I tend not to talk about what I eat unless I really have to. I have always felt that what you eat is personal and should not be commented on or questioned too much. When you do have to say that you eat a Paleo diet most people are interested and ask questions politely. However, you do sometimes get a very skeptical response, often followed by comments such as Paleolithic man only lived to about the age of 20 and is therefore not the best role model. What do you do? Club them over the head and drag them to your plate of delicious food? Or just answer the question politely? So far, I have gone with the latter.
I am not surprised I get asked questions as the Paleo Diet is still not that well known in Scotland or the rest of the UK. If you google you get bizarre images of cavemen (weirdly, rarely cavewomen or cavekids) and lots of meat. It would be easy to think the Paleo Diet is a slab of raw meat with chicken wings as a side. It also seems to get jumbled up into the media- fuelled view that if you follow any diet that isn't traditional you are somehow a demanding snowflake who does so for attention. This media distortion is invariably backed up the medical community who repeatedly point out that only a tiny minority of people need to omit any food groups from the standard Western diet.
However, despite this prevailing view, there does seem to have been an enormous cultural shift and people are trying different ways of eating and realising that they feel much better for doing so. If you glance at any news stand you will see a vast range of magazines on health, super-foods, vegan diets, gluten and dairy-free and now also Paleo. In America and Australia in particular, Paleo cook books are often the best sellers and there are now a huge number of food companies selling Paleo friendly products.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet really is just eating the simple, natural foods that our ancestors ate. This means eating foods that we are genetically adapted to eat and that we have evolved to eat over millions of years. This includes good quality meat, fish and eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The traditional Paleo diet does exclude grains, starchy foods and dairy products. This seems like a tough ask but it is important to stress that a traditional Paleo diet is only a starting point from which you work out the that foods really work for you. Doing so is much easier if you can stick to a traditional Paleo diet for about a month. This is because it appears to be that when we repeatedly eat foods that we are actually intolerant to, our bodies have this unhelpful glitch of getting used to those foods and masking our true reaction to it. We often can't sense this true reaction until we go back to basics and do a 're-set'.
Changes in health
The results can be really surprising. It can transpire that you really do feel better when you cut out certain foods that you have eaten for years. Conversely, other foods are fine when you re-introduce them and of course you should continue eating them. For myself, I can't eat any gluten at all and I definitely feel better without dairy and sugar but I am fine with rice and potatoes and I can eat non gluten grains like corn in small amounts. My husband isn't intolerant to any foods but chooses to eat paleo (most of the time!) as he realised he just felt better. He is not alone in this. Many people report feeling better when they follow the Paleo Diet and there is growing scientific evidence that supports this way of eating. Ultimately though, I believe that everbody is unique and that there is not one diet or approach that fits all. Trying it out and then seeing how you feel is the best 'evidence-base' to rely upon.
NB: I didn't have to club my husband over the head to get him to change his diet. He did so voluntarily. Honest.
If you have any comments or questions about trying to eat this way please feel free to ask me below or contact me on social media via the links on this blog. I will be very happy to help.