Paleo: The Healthiest Diet?
I wrote a post about Why I’m Paleo. But I didn’t really touch on why or if YOU should go paleo. I was talking to my mom and she asked me: “should I be eating paleo, are paleo diets healthier for you?” That’s a great question and I love that she’s even thinking about it! I find that a lot of people don’t think of their diet when they have health problems, even minor ones. But the fact is what you eat affects your entire mind and body.
Who Should Eat Paleo?
To preface: I only know what I’ve discovered, this is my opinion backed with my own personal research and experience.
(For those who don’t know what the paleo diet is HERE is an overview of the diet).
Paleo is healthy but so are things that aren’t in the paleo diet. For example paleo diets cuts out all grains, including: wheat, rice, oats, quinoa etc., as well as: all legumes, peanuts, beans, and lentils. I consider these things generally “healthy”, for most people, in most cases.
Paleo diets also cut out all processed foods, sugars and preservatives. All dairy. These things are not healthy!
The biggest difference between the strict “Paleo” diet and all of the foods listed above, is: the foods above are all inflammatory to varying degrees.
Here is a great article talking about inflammation and its role in the body. One important point I took from the article: inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.” Your diet absolutely can, and will, either cause inflammation or decrease it! If you could simply eat to fix your health vs taking medication or therapy, wouldn’t you do it?
For people who are struggling with health problems (major or minor), or for people that want to feel as healthy as they possibly can the paleo diet could help you! Symptoms like abnormal bowel movement, heavy periods, depression, body aches, and pains and so much more can be related to or worsened by ingesting inflammatory foods! In many cases going paleo would be great for you!
But is paleo healthier?
Yes, in almost all cases!
How I consider paleo healthier:
- Not eating processed foods. Do I even need to argue this point? Processed food is awful for you. They’re stripped of beneficial nutrients, and have nasty additives that you should never consume! Processed, zero calorie, “fake” sweeteners have no nutritional value (I’m looking at you: Sucralose, Saccharin, Xylitol, Aspartame). The process they go though is bad for you, it can lead to blood sugar issues, potentially diabetes and has been linked to cancer!
- Paleo diets tend to be high in fiber. Because paleo diets don’t include a lot of carb heavy items, the majority of what you can eat is vegetables, fruit, and nuts. All of which are high in fiber, low in calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, feel healthy and eat nutritionally dense foods then paleo is great for you!
- Paleo diets are high in healthy protein. I eat meat. I don’t eat dairy or eggs so all of my baked goods are vegan. But on a day to day basis, free range meat is a big part of my diet. I think that’s healthy for you (some would disagree, that’s okay). Protein is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body, especially as you age it becomes more critical.
- Paleo diets are non-inflammatory. As I’ve stated above inflammation can cause an array of issues. Most of us that eat a “western diet” are exposed to foods that are inflammatory at every single meal and we don’t even know it! Stopping the intake of those inflammatory foods (sugar, grains, processed foods) often makes us feel a great deal better, and reverse a number of symptoms.
- Paleo diets are high in nutrients: vitamins and antioxidants. Plant based foods are the best nutrient dense foods we can eat. We can get our entire daily dose of vitamins, omegas, and antioxidants just from our diet!
There are so many studies and so much evidence to back up that a whole foods diet is the best and most healthy. Paleo is just a trendy name for a diet that is primarily “wholefood”, “plant based”, or “earth based”.
By eating paleo I feel the healthiest I have in my life. Not only with gut health, but energy level, mood, and depression. So, yes I do think paleo is healthier for you than most (if not all) diets. Whether you call it paleo or not I encourage you to eat mostly plant based, non-processed foods, and take a look at every single ingredient in your food, KNOW what you’re putting in your body!