I saw this documentary, The Perfect Human Diet by broadcast journalist C.J. Hunt, about two weeks ago, spilling some very harsh opinions on wheat, especially whole wheat and legumes (a Vegetarian's best friends).
And whether the claims in the film are true or not, it was enough to get me curious.
So yes, I am going Paleo(-ish)!
The caveman way of eating
The Paliolithic, or Paleo Diet, brings us back to our hunter and gatherer ways of eating as humans used to do thousands of years ago. In a way, you can call this the caveman diet (meats, vegetables, fruits, oils and nuts). The diet is becoming more mainstream and possibly the new fad-to-be (it was about time the next thing new came around). But fad or not, as common interest builds up, more research (and food products) become available on how our Paleolithic ancestors ate and whether we should go back to eating as they did.
The main argument behind the Paleo diet: inflammatory and autoimmune diseases we struggle with today result from our agriculture-based and industrialized foods.
C.J. Hunt's documentary goes as far as to propose that eating foods such as grains is hindering our evolutionary development and even our brain mass! I must say that I am still dubious of the little bit of science backing up this eating style and would like to see more conclusive studies before I entirely subscribe to all of the ideas behind it. But... at the same time, I got so intrigued that I figured I'd give it try – be the ginny pig, see how I feel and post my personal findings.
What you can and cannot eat based on the Paleo Diet
Beyond the idea of if cavemen didn't eat it, then we shouldn't eat it, the Paleo diet mainly prioritizes foods with the highest amount of nutrition and the least amount of health risks. So any food that may be associated with increased insulin levels, high acidity, and inflammatory responses will make it to the NO list.
The Paleo diet is heavily against grains, legumes and dairy. One reason relates to the fact that our Paleolithic ancestors didn't eat any of these foods. That isn't really enough of a reason (at least for me) to let go of some of my favorite foods (should I say sins?). So I will be posting here, in a week or two, a quick review on what research and Paleo proponents are saying about the new evil foods: grains and legumes.
In the meantime...
How Paleo am I going, really?
I am always curious when it comes to new ways of eating and reassessing how I currently eat. I think that there is always benefit in that and being even more mindful about my eating habits.
Besides, I have survived two weeks without cheese or yogurt due to an unexpected allergic reaction I seem to have developed to these amazing (but evil?) creations of man. If I, the ultimate cheese lover, could go without it for two weeks - and I mean not even a little goat cheese sprinkled on a salad, then anything is possible – including letting go of bread, chips and maybe even all of it! I feel empowered!
But enthusiasm aside, here is what will actually happen:
On the weekdays: 98% committed!
I don't think I can say no to sushi, not even on the weekdays… It is what it is. And sure I gave on up cheese, but not on wine.
On the weekends: Maybe 90%?
These are my days off which means that my mind and control center get to take a little break too. So I'm allowing myself to enjoy - not binge on - one restricted food or another if I really want to. Although, I may not want to…
And as we say in Brazil, what doesn't kill you makes you fat. So it'll be all about moderation.
We will see how well this experiment goes and more importantly how good (or bad) it will really make me feel. I will post my Paleo Diary (my progress, tried and approved recipes, moments of Paleo hardships and success…) here so you can follow along, whether you are thinking about trying it or just want to enjoy it vicariously through me. :)
The real reason why I am giving in to the Paleo ways
I personally see these dietary changes as an opportunity to snap out of the eating comfort zone and get my mind back into what I am feeding my body. At the end, regardless of the eating style I choose to follow, I always end up feeling great, and I am starting to believe that it might just have to do with the fact that dietary changes get me back into planning and cooking my meals, being more mindful when I eat out, and avoiding packaged foods, even the seemingly healthy ones – because who is reading the labels anyway to make sure it's really, truly healthy... forget it. I'd rather just make it myself from scratch, of course as long as I am subscribing to a specific eating style. That's what I get out of it. The real benefits I guess time and hopefully science will tell us.