CrossFit South Rockland

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Paleo Diet: Is It Right For You?

The Paleolithic or Paleo Diet 

is based on eating foods that our caveman ancestors ate.

In the past 10,000 years our genome has not changed much. However, our diet has and with the addition of processed foods, grains, sugars and dairy products, we have created such diseases as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, auto immune disorders, osteoporosis and heart disease.

The Paleo diet is similar to the way hunter-gatherers ate and encourages the consumption of natural foods in order to achieve great health, vital energy, a lean physique and a long, active life. The Paleo diet includes meat, game meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, vegetables, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, winter and squashes, fruits, seeds and nuts, mushrooms, fresh and dried herbs and spices.

There is no doubt that the food we eat has an affect on our health. There are many studies that conclude that certain foods are hazardous to our health. Since the beginning of the agricultural revolution, a large percentage of the foods common to the Standard American Diet are alien to our digestion, incomprehensible to our metabolism and wreak havoc on our overall health.

Is the Paleo diet for everyone? I believe it is an excellent place to begin and expand from on an individual basis. With the exclusion of all grains, it may not provide the energy requirements for athletes. However, the majority of the population eats far too many servings of grain products per day and is not active, therefore would do well to reduce the quantity and choose only whole grains (preferably alternatives to wheat). I also believe that there are certain benefits to the legume family (which is excluded in the Paleo diet). All dairy is excluded in the Paleo diet. Although I am not a proponent of cow's milk, I believe certain products are acceptable such as organic yogurt or goat's milk products. I agree whole heartedly that the exclusion of sugar and sugar products would do a world of good to everyone.

Certainly the Paleo diet offers advantages to everyone's health as it excludes trans fats, hydrogenated fats, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar, coffee, and soda. It offers foods that are in their most natural state; when the source/origin of the food being eaten is recognizable, it is always a good thing. In other works, when food is eaten in its whole, live, fresh, raw state, the body can utilize all the nutrients from the food. Obviously, meats should not be eaten in the raw state, but fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts should all be consumed that way to enhance the vitamin and mineral components.When our bodies are provided with proper nutrition, they can function optimally.

The eating and lifestyle habits of our healthy ancestors provide us with a good framework; it is up to us to study their ways, evaluate the benefits or drawbacks and experiment on an individual basis in order to determine what is best for each person.

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