Sunday, June 23, 2013
The Paleo Diet Pros & Cons-My personal view
Paleo this and Paleo that! When I began my adventure into crossfit I started to hear about the Paleo Diet. I had never heard of it before but it seemed to be everywhere in the crossfit world. At first, I almost felt that if I was going to commit to doing Crossfit I also must commit to the Paleo diet too! Crossfit and Paleo go hand in hand, right? (Just kidding!) It just feels like they go together because the only time I hear about Paleo is from someone who also does xfit. I was about to "jump on the wagon" until my husband asked me why I was going to do this diet. It caught me off guard. I wasn't sure, I just thought that it was the thing to do since it seemed all the crossfitters do it.
As you could guess, and should know, that's not a good enough reason. I decided to do a little more research into the paleolithic diet itself. My husband is slightly a "health nut" so he helped me do some research as well as gave input on prior knowledge he already had on what kinds of foods are good and bad for the human body and how certain foods affect the body.
Together we learned that in short, the paleo diet discourages eating dairy, grains, processed foods, and starches. It encourages you to eat a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables. It's called the "Caveman Diet" because it values the diet a caveman would've eaten when there was only natural plants and wild animals available. While learning more about "going paleo" I was able to not only figure out what I didn't like about it, but also take great concepts from it to incorporate into my own diet as it does have some pretty terrific principles.
I know this is a hotly debated topic, so let's go ahead and do the worst part now, let's talk about what I feel are negatives of eating paleo. The biggest concern I have with an all paleo diet is restriction of what I feel are nutritious carbohydrates. I'm not talking about enriched flour products, but rather 100% whole grain nutrient dense foods. Whole grains have been shown to improve cholesterol, help with weight loss, and help with digestive health thanks to dietary fiber. I do recognize that you can get carbohydrates from other sources as well, but I personally see more of an upside to whole grains than a downside. The only other concern I have with the paleo diet, is the large amount of meat consumption but that can be easily remedied by eating healthier cuts and types of meat.
I do see positives of the paleo diet that I feel can be beneficial to everyone as well. The most important aspect of the paleo diet to me, is avoiding highly processed foods. I don't think there is a person in this world who can come up with a substantial argument against eating whole unprocessed foods. I enjoy eating foods that I can pronounce every ingredient of, or better yet eating foods that only have one or two ingredients to be pronounced! They make me feel like I can take control of my nutrition in a world in which that is becoming increasingly difficult to do, and these foods are also typically much better for me as well. I think this is a wonderful part of the paleo diet that everyone needs to be more considerate of, whether they consider their diet paleo or not.
Overall, I neither fully agree nor disagree with this diet. While I don't have to agree with everything the Paleo diet entails, I can use the principals to improve my total health while still maintaining my own personal beliefs. You may probably see me make a paleo meal here and there, but I by no means am eating strictly Paleo. I believe in a well balanced meal that includes not only meats and veggies, but breads and dairy as well.
If you would like to learn more about eating Whole Foods and cutting out unprocessed foods you should visit 100 Days of Real Food. This is a wonderful website that has taught me SO MUCH!! She talks about all the junk that has been added to the food we eat here in America and also teaches how to read labels to learn what ingredients are in the food you eat. I wish I could say I eat all natural, but unfortunately I do not. It's not easy! I'm striving to become better and I think it's something everyone should strive for as well! For me, it's a constant battle! I love my baked cheetos and shells&cheese!! Agh! Don't even talk about such cheesy goodness! MMmm...Anyways, the important thing is I am trying and I'm getting better everyday! I haven't bought shells & cheese in over 2 months! That's a big deal for me! Woot! What food is your enemy? One thing you don't want to part from...?