diets have been overrun with grains (bread, pasta, rice, and corn). 

Beyond that we have become taken over by processed foods, genetically modified foods, and junk food that cost a fraction of what real food does.  
2) Dairy.  Did you know that we are the only mammals that drink another mammals milk?  Or that we are the only mammals that continue to drink milk after infancy? Some believe that the reason so many people have issues when it comes to dairy is because we are born producing the enzyme lactase, which gives us the ability to digest milk by breaking down lactose, but that we stop producing it around the age of two since it is only meant to aid in our digestion of breast milk.

I was a little nervous when I decided to take on the challenge of eating Paleo,  but when I began looking at all the foods I could eat rather than the ones I couldn't, it didn't seem so daunting.  After eating Paleo for only a week I noticed changes.  For one I didn't feel hungry all the time! I remember reading an article that told you not to worry about always eating three meals a day and to only eat when you were hungry.  I didn't think I would actually feel that way but I did.  I also found that when I stopped eating processed food I stopped craving processed food.  I could already feel my energy increasing as well. 

It is a big change for a lot of people and most go into it making slow changes over time.  A lot of people also eat an 80/20 or 90/10 version of Paleo allowing themselves certain foods weather it be milk or bread etc.  There are so many health benefits to eating Paleo and would encourage you to do a bit of research yourself and look into it with an open mind.  

A quick list of some Paleo foods:

You can eat as much of these as you want: 
Wild seafood
Organ meat
Fats – tallow, lard, ghee
Oils - coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil
In moderation:
Nuts (peanuts are not nuts) :(
Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
Dark Chocolate
Dried fruits
Raw honey
For a more detailed list you can check out this LIST

To learn more you can check out Dr Loren Cordain's Web Site.  He is the world's leading expert on Paleolithic Diets and the founder of the Paleo Movement.

Do you eat Paleo? Would you ever try eating Paleo?

1 comment:

  1. A lot of people I know are doing Paleo Diets...but I just can't convince myself it is something I want to do! Good luck to you though.