Everywhere you look, everyone is promising you how if you would just do what they say, they can turn you into that one girl in that thing you pinned on pinterest where she’s laying on her back and you can see her hip bones. You know the one.
This series is going to talk about a few of those most popular plans and the promises they make. We’ll discuss the premise of the plan, some pros and cons, and what the final verdict is. We are going to cover a little more than the basics, but know that the really nitty gritty details of these plans are beyond the scope of this series.
Today, let’s talk about the Paleo Diet.
Eat like a caveman. Which isn’t quite as simple as it sounds- because which cavemen are we talking about? The ones that ate mostly plants? The ones that hunted and ate lots of meat? Or the ones that lived near the coast and ate a lot of seafood? “Caveman” itself isn’t well defined in this diet, but I digress. Despite the many different ways this basic premise could be interpreted, the actual Paleo diet is pretty straightforward on the surface. The idea is that humans weren’t made to eat things that have to be processed in a factory or packaged just so in order not to spoil for years, they were made to eat the things that we naturally find on the earth. Things like vegetables and fruits, fish, grass-fed meats, eggs, plant fats. No grains (whole or otherwise), dairy, or legumes.
By following the paleo guidelines, you will automatically be taking in more protein, fiber, good fats, and other vitamins and minerals, while decreasing your carbohydrate and bad fat intake, as well as things like dairy and grains. Doing so will naturally decrease your risk of health problems like heart disease and diabetes, while helping you lose weight.
- Obviously a diet higher in fruits and vegetables and other naturally occurring foods is a good idea for your health, as is eliminating processed food from your diet as much as possible.
- Following the plan will lead to a very (if not totally) clean diet.
- The diet forces you to eat many good-for-you nutrients while eliminating many bad-for-you foods.
- It also lends itself to making you feel fuller for longer. Between that and how limited the food options are, many people on this diet will lose weight.
- The biggest downfall to this diet is how strict and narrow it is. It eliminates many foods, including those that are not necessarily bad for you, like dairy and whole grains.
- You have to make sure you are finding suitable replacements for the nutrients that you would no longer be getting from those foods.
- It is also an inconvenient diet, as most paleo meals take longer to prepare and are often more expensive. This makes it a difficult diet to adhere to.
- Another potential issue with a strict paleo diet is increasing your intake of meats, particularly red meats, and doing so can actually increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems.
- Furthermore, believe it or not, carbs are not the enemy, and a balanced diet includes a fair amount of carbs. It would be difficult to get all the carbs we need from fruits and vegetables alone.
- The diet is also likely inadequate for athletes and others who do intense workouts because you’re not taking in enough carbs to fuel the workouts.
There are a lot of pros to the paleo diet, and following it can lead to some serious health benefits such as weight loss and a decreased risk for many health problems. The issue with this diet is that it is so strict. Yes, we should eat less bread, pasta, cookies, ice cream, and doritos. Cutting down on foods that are processed and/or high in fat, simple carbs, and other empty calories, is a great idea for improving your health. However, it seems unnecessary (and perhaps detrimental) to eliminate the whole grains, legumes, and dairy food groups. As with most other things in life, moderation is key. The paleo principles are solid and healthful ones, but may be a bit too extreme for most of our every day lives. I mean, I don’t know about you guys, but I need a treat every now and then (ok, like every day). Good takeaways from this diet include cutting down on processed foods while focusing more on clean foods, eating plenty of protein throughout the day by including it in every meal, and finding a balance in your diet of protein, good fats, and good carbs.
Are you a paleoer (paleoite? paleoean?)? Thinking about trying it? What do you think of the diet?