The Paleo lifestyle has its critics, possibly in equal number to its support base, and you will often find on the internet articles that talk about the problems with the Paleo diet.
In the interests of transparency and expediency I am going to help you by dealing with the classic issues which are often raised in relation to Paleo eating . Ultimately it remains up to you to make your own choice, about what you do, but I find that it is always better to make a choice, when we are informed and educated about our choice options.
I hope that you find this useful…..
The Caveman Sobriquet
The Caveman Diet
I have just always wanted to use that word sobriquet in a Blog applied appropriately. Click on it if unfamiliar with the word and you will be taken to a fuller explanation, so now that I can tick that off my bucket list on with the story LoL
But seriously; The Paleo diet has become known popularly as the Cavemen Diet. This is a great shorthand label that relates it to the basic precept upon which it is built, which is around the Palaeolithic Period of Humanity and the potential diet of that time (no one really knows but we work on the available archaeological evidence).
Paleo In Simple Terms
Just prior to 10,000 years ago we would dine on meat, wild vegetables and seasonal fruits. Now our species has developed a dependency on grains( mostly bread and baked goods), pasta, rice, corn, and cow’s milk along with its associated processed biprodcuts.
The statistics would now suggest that as many as 66% of us are overweight, while 33% of us are considered obese, and the numbers get worse, year-on-year.
The Paleo theory says that we should eat as we are biologically developed to eat, triggering our natural genetic tendencies and thereby live healthier lives.
There is a down point to the Caveman sobriquet and to the associations therein. Simply put it provides ammunition for the purists, zealots and Paleo extremists to ask some secret police type questions about how you are applying your own interpretation of the lifestyle.
My Philosophical Stance
Lets just be clear here, no one is going to get drummed out of the Paleo Brownie pack because they had dairy cheese on a non Paleo cracker! You will now have worked out, if you are new to my Blog that I am not a Paleo fundamentalist. I follow Paleo principles as a part of a sensible balanced lifestyle which you can read about in many of my other posts on this Paleo site.
What I am attempting to say, in my own clumsy way, is that while I understand, and accept, the logic that says modern food chain techniques have accelerated beyond our natural ability to adapt, our digestive and metabolic physiology, over time, I am not about slavishly adhering to an imaginary diet that at best we have made an educated guess.
I want people to feel comfortable and enjoy the Paleo lifestyle and if that means being slightly liberal or ‘naughty’ on occasions then so be it, go ahead and have cheese once a month or a half cup of rice every second Friday. You will soon work out what works for you and what doesn’t
I do think it wise, when starting Paleo, that for the first 14 days you stay true to the fundamental principles, and then introduce the ‘forbidden fruits’, such as dairy, rice, pasta and bread to suit your own tolerance over time if you really cannot do with some or all.
Let’s move on to look at those perceived problems with the Paleo diet…………
The Paleo Diet is Expensive
While Paleo gurus recommend, where possible, to eat organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken, and grass-fed proteins we acknowledge also just how expensive these items can be in your standard grocery store. Farmers’ markets often have good value meats, free-range eggs, fruit, and vegetables, grown locally, fresh and beneficial to your local economy and community well-being.
I would argue that you cannot put a price on health and even if you do have to consider spending a wee bit more you are seeing a return on that investment by securing better long term health and potentially less medical bills down the track.
I find that on Paleo because I am not on the insulin blood sugar roundabout caused by starchy carbohydrates, I am hungry less and eat less. Not saying that will absolutely level out the costs but it is an important consideration.
If pushed then just try to buy lots of non organic fresh fruit and vegetables (more veg than fruit) and buy lean meats to offset the omega 6, omega 3, imbalance caused by grain feeding. Do stay away from the baked goods, dairy and starches like rice and pasta. Look to cut down as much as possible foods with added salt, lots of sugar, additives and over processed production methods.
Cavemen Had Shorter Lives Than Us
How can a caveman diet be good for us, when they lived so much shorter lives than us, despite not having to contend with the myriad of clinical diseases we now have?
