f Why You Are Never Too Old For Crossfit!!!!!: More Paleo Controversy

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Paleo Controversy

I subscribe to Googles "Paleo updates" so all the articles on Google that pertain to Paleo (have paleo in the title or is a major keyword in the article) are sent to my inbox. It really is quite fascinating all the various opinions, criticisms, testimonials, etc... that are on this subject. I read them all and try to take every one with a grain of salt and common sense (actually I am usually left confused and with a lot of "what ifs"). The following article is informative and kind of like Switzerland (tries to appease everybody and take no sides). I liked it though, it gave me some things to think about.

paleo/caveman diet

PaleoDiet:                      Eat Like Cavemen Did
by Abby Laub

Lexington, KY - Late last fall I was assigned several pieces to write about the Paleo Diet, and, having decided to try the original human/hunter-gatherer diet for myself, it was quite the ride. I was in for a surprise.

The Paleo Diet is hard. It essentially cuts three major parts –– dairy, grains and legume –– from the food pyramid that we all grew up hailing as the only way to eat in order to live a healthy life.

After reading a lot of information on the Paleo Diet, I learned that there is an overwhelming amount of credible science backing up the claims that paring down our previously agriculturally based, highly processed diets to meat and fish, vegetables, fruit and fats (like nuts, seeds, avocados and natural oils) is healthy and proved to literally heal people of diseases. It cuts out refined sugars and starches and inflammation-inducing foods like beans and dairy.

"It's been around since the earth was created," said Kelli Cramer, a coach and trainer at Crossfit Maximus in Lexington. "I believe that everyone is designed to eat natural foods. The other stuff might taste great, but it causes so many complications in our bodies that to me, none of that is worth it."

There also are some controversial parts to Paleo. Nutritionists and doctors question cutting out major food groups that provide necessary nutrients. Heather Kiser, a clinical dietitian at the Lexington VA Medical Center, said while Paleo is fabulous for encouraging people to eat more naturally, there is cause for concern.

"Lots of research shows health benefits when your diet is rich in grains, legumes and dairy," she said. "If people try Paleo, I would suggest calcium and vitamin D supplementation, and consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables." 


Kiser feels that eating a diet high in saturated fat is probably not for everyone, especially if they have looming medical issues. But Paleo followers argue that it is sick people who need to adhere to the diet more than anyone else.

Decide what you will about the Paleo Diet, but I'm on the fence. I have lived a healthy, slim and fit life by exercising and eating a diverse diet (including dairy, grains and legumes), with little junk.

My husband and I gave Paleo a try in November. I found the first two weeks of the 30-day challenge to be pretty simple. I felt strong, healthy and energized from eating so clean. But late into week three everything started to fall apart. I was having food aversions, out-of-control cravings, and my grocery budget was completely blown.

Lo and behold, some of the issues were a result of pregnancy: I found out part way into my grand experiment that I was pregnant, so of course my tastes were all over the map.

But I was able to conclude the following:

Following the Paleo Diet strictly did not fit into my family's budget. The increase was quite ridiculous, I think largely due to the massive amounts of meat I was buying.

I had furious cravings toward the end of the 30-day challenge. Some days the diet simply did not feel sustainable.

I got leaner. I believe my body composition did improve even by cutting out processed foods, like pasta, for just three weeks (before I caved and ate half a loaf of French bread).

I felt great ... most of the time. Some days I was hungry since Paleo requires a lot of food preparation and occasionally I simply ran out of time.

I think I will try it again post-pregnancy. Do your homework and try it, too. If nothing else, you may take away valuable principles from the diet like I did without committing to follow it full-time, all the time.


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