The Ups And Downs Of Eating Like a Caveman
While it sounds new, the Paleo Diet is considered to be very old. Proponents of this eating style believe it’s how our ancestors ate. Theirs was a life of hunting and gathering, much the same as many tribes still living the way their ancestors did. They don’t have access to supermarkets and refrigerators, so these people eat what they can find or kill. That’s much like the Paleo Diet.
Different from Modern Eating
The usual westerner consumes a lot of refined foods and grains. They eat processed cereal or, in a best-case scenario, thick or steel cut oats, quinoa, and other whole grains. Bread and cheese are typical foods at lunch while potatoes, rice, and pasta are common dinner items. Much modern food is full of refined sugar, table salt, and hydrogenated and/or saturated fats. Food is made to be stored and kept for long periods of time, not to be eaten when needed or preserved in natural ways such as smoking and drying.
Some Paleo “Ups”
Obvious benefits to choosing an “ancient” way of eating include the absence of fatty, sugary foods. Shoppers in a hurry are tricked into purchasing “fat-free items” which are, in fact, full of table sugar like cakes, cookies, crackers, breads, and cereals. Getting rid of those is never a bad thing while natural sugars (honey and real maple syrup) are natural inflammation fighters. With the exception of occasional treats, no eating regimen should contain a lot of refined foods whether sweet or savory.
If one is striving to live the life as one’s caveman ancestors might, one would drink mostly water, but fresh fruit juice and coffee appear to be fine. Tea is also an option, but neither one would contain a dollop of milk or a spoonful of sugar. You have to like your caffeinated beverages black and pop would be out even if you ordered sugar-free colas. Zero-calorie sodas contain chemicals such as aspartame.
If you go on this diet, there is a good chance of losing weight even if you consume more fatty produce such as avocados. Adding fatty fish such as trout and sardines to the menu will, in fact, support your metabolism, brain, heart, and muscles instead of packing on pounds as long as you do not over-indulge.
Losing peanuts and soy can be a good move since they are among some of the common GMO culprits. You have to look hard for products in either category not treated with pesticides such as tofu, peanut butter, and miso soup.
Now… Some of the “Downs”
Someone eating in this ancient way who dislikes meat will have a hard time consuming enough protein. Vegans obtain a lot of their protein from soy, quinoa, rice, and peanuts. They get some of it from leafy green vegetables and other nuts such as almonds and walnuts, but also from legumes and whole grains.
Dairy contains probiotics necessary for a healthy gut as well. Yogurt supplies several needs: calcium for strong bones and teeth, protein, and good bacteria which aid in digestion. Also, the Paleo Diet would not allow one to consume whey which is a dairy product.
A Paleo-weighted diet with some dairy would be easier to maintain and effective for weight loss.