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to paleo or not to paleo?


Paleo Cure

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“Let me get this out of the way right now: I’m not a fan of the paleo diet. I don’t support this restrictive, meat-heavy diet that bans so many nutritious foods, such as dairy, grains and beans. It’s a diet plan that landed at the bottom of the list in U.S. News Best Diets rankings, scoring only 2 out of 5 stars.”  The opening paragraph of Janet Helm’s October 29, 2014 article for US News & World Report, Eight Positive Outcomes of the Paleo Trend
I was jumping online yesterday to check my email and Janet Helm’s article about the PALEO DIET caught my eye.  Helm is a minor celebrity of sorts (she is routinely on TV for nutrition related matters) as well as being a registered dietician.  I found it interesting that even though she is no fan of the Paleo way of eating, she wrote an article that talked about some of the good things that she believes it brings to the table (no pun intended).   These include things like, “abolishing a fear of fat, eating closer to nature, creative vegetable hacks“, as well as a number of others.  The problem is, most of the others are as shallow / superficial as these are.  Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with anything in her list. It’s just that it misses the most significant points.

Although I am certainly into WEIGHT LOSS for those who need it (about 70% of the adult American population for those keeping score), the fact that you can lose a bunch of weight eating in this manner is not chiefly why I promote it.  I am a Paleo fan because for people who are chronically ill, AUTOIMMUNE, dealing with CHRONIC PAIN or INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS, or suffering from any number of food sensitivities, this diet is the solution.  Why?  because it does these two things better than any other diet I have seen — and since my days in Kansas State University’s Nutrition / Exercise Physiology program (later 1980’s), I’ve seen a lot.

  • PALEO CONTROLS BLOOD SUGAR:  I have shown you over and over and over again that solving BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION is the key to solving most of the health problems facing modern “Westernized” society.  Is there another way of eating that controls Blood Sugar better than Paleo?  If there is, I’m not sure what it is.
  • PALEO REMOVES REACTIVE FOODS:   Although Helm can’t bear the thought of dairy and grains being removed from a diet, these two classes of foods are without a doubt, two of the most immune-reactive foods you could possibly consume (think GLUTEN SENSITIVITY HERE).  Modern grains have their own unique set of problems (HERE), and today’s commercial dairy is pasteurized, homogenized, and loaded with hormones and ANTIBIOTICS.  It might resemble the food we called “MILK” 100 years ago, but that’s where the comparison ends.   The truth is, for the majority of today’s population who are chronically ill, the going will be rough without changing the way one thinks about these two food groups. 

By the way, the article from US News & World Report that Helm touts as panning Paleo, likewise promotes certain other diets.  Some of those that are at the top of the various categories included our own government’s DASH DIET, the Ornish Diet, and Weight Watchers.  The DASH diet recommends up to 14 daily servings of grains a day (follow the link) and heavily touts both INCREASED CALCIUM INTAKE and SALT RESTRICTION.  With this in mind; how US News came up with DASH as their #1 diet for combating DIABETES is beyond me?  But then again, the FOOD PYRAMID was touted by the American Diabetes Association for decades.   Dr. Ornish’s diet is in many ways a rehash of the 1980’s —- extremely low fat (no SATURATED FAT / RED MEAT) and super high carbs.  On top of that, he is one of the few remaining people who touts soy (a known XENOESTROGEN) as “healthy”.  And what can I really say about Weight Watchers that hasn’t already been said?  Although you can certainly lose weight on this diet, it does little (many would argue nothing) to actually change dietary habits and create a focus on healthy foods.  In fact, looking at their website, the emphasis almost seems to be on how much you can CHEAT on this diet and still lose weight.

One other thing I would like to address before I leave today.  Helm referred to the Paleo Diet as, “meat-heavy“. While this might be true for some adherents (HERE), this is certainly not true for everyone.  Paleo is typically vegetation-heavy (vegetation-based).  In fact, it is Chronic Pain / Nutrition expert, DR. DAVID SEAMAN who likes to remind us to, “eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation“.  It’s simple.  And it’s not about consuming mass quantities of meat.  On the other hand, meat (and the saturated fats that go along with) is not something we need to be afraid of.  For more on Low Carb Diets in general, GO HERE.


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