“Anyone who ‘knows’ what specific diet is best is either misguided, selling something, or likely both.” @drchrismohr
As a board certified Nutritional Therapist, the foods of traditional diets and the fact that we’re 99.9% the same as when man first walked the earth, what I choose to eat myself, has a lot in common with going Paleo.
There’s been a lot in the news recently on whether the Paleo diet is dangerous: the danger and impracticality of avoiding certain food groups, high content of red meat and the lack of whole grains, a claim it’s the first cousin to Dr. Atkins and the low-carb craze, a quick fix and a fad to follow for miracles to happen, even though ironically that same article finishes with “You have to work at being healthy over a long period of time” which is what Paleo would promote. Perhaps one of the best responses is ‘over to you to decide if there might be some vested interest going on’. I agree, we are our own best health coach.
Personally, I think there is no one size fits all diet, there is no one superfood: nothing is either good or bad, just in or out of balance. A great variety of diets are healthy and certain dietary laws are inflexible: foods must be properly prepared and in their whole forms, contain no refined or denatured foods, use some type of animal products, with some raw, include foods with high enzyme content, seeds, grains, and nuts need proper soaking, sprouting, fermenting, or naturally leavening, fat content varies from 30 – 80% of total calories (only four percent from polyunsaturated fatty acids), with nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, contain some salt, and make use of bones, usually as broth, especially for minerals our diets are so deficient in. These are the findings of our nutritional pioneer, Weston A Price. The findings too of Francis Pottenger show us that the de-generation of his studied cats is a mirror image of our current social and health situation: structural deformity, social stress, allergies, reproductive problems. The hope too is that just as Dr. Pottenger reversed the diets of the first and second processed milk cats, so too can we as humans.
I think Paleo is a great template, a starting point back to health. Having had nutritional guidelines from what’s often been called a feedlot pyramid, where our food pyramid bears unflattering resemblance to that used to fatten cows, it seems we’ve come to need science to prove what works. And in keeping, there are some already and some in the pipeline. One of the biggest reproaches of Paleo is the avoidance of whole food groups and increased macronutrient portions not recommended by the food pyramid. But who decides what a food group is by definition in the first place, the ones that support it’s creation? Another criticism is that people who seem to have done well on a Paleo diet have been sick to begin with, but ore and more people are experiencing allergies and other reversions to food – grains, legumes, dairy, too much sugar – and we’re all fatter and sicker than we’ve ever been. We haven’t changed, our food has. If anything that could be applied as a blanket need for improvement it would be the avoidance of processed foods. I’d also add improvements in digestion, but that’s another topic altogether.
One of the best things you can do for your health is to learn how to transition our diet to nutrient-rich foods. Yes, we have to work at being healthy over a long period of time and it’s definitely ‘over to you to decide’: we are our own best health coach; we know our bodies better than anyone. If any study shows anything it’s that the food pyramid is not working. As Michael Pollan so aptly says, ‘we’re not dieters, we’re eaters’ and ultimately how much of what type of food we eat is our own decision, not some nutritional recommendation that needs to be right for everyone. We are what we eat is an age old adage and we just have to strip our diet back from processed foods and things our body doesn’t recognize as food, and our body’s, as what we eat, will become what we want as a result: unprocessed and healthy.