We all know eating healthy has its benefits. However, there are a lot of different opinions floating out there about which style of eating (also known as a ‘diet’) is the healthiest. While there’s no way we’ll be able to end that debate in a short article, I am going to offer you my perspective on a diet that is gaining in popularity and has worked well for my needs and the dietary needs of many others.
It is difficult choosing a style of eating that contains all the essential elements of satisfaction, practicality and having a positive effect on our health. A quick Google search on the term ‘diet’ brings up almost 1.2 TRILLION results! There are obviously many different diets out there one but the one that stands out in particular for me is the Paleo Diet.
The Paleolithic Diet
The Paleolithic Diet, Paleo Diet, Caveman Diet, Hunter-Gatherer Diet (or whatever tagline you want to ascribe to it) is a popular eating strategy that can reduce inflammation and prevent many common chronic health conditions.
As something gains popularity, the possibility for misconceptions becomes more of an issue. Some people believe that this diet is high protein, or meat based, and low carbohydrate. This is a common misconception that really misses the mark on what the true purpose of the diet was intended to accomplish.
The Paleolithic Diet is meant to be nutrient rich. Supplying the body with the proper vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins that it needs to reduce inflammation thus restoring health and wellness.
The base of the diet is primarily plant based (vegetables, fruits, root vegetables) and supplemented with healthy fats (omega 3, olive oils, flax oils, hemp oils, etc.), nuts, seeds, berries and lean sources of protein (fish, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, etc). Ultimately you are eliminating grains, dairy and refined sugars. Ideally, you want to avoid processed foods as much as possible, or when shopping, stick to the outer isles of the grocery store.
Eating in this fashion has been clinically proven to improve blood chemistry in individuals with
high cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes and autoimmune disorders. More research is being done every year and this diet is being found superior to diets such as the American Heart Association and the Mediterranean Diet.
By reducing the inflammatory load on the body through diet we give our bodies the advantage of increased energy production, decreased pain, improved recovery times, and boosted immune systems.
The 4 Letter Word (Diet)
I am not personally a fan of the word diet. I actually consider it to be a “4-letter word.” Diet implies a beginning and an end. However, if we are able to implement healthy eating strategies designed to become a regular part of our life, we will experience the full benefits of eating for our health.
It is not easy changing our current eating strategies, but when we do, sometimes it is necessary to have some guidance. A lot has been written about the Paleo Diet – including thousands of recipes, articles, podcasts and videos scattered across the internet. If this approach to eating appeals to you and your health goals, a quick search on ‘Paleo Diet’ will give you many ways to take the next step.
-Article written by Dr. Chris Allin of our Woodstock, IL location.
- Masharani, U., et al. Metabolic and physiologic effects from consuming a hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic)-type diet in type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;69(8):944-8. Epub 2015 Apr 1.
- Manheimer, EW. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. AmJ
- Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):922-32. Epub 2015 Aug 12.