Paleo is starting to get a bad reputation. Most of this we can blame on vegans and special interest groups, but partly it’s because we haven’t yet gathered together as a community. We haven’t organized or united in any way. This allows everyone to just run amok calling everything they do Paleo. Eat nothing but bacon? Totally Paleo. CrossFit six days a week? Paleo—just harder. Not eating for three days? PAF.*
If this is what the average person hears about the Paleo lifestyle, it’s not surprising that it has started to get a reputation as a “fad diet,” or that we’re starting to get reputations as crazy freaks who are going to keel over and die from a heart attack…at…any…moment…now…
Which I assure you, we are not. We know this lifestyle works, and most of us are healthier than we’ve ever been. So, to help us understand some of the preconceptions we need to do away with when we’re proselytizing from our soap boxes (which is another blog post entirely), I enlisted the help of someone who had heard of Paleo but didn’t have any experience with it at all. Virginia Cunningham answered the call and set out to figure out if what she had heard about the Paleo diet was true.
*Stands for Paleo As Fu%k. Check out the International Paleo Movement Group for more information.
Debunking Myths About Paleo
By Virginia Cunningham
The Paleo Lifestyle has gotten a bad rap in the last few years. My initial opinion was based on second-hand information I had heard at the gym or from a family member—that it wasn’t sustainable over long periods of time. Recently, I started looking for a new healthy eating lifestyle that was do-able, never believing that Paleo would be worth my time.
However, all of those misconceptions changed when a good friend of mine told me about her experience with the Paleo lifestyle. She told me that her energy levels increased, allowing her to do things after a long day’s work that she never could before. I noticed that she was looking physically healthier, with a glow to her skin. I felt foolish, seeing the results in front of my eyes, to believe the rumors. So, I did some research to see for myself what myths I could dispel.
Paleo Doesn’t Have Enough Variety
I’m the sort of person who can’t eat the same lunch two days in a row. That’s a major concern of mine when choosing a diet to follow. From everything I previously heard about Paleo, meat was a major staple and not much else. Now, I like a good steak every once in a while, but I can only take so much; however, there are plenty of other things you can eat on the Paleo, including eggs, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables. I love that I can cook a variety of meals.
It’s Just Another Fad
I’m always a bit wary of any new lifestyle that revolves around food. Before I even hear about the newest fad, I already have five friends trying it out. And then, just as I start to learn more about it, the diet is out of popularity as quickly as it came. I thought Paleo was just another fad. With a little research, I discovered that Paleo is actually sometimes called the caveman lifestyle, as it’s based on what our Paleolithic ancestors ate about 200,000 years ago.
It’s Too Expensive
Unfortunately, the healthiest foods are often the most expensive. Staying on a budget is important to me. The reason people consider the Paleo Lifestyle to be expensive is because it includes farm-fed ingredients, which is always going to be pricier than inhumane meat factories; however, you can buy in bulk and freeze for a cost-effective solution.
It’s Only About Weight Loss
For me, eating right is not just about losing or maintaining weight; I want something that will improve my overall health. Fortunately, I discovered that there are far more advantages to the Paleo lifestyle than weight loss. My friend, who had often dealt with problems of lethargy, felt more energized than ever before while on Paleo. Her overall health also improved, and that’s what really matters.
The Paleo lifestyle will not give every individual the same results; however, by doing some research on your own, you can modify what you eat. How much meat, carbs, etc. that you consume will be a personal choice.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health writer, a mother and yoga enthusiast. She has tried nearly every diet in existence, and finding what was right for her took some time, research and hard work.