Diet Facts and Fads: The Paleo Diet

A dish fitting the Paleolithic diet: Seafood stew

Which diets are worth our attention and which ones are best left alone? I can help you understand more about how to eat well – from the perspective of a doc who knows how food works in your body.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Followers of the Paleo Diet say it’s important to go back…WAY back to the days of hunters and gatherers (the Paleothic Era) for our food inspiration. A time when humans were not plagued with diet-related conditions like diabetes.

The Paleo Diet cuts out foods that were not part of the presumed paleolithic human’s diet – foods like grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods. The paleo diet focuses on foods our bodies were designed to eat. The idea is that a lot of our modern diseases, like diabetes, are diet-related, and can be alleviated by this type of diet.

Are you wondering what foods Paleo Dieters are left to choose from?

Paleo foods are not comfort foods…not yet. Given our cultural preference for consuming something starchy at every meal, it might take some time to get used to not having your bread and pasta. However, there are beautiful meals to be made from grass-fed meats, fish, organic fruits, roots, nuts/seeds and vegetables. Try some Paleo recipes and see for yourself.

Keep in mind that when you substitute processed foods for raw produce and meat, you are consuming more vitamins and minerals. The health benefits that are said to result from this way of eating are happier digestion and better mood. Paleo Dieters also experience improved sleep patterns, clearer skin, and even reduced allergies!

Some scientists dispute the purported benefits of this diet, but there are several reasons why this diet is a good idea.

Should I go Paleo?

The average American consumes way too many grains and processed foods and could easily benefit from increased consumption of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and clean, lean protein. That’s why I like the Paleo Diet.

Many people have food sensitivities to gluten, dairy and soy, and the Paleo Diet makes it easy to eliminate these foods. And, of course, cutting processed foods out of your diet is my number one recommendation for healthier eating.

However, if you are a vegetarian, the Paleo Diet is not for you because you won’t be able to get all the nutrients you need.

If the Paleo Diet sounds right up your alley, here are some easy steps you can take to get started. Pick up Loren Cordain’s, The Paleo Diet Cookbook, full of great recipes and information on going paleo.

Remember, dietary changes can be more effective if you start small, let each small change form itself into a habit. Start by eliminating foods, one at a time, and see how your body responds. Before you know it, you will be saying goodbye to all of the packaged, processed items and hello to fresh meats and vegetables!

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