I have been asked countless times over the past 11 years why I don’t eat “paleo”. I’ve had people say that clean eating is just the same. For starters, no, it’s not. And second, I try to steer clear of “my way is better than yours” disputes when it comes to food. Diets are dangerous things to talk about, just like people’s lifestyle eating choices are.
“Diets” done right become lifestyle changes. They’re not something that you do for a few months to shed some weight, then go back to your old habits. Clean eating has never boasted to be a diet, and it’s never promised people weight loss. Clean eating is changing your eating habits to reflect healthier food choices so that you can be the best, healthiest version of you. You do not necessarily cut foods from your daily intake, you can still eat carbs, you can still consume sugar, etc… It’s the manor in which you’re consuming it that changes. Gone are the boxed and processed foods. Gone are the things you used to buy that have 15 ingredients on the list, only two of which you can pronounce or know what they do. Clean eating gives you a wholesome, fully rounded day to day healthy diet.
Paleo, well that’s a different story. I’ve read many published articles about the paleolithic diet, and have found it severely lacking in any benefit to your regular Joe Schmoe. If you absolutely have to cut certain things like grains, legumes, etc… out of your diet for health reasons, then sure, paleo may be for you because most likely you’re supplementing and consuming medications that help balance out what the paleolithic way of eating isn’t giving you.
There’s a reason why our caveman ancestors lived short lives and were riddled with health issues. They’re bodies were not getting the proper nutrition needed to stay healthy and flourish. Long term studies on eating in this manor (that’s right you CrossFit folks, this diet isn’t new, it’s been around for decades), show increased risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease, on top of the fact that there has yet to be a long term study done PROVING the benefits of a paleolithic diet (there has actually been more proof of it failing than succeeding in the studies done over the years).
There are also inconsistencies within the diet itself across the board. Paleo eaters insist their way is better than another paleo eater, and vice versa. There isn’t a specific and clear definition of what exactly the paleolithic diet really is. Just what its followers believe it to be. Nutritionists all over are never hesitant to point out the flaws. It’s also expensive, and for people who live in small areas where they have Small Town USA stores that don’t carry much, hard to follow. Let alone stick with. Another reason it’s hard to stick with is the fact that it is SO restrictive. The list of what you can eat is only as long as my arm, whereas what you can’t eat is miles long. You’re cutting dairy, meaning now you’ll have to start supplementing. By the time you’re totally converted to the paleolithic diet, you’re now consuming most of your needs via supplements. Long term supplement use is still something that many studies are starting to show, is unhealthy.
So, at risk of continuing to ramble on here. Why do I not eat paleo? Simply because there has been nothing, in any studies, articles, research, etc that can prove to me just how this diet is healthy or not starving my body of vital essentials. I’ll stick with my way of eating because it’s wholesome and my body is happy and healthier because of it.