So, let’s talk about the Paleo diet, shall we? Possibly one of the hottest diet trends of all time the last few years has become the Paleo diet, also known as the Caveman diet. Here’s the gist of it: you’ll be eating mostly fruit, veggies, leafy greens, eggs and meat while you’re on the diet. Everything else besides some nuts, coconut, coffee, tea, and honey is pretty much out. I don’t follow the Paleo diet for several reasons and you know what? I’m still thin and very healthy! I think the Paleo diet can be a great nutrition plan for some, but if you’re not sure it’s for you or not, I’m going to show you 7 things to look at before you start. I personally don’t tolerate the sugar called for in the diet from fruits or honey, at all, due to a fructose intolerance and sugar issues. I also don’t like eating meat, therefore these just aren’t things I’m willing to conform to. For reasons such as these and more, check out what you need to know before you jump on board the Paleo diet. Trust me, no matter what Paleo purists will tell you, there are other amazing ways to eat. The benefits of the diet are that no processed food is allowed, which is something we should all try to adhere to anyway. Plus, if you have ever recovered after suffering from an eating disorder like I have, you’ll run at the word diet to begin with!
1. You Aren’t a Meat Eater
As I said, one reason I don’t follow the Paleo diet is I just don’t crave or care for meat that often. I understand that meat is a great source of protein, and I do include fish in my own diet for certain reasons. However, if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or you just don’t care for meat, then you may be in my shoes. Don’t go Paleo and force yourself to eat chicken, beef and eggs every morning for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can forget about your typical breakfast foods, because Paleo is all about animal protein at every meal. This can get pricey too, which is another reason I don't like it. The diet doesn’t even advise you to go with protein powders, so no more protein smoothies for breakfast, or even as snack. If this sounds like a turn-off, this may be one reason Paleo isn’t for you.
2. You like Grains
Can’t imagine a morning without your oats? Well, sorry, they’re not allowed on Paleo, nor is quinoa. Nope, no grains, or even pseudograins like quinoa or millet, are allowed on the diet. I technically don’t eat lots of grains myself. My digestion works better if I omit them, but I tolerate oats, quinoa and brown rice protein powder okay. If you’re in love with oats and can’t imagine life without some good old overnight oats or quinoa at dinner, then Paleo isn’t for you, hun, and that’s okay! Eat your oats and be merry!
3. You’re a Yogurt Lover
Oh, how I heart my organic Greek yogurt. It’s the one type of dairy I tolerate besides kefir, and I eat some guilt-free everyday. I just don’t feel right without it either! Well, on Paleo, you’re not allowed any dairy- period. Nothing. Yes, dairy-free alternatives are out there, but most dairy-free yogurts are filled with fillers that are hard to digest. I do suggest buying dairy-free almond milk, like the unsweetened vanilla Silk brand, which is excellent, by the way. Dairy milk isn’t the best for weight loss, but yogurt is actually great for you! Just stick to plain unsweetened varieties and sweeten with stevia or fresh fruit on your own. Oh, and while you’re on Paleo, no cheese of any kind is allowed, along with sour cream or any other cow-derived dairy food.
4. You’re in Love with Hummus
Who doesn’t love some good carrots and hummus, right? Gosh, that stuff is good! Well, on Paleo, no legumes of any kind are allowed, and hummus is made from chickpeas, a type of legume. You also can’t eat legumes like peas, peanuts, or edamame. No peas or beans of any kind are allowed, including dips like hummus that include them. If you can’t imagine life without hummus, as I know I can't, Paleo isn’t for you, dear!
5. You like Balance
While I think it is great that the Paleo diet allows you to eat fresh fruit, veggies, and lean protein, I don’t like that it is so exclusive otherwise. I realize the stances that the creators of the diet embrace, such as legumes are hard to digest and contain certain chemical compounds that can bind with nutrients, creating poor nutrient absorption for some people. I also see their stance on grains, which is that they can be hard to digest and cause some people to actually gain weight. Yet, I don’t believe everyone loses and gains weight the same. I’ve seen some people on the same diet lose weight, while others gained weight. My body particularly works very different than other people’s and just doesn’t care for heavy meat dishes at all. I also don’t like that animals are dying so I can eat them two or three times a day. The Paleo diet doesn’t have a lot of balance, which can make it hard to follow long term, and boring too. I tried it for a week and hated eating! If you crave balance, don’t go Paleo or you’ll be the same.
6. You Enjoy Variety
If you like to eat oatmeal some mornings, a smoothie the next, and perhaps eggs another day, you’re probably not going to like the Paleo diet. Since it limits so many foods, there’s not a lot of variety here. I need some options in my meals, and again, if you’re not into meat, it’s going to be even tougher to find variety in the Paleo diet.
7. You’re Not Concerned with Conforming
Here’s my final reason for deciding if the Paleo diet isn’t for you: conformity isn’t your thing. Paleo is a trend, just like Atkins, despite what it says that it has been around since the beginning of time. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe we were all made to eat the same diet, and Paleo suggests that we are. I believe that, with all the cultures in this world, different foods that grow from the earth, and ways to eat nutritious, whole foods, conforming to one diet is just nonsense.
If you’re a food rebel like me, do what you like to do! Find what works for you when trying to lose weight and stop picking up all those diet books. Oh, and if you’re a Paleo lover, please don’t be mad at me! I’m glad it is working for you. My point of this article is just to prove we’re all different and can be into different styles of eating! No matter what you eat, choose something healthy, clean, and be happy! Have you ever tried to follow the Paleo diet and quit?