Lydia Wisz from Food Wisz Dom shares different angles of the Paleo Diet: What are your takes or experiences with Paleoism?
One of the things that most fascinates me about popular diets is that there are a lot of them, and it’s not too hard to find disciples of each. Many of us are eating like a caveman, with a focus on foods that can be hunted (fish and meats), or gathered (fruits and vegetables, roots and nuts) and an avoidance of grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. But, is eating like the Flintstones good for the environment? And is it good for the dieter?
The Paleo Diet is characterized by eating health-promoting foods from the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors typically enjoyed on a daily basis some 2.6 million years ago to the start of the agricultural revolution, which took place about 10,000 years ago. The Paleo Diet was introduced to us by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., and is a refreshing view to what nutrition should be – a common sense and efficient way to control weight without complicated instructions. Dr. Cordain’s views on nutrition are not only easy to understand, but they are logical and provide an innovative approach to health science.
This diet, unlike so many others, enjoys the benefit of extensive field testing, as humans on Earth ate this way for hundreds of years, and the blueprint that this diet provides prescribes quality nutrition. In Dr. Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet, the author uses the analogy of a car. He states, “Your car is designed to run on gasoline. When you put diesel fuel into its tank, the results are disastrous to the engine”. This same principle can be used with food. The everyday staples of today’s diet which include foods like dairy products, cereals, refined sugars, fatty meats and salted, processed foods are like diesel fuel to our bodies. Disastrous!
The foods that make up the Paleo Diet can be eco-friendly foods if they are locally grown, when livestock is ethically and responsibly bred, and farmers and ranchers follow safe, accepted principles when processing pork, beef, lamb and chicken.
However, it’s difficult for dieters that follow this regimen to the letter to always make the connection that their diet is also good for the environment. Some restaurants communicate that they source local, grass-fed organic beef, but do you always know where that hamburger you are eating originated? While grocery shopping, do you know how far these food products were transported from the source to the grocery store?
Critics of the diet assert that it’s not environmentally sustainable if adopted on a mass scale. As Melody Cherny in Food Safety News points out: the diet is expensive to society as grass-fed, pasture-raised meats are more expensive and less available than conventional meats. Currently, 99% of farmed animals bred for human consumption in the U.S. are confined in factory farms, and so unless you know where your meat is coming from, it’s likely coming from a food production system that is not eco-friendly. Also, “animal agriculture is also considered the greatest contributor to global warming – producing more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined.”
Additionally, many registered dieticians and knowledgeable nutritionists react negatively to any diet that does not include cereal grains, dairy products and legumes, since important nutrients would be lacking.
Although I am not a 100% believer in this diet, I will say that the Paleo Diet does follow some nutritionally sound principles that include the ingestion of lean proteins, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. The health benefits that the Paleo diet provides are extensive and can stabilize blood sugar, burn off stored fat, optimize your exercise routine and improve your sleep.
Are you willing and able to go Paleo?
Guest Blog Post Written By: Lydia Wisz from Food Wisz-Dom