Its true! Archaeological studies of Neolithic settlements suggest that if homo sapiens managed to reach age 15 then he may well survive through to the grand old age of 43-45.
But this was just because of the harsh realities of life for a hunter-gatherer future that did everything by hand and on foot and suffered extremes of temperature between seasons and were themselves an integral part of the Palaeolithic food chain!
Anyway the point being that we have no desire to live like cavemen, but we would like to eat as healthily as they did, in line with their physiological development, which, incidentally, has changed little in 10,000 years. This is despite the fact that agriculture and food processing has outstripped our physiology’s ability to yet adapt to the rapid human intervention, that has given rise to a 66% overweight population, with 33% in or close to, clinically obesity and all the associated medical dilemmas associated with that.
Other Societies Eat Grains Without being Overweight
Seems the ‘goto’ piece of evidence to support this. Heading statement is the ‘The
China Study’. Hugely popular with Paleo Bashers LoL. It focuses on a vegetable and rice diet to be perceived as healthier than Paleo.
Of course the China study is now a decade old and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. The study has been questioned at best, and
discredited at worst, in a number of areas, not the least of which is the misrepresentation of the large parts of the statistical data and some leaps in logic swept under the table by the fundamentalist vegan community. You can read more of this in detail here What the China Study Gets Wrong About Vegan Diets
Anyway it is a complete distraction let’s get back to paleo shall we……
Paleo Is A Meat Diet – Meat is Unhealthy
Nice try fundamentalists and food extremists and fundamentalists; pays to validate source material and research properly before making outrageous and inaccurate claims.
Paleo is far from an all meat dietary regime, bearing little or no resemblance to Keto or Atkins. The truth is that the most significant event of Paleo is vegetables.
When following Paleo properly what you will find in every main menu is a palm of the hand size portion of healthy (free-range chicken, grass-fed beef or pork, wild fish, hormone and intervention free) protein alongside a generous serving of fresh vegetables or salad. Although fruit is good it is consumed in moderation given the natural sugars content ( always a better way of consuming sugar than refined sources.
Paleo is Just Too Restrictive
This may be a valid criticism depending on how important those things are to you, that just do not form part of the ‘hard over’ Paleo food list.
But do you know what I am not here to convince you to do what you don’t want to do. I am not what I like to call a Paleoterrorist!
If the Paleo food list is restrictive (by the way I have never been hungry on Paleo) then my suspicion is that any dietary regime is going to be restrictive for the person that has that frame of mind.
I have been quite up front in all of my posts on this Blog, I am neither fundamentalist Paleo nor am I fond of the modern connotation of diet ( something that you do for a period, lose a stone or 20 pounds in weight, and then immediately release the floodgates and put it all back on again)
No no, no! Any true dietary regime is about changing for good, the way you look at, feel about, and consume food along with all the other things you do with your life (exercise, sleep hygiene, meditation or mindfulness) to complement your dietary regime.
If you want the former I will be unable to help you on these pages, if you want the latter, then we have a basis for a happy and enlightened discussion.
Reading This Blog For The First Time?
If you Find yourself on my website for the first time you may find it helpful to know what food items are included as part of the Paleo Lifestyle. Paleo Food List for Beginners looks at healthier options, that make moving away from the heavily processed, salt loaded diets, that many suffer today, easy to contemplate.
A Good Staring Guide to Have to Hand?
Paleo Beginners Guide is a book which is available through Amazon.com. It is a great reference to have to hand when setting out on the Paleo journey. Should you click through the link and purchase via my review it will cost you no more than had you gone to Amazon direct. I can highly recommend it to you. My own copy is well thumbed through
Feedback and Comments
Am always happy to receive any and all feedback or commentary on my posts. I guarantee to reply to comments within one working day. I hope, that you have found this post of some use and that I have hit the mark that I was aiming for when I set out to write it; you my readers, I think, are easily the best judges of that! Be healthy and have fun.Hamish P.S.
If this post has inspired you to become a Blogger yourself, you can find out, how to do just that, by taking a look at Blogging How To Go About It which I encourage you to visit.