Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paleo Diet

Finally! An article that validates what I have been saying for years! The Paleo Diet is not all it is cracked up to be!

The article and I have many similar points. You can click on the link above and read through it or you can muddle through my rant! I am not a nutritionist, just a woman with a view point (much more dangerous). Many who follow the Paleo diet ramble about how much healthier Paleolithic man was than we are today, which I find a bit absurd considering the average lifespan was significantly less then than today and because we have little information on the entire population of Paleolithic man and thus cannot make claims to disease and other health issues, but there are other points I would like to address further.

First (and this is my weakest argument because I don't know a lot about the science of it all) I don't support any diet that completely cuts out an entire food group, legitimate allergies aside. You need all of the different food groups to have a balanced diet. It especially bothers me when people cut out an entire food group then work hard to find replacements for the foods they miss and crave. I cannot tell you how many times I have stumbled and pinned past recipes for "flour less paleo brownies" made with black beans and ground up flax seed or something ridiculous like that. Or bread made from a ground up root substitute. People are looking to replace these items because 1) they like them and 2) they can be ok for your body.

Second, Paleolithic man was not healthy because of dietary choices "he" made, but because of circumstances. Paleolithic man was pre-history, pre-civilization, and pre-farming. All of Paleolithic Man's day was consumed with hunting and gathering. That is it. As they walked around looking for game they would forage for berries, nuts, and fruit. Do you know why they ate these foods? Because it was what they could find! A Paleo diet consisted of certain foods because that is all they had. They had no settled life where they could grow lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard seeds, wheat, and other products and they had no ability to raise cattle for beef and milk. Thus there is no way they could have cut up said lettuce, tomato, and onions, they couldn't make the wheat into bread, they couldn't work the mustard seeds into mustard, they couldn't milk a cow and make cheese, nor could they slaughter said cow for ground beef. That means no cheeseburger for Mr. Paleo. not think for one minute that if Mr. Paleo came across a "cheeseburger tree" that he wouldn't partake in it. Do not think that Mr. Paleo would not grub down on all sorts of "forbidden" foods that the Paleo diet tells you not to eat. Paleolithic man ate the way he did because he had no other choice.

Speaking of choice, the Paleo diet used by many here today isn't even a true Paleo diet. While genetic modification of foods is a hot topic in today's nutrition world, the truth of the matter is, human beings have genetically modified all crops grown in the world since the agricultural revolution. Through selective and cross breeding, the food we eat today bares little resemblance to the food of Mr. Paleo. Additionally, supporters of the Paleo diet forget that we live in a global society, one in which you can vary your diet by simply going to the grocery store and picking out new produce. Paleolithic man did not have that option. Mr. Paleo in modern day Southern areas of Russia had access to all of the apples they wished, but could not pair those apples with tomatoes which are native to the Americas. Paleolithic man was restricted to eating locally grown food. There was no Central Market.

Which brings me to my next point, the reason Paleolithic man was restricted to eating locally was because Mr. Paleo had to walk everywhere, which is reason enough for being healthy. In order to do anything, in order to get food, in order to find a water source, Mr. Paleo walked. If you or I walked as much as Paleolithic man did, we would be healthy as well. We are talking about people that probably walked upwards of 20-30 miles a day. Sometimes, that walking was running in order to escape from predators, rival tribes, and other disasters. For Paleolithic man, his "diet" was simple, eat what you can find because your calorie intake is more than likely going to be way less than your calorie expenditure.

Now I do not doubt that people who eat Paleo feel better after they begin their diet. My firm belief is that this is for two reasons 1) you are probably paying more attention to your food intake than before which naturally leads to being more conscientious about substance and portion control and 2) you are probably eating cleaner which means that you are consuming less processed food and focusing on more natural forms of food. If this is what works for you, then by all means, I encourage you to continue. But don't kid yourself into thinking that this is how Paleolithic man ate because he would surely eat any of those foods you pass up.

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