Have you heard of The Paleo Diet?
It’s a popular, controversial diet with a passionate tribe of followers who subscribe to eating only foods that their Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten.
The diet restricts all grains, dairy, hydrogenated fats, soy, alcohol, and sugar and promotes organic, whole, unprocessed food.
What’s left you might be asking?
Believe it or not, Paleo is super delicious and satisfying, with meals like grass-fed steak, roasted sweet potato, and steamed greens slathered in butter.
Not bad, right?
There are many, many pros to the diet, including reduced intake of fast food, gluten, processed carbohydrates, sweets, and overall empty calories.
I’ve been practicing a fit and healthy lifestyle for many years. Despite my healthy eating habits, I began battling bloating, digestive upset, and fatigue.
I started with a more ‘Primal’ approach, which is a less restrictive plan that includes dairy, chocolate, and wine.
I never felt better.
That said, I still had bloating and relied heavily on supplements for digestive support.
I decided to go all the way Paleo in an effort to heal my gut.
There’s no question, I never felt better. But some parts of the diet weren’t necessary for me.
Here are the top reasons I am no longer Paleo:
All grains contain something called phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient. It’s nature’s way of protecting itself and ensuring their long-term survival.
Despite a gluten sensitivity, I needed more carbs in my life to fuel my fit lifestyle.
Soaking and sprouting grains removes the phytic acid. While I try to avoid gluten, this opened the doors for me to enjoy lentils, beans, oats, and rice.
I happen to love beans and find no ill-digestive effect when they are soaked and sprouted.
I love how much protein and fiber they have.
Raw dairy is high in nutritional value and many can tolerate it just fine and even thrive from its quality nutrition.
In addition, yogurt and cottage cheese is fermented and contains valuable live cultures which makes it easier to digest and can help repopulate gut flora.
While I was on The Paleo Diet, even though I looked and felt great, I would have massive cravings and occasionally binge on super unhealthful foods.
Opening the door for some grains, stevia, dairy, chocolate, wine, and quality protein powders created more balance in my life.
The Paleo Diet limits, but does not exclude honey, molasses, dates, and other sweeteners. There are many delicious Paleo desserts and baked goods that are significantly more healthful than a processed choice, but certainly do not contain less calories.
Any diet implies a one size fits all approach, which simply does not work. Some will thrive with higher fat and protein, some with lighter and higher carb foods.
Athletes may require more protein, carbohydrates, and food overall.
But those looking to alter their body composition may benefit most from a combination of eating whole, unprocessed foods, and being mindful of eating the right amount for their body.
What The Paleo Diet does have right is encouraging whole, unprocessed, organic foods, eliminating a reliance on processed carbohydrates, and removing the fear of nutrient dense, satisfying fats like coconut oil, butter and ghee from pastured cows, avocado oil, red meat, and eggs.