I hear it all the time ‘Is the Paleo diet Good for You?’ or ‘Isn’t that Dangerous to Leave Out Food Groups’ or ‘How do You Get Calcium or Fiber or…..’
There’s a good chance you’ve heard people talk about the Paleo diet and the fact that is has worked for them. But is the concept of primal eating something that is based in scientific fact, or is this another one of those fad diets that will do more harm than good?
On the surface, there isn’t much to the Paleo diet. This process has you eating like our ancestors once did. After all, humans have continued to evolve over this time and the original diet was always enough for them to thrive on. They were also leaner, healthier, stronger and had better fitness than we did today. While it’s true we live longer today, that’s thanks to the fact that modern medicine can help many of the simple illnesses that once plagued ancient humans. So theoretically, if we use the Paleo diet and combine it with modern health findings, we should live longer, healthier lives. As the diet also promises, we’ll also have clearer skin and more energy.
So….Why Do We Care What Cavemen Ate?
Let’s look at the evolutionary process and understand how eating has evolved. Every man’s diet probably consisted of insects, fruits and leaves and occasionally an animal they could kill and eat. A diet that would work well for them, but probably wouldn’t give us the nutrition that we need to thrive on. I am not overly excited about eating the bugs in flying around in my yard.
As time progressed and fire was discovered, the foods we consumed began to change We moved on to fish, nuts, vegetables and other foods that provided us with the nutrients we needed to survive. In fact you might be surprised to find that the ancient humans managed to:
- Eat more fiber
- Eat more protein
- Take in more omega three fatty acids
- Eat more good fats
- Intake more vitamins and minerals
than those who are eating The Standard American Diet. That’s right. Despite the fact that we know what foods are good for us and what we should be eating, our diets are worse than those who had no medical evidence to tell them what amounts of food they should be eating. Instead, they simply survived on nutrient rich foods without second guessing it.
So How Bad is the Modern American Diet?
You know the way Americans eat probably isn’t the best. How many thin or muscular people did you see in town today? Chances are, most of the people you saw were packing some weight. That’s because of their diets and they could be slowly killing themselves in the process.
Let’s be realistic about what’s in your kitchen right now. If you need to lose weight, you aren’t filling up on fruits, vegetables and lean meats. You probably have soda in the fridge. There might be a cake or some brownies on the counter. Perhaps you have leftover pasta, chocolate milk and mac and cheese sitting in there. While you might think these foods taste great, they are the some of the worst possible things for you to eat. But they are a staple on the menu for so many Americans. In fact, studies show that there are six sources where the United States is getting the bulk of their calories from and they aren’t nutrient rich foods. They come from the following in order:
- Desserts (Cakes, Cookies and so on)
- Yeast based breads
- Chicken Dishes (Not roasted, but fried and breaded variations of this meat)
- Sweetened Beverages (Coke, Pepsi or whatever poison you like)
- Pizza (It doesn’t matter if you put veggies on it, the yeast, cheese and other junk are NOT healthy)
- Alcoholic beverages (Beer, Wine, Whiskey and so on)
As you look through this list of where most of your calories are coming from, what is the one thing you notice? The truth is that none of them are the foods our ancestors would eat. In fact, some of these items are giving us absolutely no nutritional value and just filling us full of empty calories and sugar that is taking a toll on our bodies. When you consider the Paleo diet, you begin to move away from the consumption of these foods. Instead, you go for foods that are clean nutrient sources that won’t damage your body.
After all, the way we are eating has has a huge impact on our lives. Studies has shown that obesity and linked diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease is on the rise. These numbers have spiked in the last 50 years and we’re on a dangerous pace to continue to shatter devastating health records if we don’t make a change. Since you know the biggest culprit is the western diet, what can you do? The solution is the Paleo diet.
What Do I Remove From My Diet and What Should I Add?
You need to start by “rethinking” what you thought was healthy. There are entire books devoted to the Paleo diet, but here are some guidelines to the basics:
- Meat (not processed!)
- Foods produced by animals (honey, eggs)
- Raw nuts
- Raw seeds
- Unprocessed plant and animal based fats (coconut oil or butter are examples)
So what foods should you remove from your diet? The Paleo diet would have you remove processed oils, dairy and grains of any kind. The reason is these are bad for your body and will actually cause more harm than good. While you might struggle to remove them, they are going to help you to look and to feel better in the long run.
While you may not care what a caveman ate, you will definitely care that if you ate more like him you could reverse many of your health problems, brain fog and feel SOOO much better. Isn’t it worth a try?
Well That’s Great But I Love ______! Why Should I Give It Up? ____ Says It is Good For Me!
This is a problem that people struggle with on the Paleo diet. There is “medical evidence” that “suggests” that some food isn’t actually bad for you. Here’s a simple way to address that. There’s a good chance you are familiar with eggs and that they are full of nutritional value. There was a time when eggs were to be avoided at all costs. The media went on a field day because studies suggested they were too high in cholesterol. Now, studies are suggesting they really aren’t all that bad for us.
That’s the problem with “studies” is they often focus on what a particular source wants to find. Heck, corn syrup producers even went to great lengths to suggest it is better for you than sugar and gathered evidence that suggests it might be. Despite endless medical research that suggests otherwise. So, a food might be “good” for you based on a finding, the Paleo diet has been proven to work for thousands of years and to be a safe and smart choice. The numbers don’t lie. Are people eating the low-fat standard American diet healthier than they ever have been? Ah….we haven’t found that to be the case either.
Trust me, I know it is hard. I went from a Standard American Diet to the Autoimmune Protocol…with NO CHEATING. Was it hard? Yep. Did it change my life AND my health? Yep. I wish I had done it sooner!!!
So Is The Paleo Diet Good for You? A Smart Choice?
Ultimately, the Paleo diet is a very smart choice. You will eat food free of junk that your body can’t digest well and is causing many chronic health issues that you may not even know you have. It puts a focus on eating whole foods and healing foods. It encourages a person to eat more fruits and vegetables and to focus on healthy fats in their diet. That makes it a great choice for anyone who wants to improve their overall health and to simply eat better.
Where Do We Begin?
If you want to improve your health with the Paleo diet, then you need to begin by accepting this is a lifestyle change. There is no room for “cheat days” or deciding that you want to only eat some of the foods on the diet and not give up others. It simply will not give the same results.
When you are able to reach that conclusion, begin by removing processed and refined foods from your home. Then replace them with the foods you should be eating. Add more nuts to your diet, whole animal foods, healthier fats and increase the fruits and vegetables that you consume. As you do this, pay attention to how you feel. Here is some help getting started…
Before long, you should begin to see real changes in how you look and you feel on this diet. In most cases, you’ll discover that you are in much better shape than you once were. There will be a noticeable improvement to your health and your waistline. You should also visibly look healthier as your skin begins to improve and people notice the changes. For many of us, it reversed chronic health issues that we thought we were a life-sentence.
Since the Paleo diet can do all that and more, why not consider giving it a chance today? Could you give it at least 30 days?
You will be glad that you did.
- The Paleo Diet Plan – What it is and Why You Should Try It
- What is Wrong with Soy?
- What’s Wrong with Dairy?
- What’s Wrong with Legumes?
Want more proof? References about the science behind the diet: