People ask me all the time, “What is your secret to your weight loss? You must run a lot!” I’ve noticed that their reception to what I do is based on how I present that information to them. If I say I’ve cut carbs, grains, and beans, most people will say, “Oh, so you’re doing Atkins.” I tell them, “Similar, but with a few differences.” The main difference is that I don’t allow myself any grains or beans, and definitely no added-sugar. I also don’t count calories or carbs; I go with as little as possible. When I explain this to them, people think it’s a little nutty, but they can’t argue with my results.
If I tell them straight away that I’m doing Paleo, I get the crooked brow/confused look. “You mean, like a caveman?” I tell them, “Well, that’s the name the diet gets, and yes, it’s based off the premise that cavemen didn’t eat grains or foods with added-sugar,” but before I really have a chance to finish, I’ve lost them. They think it’s a fad, ridiculous, or just some stupid thing that is too restrictive to contemplate. They also think, “Cavemen didn’t live long. Why would I want to eat like them?”
If you’re reading this, there’s a chance that you are not one of those people. If you are, and you’re wondering what Paleo is about, I recommend going to the Paleo website link on the right side of this website (bottom of the site for mobile devices and tablets).
I will say that my personal opinion is that while I understand how the Paleo movement came about, I don’t necessarily agree with all of it. However, I think that the Paleo diet came across a diet that happens to work well for people with my body type and genetic background. It has allowed me to lose a lot of weight and to get healthy. It’s also allowed me to put a label on the way I eat to make it easier to explain to people who ask without going into a long dissertation on what I eat.
However, organized nutritionists, government agencies, and medical studies are working overtime to denigrate the Paleo movement and diet. In statement after statement, agencies that are supposed to be looking out for us and providing us information that helps us live healthier and longer continue to dole out bad nutrition information based on flawed science from the 1950’s. No real money has been put into researching the Paleo diet as it’s not in the best interest of the food lobby or even the government agencies. The FDA, for example, doesn’t want to admit that they’ve caused not only more harm than good, but have been a large factor in the obesity and diabetic epidemics our country is facing. This is exacerbated by the fact that many countries with smaller budgets rely on the US for nutrition advice. The food lobby pays colleges to run studies to prove that their food is good for us, and who wants to bite the hand that feeds them? Much like the tobacco lobby had studies made to show that smoking was okay, the food lobby is doing exactly the same with grains and carbs.
Coming up with a new name for Paleo is ridiculous; there’s already Low-Carb, No-Carb, and Atkins, and while these aren’t exactly Paleo, they’re so close as to almost be synonymous to the uninitiated. What’s worse is that when people hear about giving up grains, beans, and foods with added sugars, they immediately concentrate on what they can no longer have. That’s why I quickly mention the foods I can eat that are normal, delicious, and likely among some of their favorites. This seems to make headway, but soon, they are back to thinking about what they have to give up.
Ultimately, something’s gotta give. If you want to get healthy and lose weight, something in your diet has to change. You can’t continue to eat the same foods and expect a different result. That goes against ANY basic science. Even moderation of the same foods is suspect as most people who are overweight and unhealthy are actually in a never-ending process of gaining weight. Moderation would, at best, only stop the gain and put these people into a holding pattern of bad health and obesity.
When talking about Paleo, know that it’s not about donning a leopard skin loin cloth and cooking wildebeest over a fire on a spit. It’s about eating foods that have no added sugar, no grains, and no beans. It’s eating foods with low sugar content, even if it’s natural sugar, because sugar is what the body uses to make fat. It’s about eating food that is whole, good, and healthy for us. It’s about food that is as unprocessed and natural as possible.
Finally, let me address the “Cavemen didn’t live long” statement from above. They didn’t live long because they didn’t have modern medicine, safety awareness, and protection from the elements, from enemies, and from wild animals. Much like a wild animal lives longer in the safety of a zoo, paleolithic man would have lived a lot longer were he in modern society, but only as long as he stayed away from carbs and grains.