I plan to start this week off by beginning a discussion about the paleo diet. I have mentioned it a few times so far, however my passing references may have started to confuse some folks, and rightly so. With all of the fad diets out there what gives my way of eating any more validity than any other way? Today I plan to introduce you to a VERY brief overview of the paleo diet itself, and later this week I plan to talk about my personal journey on this eating plan and how it has helped my health and wellbeing.
I want to begin by saying that the paleo or primal eating concept is by no means my own invention. There a few primary founding fathers in the paleo eating community. Different people subscribe to the different nuances inherent in each plan. Personally, I align most closely with the Primal Blueprint diet outlined by Mark Sission. For full information on him and the wonderful resources he provides check out his website at Mark’s Daily Apple. On his website, you will find ample amounts of scientific studies and in depth information backing up this Neolithic way of life. Here on my blog however, you will find a very brief outline of what to eat, what not to eat, and the basic answer to the question of why. Here it goes:
The Overall Motivation Behind the Paleo Lifestyle:
That the human body is an intricately designed entity is a fact un-denied by most. Whether you believe that we are the products of evolution, divine creation, or both there is no denying the complexity inherent in us all. That being said, regardless of our origins, up until the industrialization of the food supply, less than 100 years ago, humans had successfully subsisted off of an earth based diet of plants, seeds, nuts, fruits, and meat. With the dawn of the industrialized food era came the widespread prevalence of “Western” diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is no coincidence. Even today, in countries and cultures with a naturally occurring, traditional, food culture diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are completely unheard of. Our bodies were designed to function a certain way, off of a certain type of fuel. When we stop giving our bodies the fuel it was designed to run off of we risk malfunctioning. When we give our bodies the correct type of fuel, we begin to work in harmony with our bodies rather than against them. Health becomes the norm, not an uphill battle. That is the bottom line.
What You Can Eat:
– nuts (but not peanuts)
– maple syrup
What You May Be Able to Eat:
– dairy in small moderation from grass fed cows
– sweet potatoes
What You Should Not Eat:
– All Legumes
– White potatoes
– All Grains
– Processed foods
In future posts I am sure I will discuss why the foods mentioned above are not good to eat, however in the mean time I do encourage you to read the information in the Primal Blueprint Plan.
The best way to think about the dos and don’ts of paleo is to simply ask yourself “would a caveman have been able to hunt, gather, and cook this?” if the answer is no, than you’re not designed to eat it either.
Now, if the approved foods list is looking a little too short for your liking let me assure you it is not that actually short at all. Within the realm of those twelve ingredients listed, lies a world of literally endless possibilities. Baking is a deliciously tasty art with almond and coconut flour and a dash of honey. Meat is a dish that needs no explanation, and who doesn’t want fruit and chocolate for dessert?
The best part about the paleo diet: there are no calories. This is not a diet in the modern sense of the word. It is a way of eating, yes. However, it is not a way to deprive yourself of nutrients, starve yourself until the scale moves, or count calories until it becomes obsessive. As long as you are eating whole, naturally occurring foods you can eat as much or as little as you need to, to be full and happy. Your body will sort out the rest, because that is what it was designed to do.
I believe in a perfect God that designed the earth and all things in it, including the evolutionary process. I believe that all of mankind is created in the image of God. Why then, if God is perfect and I am created in his image would I have a body that is never fully functional? That is incapable of converting food into energy in the efficient way it is theoretically supposed to? God didn’t command man to only eat 2,000 calories a day and run on a treadmill 6 days a week. Our ancestors didn’t know what a calorie or a gym was. They survived, passed on their genes, and did not succumb to an obesity epidemic. Why then, should we?