Friday, March 08, 2013

WTFriday: Why I Will Never Eat Like a Caveman

Courtesy of
So, seeing as how I've had my own struggles with diet and weight loss since I had Colden back in 2008, I've noticed a growing number of people clamoring about how we should all be eating the Paleo Diet.

What is the Paleo diet? Basically, you eat meat and animal products - but no dairy - along with only certain vegetables, no grains at all, no beans or legumes, limited amounts of fruit, and no refined sugars or carbs.

There are parts of this diet that certainly make sense to me. For instance, cutting out refined sugars is certainly a step in the right direction for any healthy diet.

But when we get to the part that says, "Well, this is how the first humans ate, so this must be the best diet for humans!", I start to think that's maybe not such a good idea.

First of all, eating lots of meat and animal products puts a lot of stress on the environment. If EVERYBODY were to eat Paleo, our problems with factory farming would be a hell of a lot worse than they already are. I mean, come on: more antibiotics, more hormones, more nitrogen waste going into the environment can't be a good thing.

Second, it seems to me that any diet that is more restrictive is just not going to be healthier than a diet that includes a wide variety of plant and animal sources. I've seen people chowing down on a plate of fried bacon, instead of a bowl of oatmeal, because the bacon is allowed in Paleo diet and the oatmeal isn't. Ummm...

Third, just because our ancestors ate like this 40,000 years ago has absolutely no bearing on what we should or shouldn't be eating today. A species can evolve a LOT in 40,000 years, in case you didn't notice. No longer do we run around chasing down our food to kill it and eat it (raw). Most of us sit at a desk job five days a week. We simply don't need the same kinds or amounts of calories that we did back when the species was still in its infancy, and we've discovered a lot of food sources that can supplement our diet for those times when we just can't drag home an entire bison for dinner.

Now, there are things about the Paleo diet that I think can make you healthier. For instance, avoiding processed foods. That's a no-brainer. Eating lots of vegetables, too, is probably a good idea.

But when it comes to cutting out grains, beans, and dairy completely, that just makes no sense to me at all. I don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional slice of good, locally-made cheese or a hearty dinner of rice and beans once or twice a week.

That said, all things in moderation, folks. Find a diet that works for you, and try to include as many different sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbs as you can. I've been a happy, (relatively) healthy vegetarian for over 10 years now, and I have a beautiful baby boy who I grew for 9 months on a healthy vegetarian diet. But that might not be right for you - it all depends on what makes YOUR body feel good.

So, no, I won't be going back to eating meat any time soon, but that's just me. Do your own research, experiment in your own kitchen, and eat sensibly.

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