In this article I would like to deal, in one place, with what I think are the 5 big questions that I hear frequently, in relation to adoption of a Paleo Lifestyle. Hopefully this will dispel some myths and better inform readers of the difference between a Paleo Diet and a Paleo Lifestyle
In all of my Paleo articles I spend time stressing that I do not see paleo as a diet. The reason for this is that, in my opinion, diet has become a much misused word. It implies a treatment for something gone wrong; most often weight control. In my mind this gives it a quite negative connotation that brings with it visions of constraint and limitation that I think cause psychological blockers to long term success. The notion being that a diet is something that you ‘go on’ and then when you reach your targeted result you ‘come off’ it.
The reality is that this kind of ‘dieting’ seldom provides the dieter with a sustained result and what actually happens is what a friend of mine would call the heart attack cycle……..diet, improvement, plateau, fall off, weight regain, depression, next diet experiment and off we go again!
What Is The Origin of Paleo
The Origin of The Word Paleo
In simple terms Paleo is short for Palaeolithic which is a period of human prehistory, a large part of which covers the existence of our ancestors Hominins. The term Palaeolithic was coined by John Lubbock in 1865, its derivation is Greek and it essentially means Stone Age. This is a reference to the tools used by hominids for the largest part of the 3.3 million years that the period covers.
From this description you can guess why the Paleo Diet is often called the Caveman Diet!
The simple hypothesis is that until about 10,000 years ago, which heralds the beginning of primitive farming, plant and animal cultivation, the use of fire and cooking, Homonins were hunter-gatherers and their physiology was tuned over 3.3 million years to cope with that diet.
The 10,000 year period, referred to above, when cultivated, beans, pulses, grains, dairy and processed carbohydrates came into the Homosapien food chain, is not long enough for our physiology to have properly adapted to these foodstuffs.
The hypothesis would therefore go on to suggest that many of the ills that we see involving insulin based illnesses high blood pressure, gut irritation and weight gain leading to obesity are inevitable for this reason.
Paleo therefore concentrates on cutting out those cultivated and processed elements of the food chain listed above that have only become available in the last 10,000 years. Bread by the way did not appear in Europe until about 5,000 years ago and even later in certain areas of Western Europe including the British Isles.
Why Is It Different from Keto
There are many similarities as there are to the well-known Atkins diet when we examine the emphasis on limiting processed carbohydrates. The biggest difference between the two is the exclusion of Dairy in Paleo and the emphasis on fats in Keto.
In macro terms Paleo restricts particular food groups as listed above while Keto is about controlling and balancing the macro nutrients to force a physiological effect.
Can I Be A Paleo Vegetarian
I really am asked this question quite often
My personal opinion is that this is almost impossible if in the first instance one subscribes to the need for protein in a diet. As dairy is not part of the Paleo regime the exclusion of meat would mean that protein sources would be sought in legumes such as soy and tofu, which again are not part of the Paleo regime.
So again in simple terms if you are a vegetarian then you are a vegetarian not a Paleo lifestyler LOL.
Is Paleo OK For Children
I have written a post about this Paleo and Kids Some Advice which you can read for more detail on the subject and I intend to do more research on this for other upcoming posts as it is becoming a more frequent question popping up in the commentary in my posts.
That said my basic line while I do that research is that we need to be quite cautious with our children’s diets as they are growing and developing. I would advocate as far as possible that we should be centred on making sure that they are getting the freshest, healthiest, organic where possible, produce that you can get into them. As with Paleo it makes sense to ensure that their meat protein sources are coming from free-range humane, home kill, grass or pasture fed animal stock.
Sta away from the sugary drinks and confectionery (sugar is the killer) pre and adolescent obesity and diabetes and another like conditions are on the rise and we need to address this.
Jury is out on dairy I am looking for some clinical evidence that proves, or otherwise, that dairy is either greatly beneficial or greatly harmful to our children.
The final point here is about achieving balance for our children as I will address in the next section of this post.
Balance Is All
Again, I have some consistent messaging for readers of Paleo Posts:
- I do not subscribe to slavish adherence to a Paleo Diet (read my question answered above)
- For me it is about balance in all things, Paleo works for my physiology it might not for yours.
- Whatever your chosen dietary regime resist making an episodic experience it should be a lifestyle that balances:
- Fresh, healthy, organic, humanely sourced foodstuffs
- Regular appropriate exercise
- Good sleep hygiene
- Healthy social interaction
- Medication in a form that suits you
Above all, you should be happy if you adopt a lifestyle that makes you miserable, then it is most probably the wrong lifestyle.
Guidance Feedback and Comment
Here for the first time?
If you are reading this Paleo article for the first time it might help to see what food items make up the Paleo Lifestyle please go and have a look at my Paleo Food List for Beginners. This will give you a very good idea of the healthy and fulfilling options that are available to you in moving away from the processed, salt heavy diets that many of us suffer today
Need a good guide to hand?
I have written a review on the Paleo Beginners Guide a book available through Amazon.com if you wished to have something to hand to get you started as a ready and available reference. If you click through and buy it via my review it will cost you no more than if you go to Amazon direct. I can highly recommendation it
Feedback and Comments
I would be delighted to accept any feedback or commentary on this article and I guarantee to reply to any comment left within one working day.
I hope that you have found this useful and that I have achieved what I set out to do in writing this article; you my readers are the best judges of that!
Be healthy and have fun.
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