Have you tried the caveman diet? Lawrencians say 'yes' to Paleo
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Inject your next snack break with extra goodness by trying one of these simple, Paleo-friendly options:
• Apple slices spread with almond butter.
• A handful of cinnamon nuts. Dust whole raw nuts, like almonds, with cinnamon and bake at 250 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and snack.
• A pair of hard-boiled eggs with a dash of sea salt.
• A small bowl of guacamole salad. Combine equal amounts of cubed avocado and tomato, then sprinkle with chopped red onion, cilantro and the juice of a small lime.
• A glass of fruit-and-veggie juice, fresh from the blender. Try dark, leafy greens like spinach with a handful of blueberries and a small carrot for sweetness. Blend until smooth.
• Kale chips. Sprinkle kale with olive oil and bake at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes, until crisp.
- Associated Press
Thomas Thatcher, owner of CrossFit Lawrence, went on a Paleo diet four years ago, cutting out all processed foods. While he hasn't been strict about it the entire time, the health benefits haven't gone away.
"My whole diet philosophy is just stick with real food, things that grow," Thatcher explained. And he's in as good of shape as he's ever been because of it, he says.
While the Paleo diet can take many forms, it's usually interpreted as going back to the days of the caveman, meaning no manmade foods. It often excludes grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes and anything refined. People going Paleo say the modern diet has gotten out of whack, leading to an increase in chronic disease throughout the United States, and that the Paleo diet helps maintain a healthy metabolism, reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Lawrence family doctor Ryan Neuhofel said that, no matter what, it's important to eat a balanced diet. He also recommended that people undergoing a radical shift in their diet should be under the supervision of a professional. Radically cutting carbs can lead to severe ketoacidosis, he said, and the Paleo diet can sometimes leave people short on fiber.
"The human body is remarkably adaptable, so I don't think there is one 'ideal' diet for everyone," he said. "I think Michael Pollan's advice, 'Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants,' is good advice."
Nancy O'Connor, director of outreach and education at the Merc Co-op, said the popularity of Paleo and other whole-food diet has brought increasing awareness to the benefits of skipping processed foods.
"If you look around at all the convenience stores that are now selling whole foods and have natural food sections, that speaks a lot to the growth of that," she said. "The Merc has been in business for 40 years. We're no longer a niche store."
But local nutrition educator JoAnn Farb said one danger of the Paleo diet is that people might use it as a license to gorge on meat, fish, eggs and oil, which she says are linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as many environmental and moral concerns.
"To the degree that Paleo gets people off of sugar, processed carbs, dairy and gluten, I think it helps people to feel better," she said. "If any of those things have been major factors sabotaging an individual's health, people are likely to see some improvement in the Paleo diet, even if they are still consuming animal protein and oil, which are not health-promoting at all."
Sue Westwind, of Lawrence, said her health improved greatly after recently turning to a Paleo diet.
"After I kicked the grains, I felt a huge upsurge in energy and got back on track," she said. "With a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, you can't go wrong. I say go Paleo."