I’m sure you have all heard this word been knocking around. There is a lot of confusion to what Paleo is as it has many versions.
Paleo Defined: The effort to optimise human health today by examining our evolutionary or ancestral Past such as Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Sun exposure and social connections.
Back in the caveman era we had a lot less, if at all, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, strokes, cancer to name just a few modern day issues
Today however with modern day eating habits and all the manufacturing that we are doing in our foods, these diseases turn rampant… and this is where Paleo comes in.
So what do you eat on a Paleo Diet. There are a number of different versions as stated before but a true paleo can be quite strict:
‘Eating from the land’ is a good way to summarise it. If it doesn’t come straight from the land (or wild), you don’t eat it.
Examples: Grass fed meats, wild caught fish/seafood, fresh fruit (not canned, dried or juiced), fresh vegetables, free range eggs, small amount of nuts and seeds, healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, avocado, coconut oil).
Examples of Stuff you CAN’T eat: Grains/cereals, legumes/lentils, dairy, anything containing refined sugar/processed flour, potatoes/yams, squash, high sodium foods (beef jerky, canned foods) any processed snack foods, refined foods, most condiments/sauces, artificial sweeteners, fatty processed foods, alcohol (small amount of wine permitted).
(That last one is the reason I could never fully follow a Paleo diet.)
Judging by that list, it seems like you are just cutting out stuff you KNOW to be bad for you, so you could just follow a healthy diet and call it Paleo, but we live in a world where eating a chocolate bar is more normal than an apple.
Now some benefits of following the diet…
Improved Blood Glucose control (avoids blood sugar spikes followed by crashes which leads to slumps and cravings), This in turn will lower the risk of diabetes.
Stabilised energy levels (healthy fat will provide ongoing energy throughout the day as the fat breaks down).
Reduced inflammation (inflammation is good short term as it’s necessary to heal infection or injury, but when it occurs on a systematic level it becomes chronic and dangerous).
Improve Immune System.
OK, so we’ve spoken about the benefits, but what are the potential flaws as there is always a negative to every positive in this not so perfect world.
Sustainability. Can you sustain such a ‘strict’ diet for a long period of time with to many temptations around, I know I couldn’t.
Calorie Control (eating steaks, eggs, nuts and oils all day would almost certainly make you gain weight as fat is 9cal per gram).
High intense exercise performance (low carb diet coupled with intense sessions are a bad combination. You cannot break down fat fast enough to supply energy to the working muscle tissues in time for when they need it).
Lack of Calcium.
Lack of Vitamin D.
So my conclusion is…
You can take many benefits from this way of life (as it’s known to some and not just a diet). I would say the benefits far outweighs the negatives on a long term scale. But it is by no means for everyone. Some who needs plenty of carbs in their diet would struggle.
You could take one step further and even get a tailored paleo programme to your lifestyle which could guarantee certain results.
If you would like to try this way of eating and see if it is right for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or a member of my team.