In our society, we love fads. Along with fashion and exercise, diet fads are among our favourites. We often follow along blindly as celebrities and those around us embrace new trends.
We become very attached to these fads until our attention waivers or science proves us wrong. Paleo is another example of a fad diet, extremely popular in the wellness world right now. Famous followers of the Paleo diet include Megan Fox, Jessica Biel, and Gwyneth Paltrow (with bodies like theirs no wonder other women are so quick to jump on the bandwagon). But is it all it has cracked up to be?
The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is the “Worlds Healthiest Diet” according to its founders and followers. It is based around the idea that we should eat like our hunter/gatherer ancestors did, as this diet is the one to which we are genetically adapted to.
The guidelines of the paleo diet include an abundance of meat, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and a total avoidance of dairy, legumes, grains, salt, potatoes, processed foods. There are other strict rules that go along with the diet, a comprehensive list can be found here.
The paleo diet is a great way of encouraging people to eat more food in its natural form, and educating people on the negative effects of sugar and processed foods. However, it may not be all good.
Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether the paleo diet is for you:
1. The paleo diet is very restrictive. With lots of rules and so many foods that are not allowed, it is a hard diet to maintain long term. This means it is setting its followers up for failure, and causing a lot of guilt when you just cannot manage to resist those potatoes with your steak.
2. The paleo diet lacks fibre. Fibre is essential for a healthy diet and is found in many grains and carbohydrates. Also, high-protein, low-carb diets may be on the way out as new studies show that carbohydrates are essential for living a long life.
3. The paleo diet is outdated. Is it really realistic to base our diet on what our ancestors ate thousands of years ago, in a time where the average lifespan was only 25-30 years at most? Our bodies and our needs have changed since then, not to mention our lifestyle are increasingly sedentary, unlike our hunter/gatherer ancestors.
So what diet should you follow?
None! Instead of following diets and trends, start feeding your body the foods its wants to eat. Listen to your body and focus on nourishing it, not depriving it. Your body may digest gluten, dairy and legumes just fine - so go ahead and eat them up. We all have different dietary requirements depending on our bodies, our lifestyle, and our goals and needs. No two bodies are the same so don’t assume just because somebody else doesn’t eat it, you have to stop too. Start learning to develop a healthy relationship with your food by loving what you eat and the way it makes you feel.
Have you tried a paleo diet? What diet have/have not worked for you?