Through media coverage and people I know, I have been hearing more about the paleo diet recently. I even frequently see food bloggers post “paleo-friendly” versions of foods.
First off, what is the paleo diet? The paleo diet is based on the idea that we would be healthier if we followed the diet our ancient ancestors did before the beginning of agriculture. Basically, a hunter-gatherer type of diet. No grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, salt, refined sugar, or processed foods are allowed. Meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils are permitted.
Does the diet work? We don’t really know yet. Like most low-carb diets, there is some research showing weight loss or improved blood sugar control while following the diet. But conclusive evidence on long-term health is not available at this time.
My opinion: like all “diets”, it has good and bad points. Getting away from processed and refined foods is a good thing. Eating more fruits and vegetables is also great. I don’t agree with cutting out all grains, legumes, and dairy. Bone health is one of my pet concerns, so I’m never happy to see calcium sources being cut out of the diet. Whole grains and legumes provide wonderful fiber and great protein with less fat than meat.
I also read an interesting comment about the premise of this diet. The author mentioned that there was no single diet in the paleolithic era. People all over the world ate different foods based on where they were. Some people were able to gather wild grains, others weren’t. Stone-age people also often died fairly young due to the extreme conditions they lived under, making it difficult to know if the diet was actually “healthy” in the long-term.
This adds further fuel to my fire. There wasn’t one perfect diet 12,000 years ago, and there isn’t one today. Eat a balanced, mixed diet of foods that will nourish and sustain your body. Happy eating!
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!