A few months ago, I had never even heard of “The Paleo Diet.” If you’d asked me what it was, I probably would have said “sounds like another fad diet.”
Over the last three months, I have learned alot about Paleo. I don’t like to call it a diet, because, when you hear that word, you assume that it is just a tool for weight loss (that must be accompanied by shakes, bars, books, and pills). And while it is effective for weight-loss, I have learned that it is more a tool for good health. It’s a way of eating that resembles the way our ancestors would have eaten before the rise of agriculture.
Honestly, I wish it were called something else. The term “paleo” comes from the word “paleolithic,” which refers to a prehistoric era also known as “the stone age.” Most Paleo-supporters are evolutionists who believe that our ancestors came from monkeys, and lived millions of years ago.
I am a creationist. I believe that God created the World in seven days, and that He supplied humankind with plants and animals for food.
Therefore, my motivation for eating this way is not to replicate “our ancestors.” I would rather look at it as going back to how Adam and Eve probably ate in the Garden of Eden, and to how all humans ate before so many new foods, and new preparation processes, were developed.
The way I see it, things were just fine, and people were healthier, before humans decided to tamper with the foods our bodies were wired to eat in an effort to make everything more convenient for themselves. In today’s fast-paced world, almost everything is processed, and foods are very far from their original state. It’s a fact that the health of humans has continued to decrease as we get farther and farther from the original menu.
Beyond the historical aspect of eating Paleo, the health aspect of this diet just makes sense. Before we get into that, let me give you a picture of what the diet actually looks like.
Paleo foods are meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, good fats, nuts, and seeds (can you picture the Garden of Eden?). These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy carbohydrates. There are millions of choices for delicious food combinations here!
Here is a look at which foods are not Paleo foods: grains, sugar, legumes, processed foods, and dairy products are all no-no’s. It may sound like I’m saying that the standard American diet is an unhealthy diet. That is exactly what I’m saying (though you can basically just look at the people around you to know that).
It is probably obvious that sugar and processed foods are bad for you. But why the “no grains or legumes” rule? Well, aside from the fact that they are very low in vitamins, grains are also known as gut irritants. When your gut is irritated, you cannot properly digest your food, and you are therefore unable to absorb the vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, etc. This means that grains are basically empty calories, and that they cancel out the healthy calories that you may also be eating. Gut irritation also leads to inflammation in our bodies. This inflammation can present itself in various forms, from bloating to autoimmune diseases. Also, both grains and legumes are insulin-spiking, dense carbohydrates. Constant insulin-spikes are a great way to get on a path toward diabetes. Need I say more?
Dairy is not always bad, but more often than not it delivers adverse effects rather than healthy benefits. If you do have any dairy, I recommend trying it after your first 30 days. Then add it in slowly and see what happens (when I tried this I discovered why I’d always had problems with facial blemishes… no more dairy for me!) Then make sure you purchase organic (free of hormones and antibiotics), and preferably grass-fed dairy products.
Beyond all the science-speak, the results of eating a Paleo diet speak for themselves. To have a look at my personal results after my initial 30-Day Challenge, click here.
In future posts, I am planning to go more in-depth on why to avoid grains, legumes, sugar, etc. I also want to explain how grains got the biggest section of the American Food Pyramid. But for now, I hope you have a clearer picture of what a Paleo diet actually looks like.
If you need more information right away, check out Robb Wolf’s FAQ page.