My thoughts on paleo

photo (17)The Paleo Diet: Were the cavemen on to something?

Every so often, a new diet comes along and whips up a mad frenzy amongst the general population. Historically we have seen the low fat diet of the early 90’s and the Atkins of the 00’s. The latest such diet is the PALEO diet. Although technically it’s not new!

The Paleo (paleolithic, ie caveman) diet subscribes to the theory that you only consume what you can catch and kill and what grows on a tree/bush. The paleo diet consists of red meat, poultry, fish/seafood, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices and good fats. The Paleo diet excludes all refined sugars, grains, potato and dairy.

The Paleo diet is high in protein, essential for muscle integrity, immune strength, repair, growth and energy. It is also high in fats. This is where opinions become divided…… Historically, we learnt that fat is bad, right? Well, what if there was a lot more to that picture, the notion that fat is bad, particularly saturated fats found in animal and coconut products, is now being dramatically challenged. We are now starting to understand that the equation of fat=cholesterol=weigh gain=bad is not necessarily the case, and that having a variety of fats in the diet is not only not harmful, but actually beneficial.

Over the past 30 years we have moved away from WHOLE foods. Margarine became a staple, butter was sin binned. Butter has 2 simple ingredients, margarine about 20. Food became highly processed and packaged. We moved away from practises like baking, home made meals, growing our own produce and eating locally and seasonally. Grains were in, fats were out.

Fast forward 30 years to a time and place where obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are in epidemic proportions. All after 3 decades of eating the recommended 8 serves of grains a day, sugar is a part of the “healthy” food pyramid”, which, in part, was put together with the “help” of companies who produce breads and cereals, and avoiding fat like the plague…..Go figure.

Although the paleo way of eating has some benefits, I still firmly believe in an individualised approach to diet. There is no one size fits all approach. Be guided by how you feel, your digestion, mental clarity, weight, immunity and hormone balance. These are the best indicators as to whether or not a particular nutritional plan suits your needs and your body.

At the end of the day, the principles for good nutrition remain the same. Eat organic, local, seasonal, include a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, fats a variety of essential nutrients. Avoid anything processed, packaged, genetically modified, you really can’t go too far wrong…..

Now, me must go get club and hunt 🙂