Paleo Diet — A return to the cave

We are a society in constant search of the perfect, easy way to lose weight. The latest in the diet trend is the Paleo diet, developed by Loren Cordain, PhD. It is a return to our club swinging, cave dwelling roots. Think hunt and gather, and you’ll have the idea.

The diet focuses on high protein, high fiber with lots of lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables. You can also eat eggs, nuts and seeds and healthy oils like olive and coconut.

You cannot have any processed foods, dairy, wheat and other grains, refined sugars, refined oils (like vegetable), salt, potatoes, beans or peanuts.

Well … no wonder you lose weight! You can’t eat much, have to make all your food at home and alcohol is on the no-list as well. I am shocked by the number of people willing to take this on. Me? I love food and fun way too much to embrace this. While I can see how cutting out sugar, bad fats and carbohydrates can lead to decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease, I am skeptical about the claims this is healthier because cave people didn’t have chronic diseases. First of all, how do we know they didn’t and second of all, with a life expectancy of about 30, they were dead long before these diseases had a chance to show up.

I wish moderation were a sexier topic. I’d write a great book touting all the health benefits and become rich and famous. Yes, you should cut down on processed foods and the other items on Paleo’s no-no list. Lean protein, less carbs and high fiber are wonderful choices. You will feel better and be healthier. But, extremism in any diet is not only difficult to maintain, it raises other concerns and issues, both nutritional and psychological.  I’m very happy with my occasional sweet treat, rice and beans, PB&J, and evolved brain. I might not look as good in my bear fur dress, but that’s a Paleo benefit I’ll happily give up for a chilled glass of white.

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