The Paleo Diet
Before I begin, let me just say that Diet is not exactly the right word here. ‘Going Paleo’ is more of a life style change than a diet, however The Paleo Diet tends to be the common nick name. It is not a diet at all. It is an approach to getting and nutrition that boycotts mass production and genetically modified foods. It is about eating in the quantities and qualities that nature intended.
The Paleo Diet is based on the idea that humans have not evolved as fast as our food. At the moment farming methods, plant and meat production for consumption and shipping of produce around the world has steamed ahead of our bodies ability to digest these changes. The diet suggests that while our bodies remain instinctual, primal and natural, the foods that we eat today and the way its produced it does not meet our needs.
Diet has been blamed for many changes in our lifestyles, including the rise and epedemic of autoimmune disorders around the world. Research is now showing a very clear connection between diet and autoimmune disease; and from this there are many people who have been able to cure the autoimmune diseases through changing their diet and lifestyle.
How do you do it?
You eat foods that are still in the same state and quantity that they were grown in. For example, a hand full of rice – no rice cakes. Your diet will consist of Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, Grains and a little Milk. Yum. You would be very surprised by the amazing things you can eat on the Paleo Diet.
You get rid of all the processed food in your cupboard and you buy a bigger fridge!
Ok, so you don’t need to buy a bigger fridge, but when you are eating paleo, that is where most of your shopping will end up. We no longer have cans and packets and boxes of flower in the cupboard. We have a fridge full of veggies, eggs, meat and fruit. Our cupboard looks empty, with just oils and spices and nut to fill the shelves. There are a few packets of cacao nibs and freeze-dried raspberries but it still looks bare.
There are so many resources out there to help you get started.
- The Autoimmune Paleo Cook Book, by Mickey Trescott.
- Trescott has created a wonderful companion for anyone interesting in tackling their autoimmune disorder through diet. It is a beautiful hardcover cookbook that has already been well thumbed in our house. I am actually eating one of her recipes as I type this. It is delicious and my fingers are all oily and sticky and taste nice.
- The Paleo Approach, by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph D.
- Sarah Ballantyne has an unbelievable story to tell, and if you haven’t heard about what she achieved through diet and lifestyle changes, then you need to. Her blog can be found here. This is a book based on science and is a great read. Full of heaps of recipes and an actual plan to help you make the changes you need to heal.
- Make Peace with Your Plate, by Jess Ainscough.
- Jess does not mention the Paleo Diet in her book on changing your life one meal at a time. She talks about eating fresh, natural, raw vegetables and fruits. She advocates the incredible benefits of eating untouched, unprocessed chemical foods. This book is incredible and very inspiring. Although she may hate me writing this, she is a very good example of Vegetarian Paleo.
Criticisms of the Paleo Diet
Why would you eat like a caveman, they died at like 40, didn’t they? Yes, cavemen did die a lot earlier than us, but they did not always die of a poor diet. Cavemen were known to have been killed by other animals, each other, cold, illness injuries and mother nature herself.
It is too boring. The Paleo diet is often seen as a difficult diet to stick to because of the limitations people associate with eating paleo. When at first you are told all the things you can’t eat, it can seem depressing because you are used to eating those foods, you know how to cook them and you have favourite meals. When you focus on all the things you can eat on the paleo diet, including the enormous portion sizes (Paleo doesn’t have portion sizes-you can eat as much as you want) you start to see all the possibilities.
It is too expensive and just a diet for rich people. It is true, the paleo diet is expensive. Fresh vegetables are more expensive that packet pasta, nuts are more expensive than breakfast cereals, meat is more expensive than rice. The Paleo diet is a lifestyle choice that needs to be prioritised. When you spend good money on good food, you will spend less money on your health, and on trying to feel better.
Also, remember that on the Paleo diet, you actually tend to eat less because you are so satisfied with the nutrient rich and sustaining foods you are eating, it is wonderful.
You can’t eat Paleo if you are a Vegetarian. This myth has already been disproved by Jess Ainscough in her wonderful book, the Wellness Warrior. She does a far better job than me of singing the praises of healthy eating.
I have now been eating paleo or some version of it for three years. I can’t remember what it’s like to eat pasta and crave buttery bread. Luck I wrote it all down in these few blog posts
- Going Paleo – Week One – Fast weight loss, discovering new foods and cleaning out the processed food from the cupboards.
- Going Paleo – Week Two – Feeling a dramatic increase in energy and starting to explain my choices to others.
- Going Paleo – Week Three – Making mistakes, bribing myself and realising how much water it takes to digest a bowl of pasta.
- Going Paleo – Week Four – Feeling amazing and solving the breakfast dilemma.