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Weighing In on the Paleo Diet

Started by Sommer , author of A Spicy Perspective — Easy Recipes and Spicy Conversation — 4/2/2012 8:00:10 AM

The Paleo Diet or "Caveman Diet" is a hot topic right now, yet opinions vary on what all it entails.

Many Paleo Dieters focus on eating vegetables, protein, nuts and seeds--foods that would have been collected by the cavemen.

This doctor claims all grains and legumes are "seeds" and are not meant for digestion. Therefore they cause all sorts of sensitivities.

Personally, I eat plenty of grains, legumes and seeds and notice no difference as long as I stay clear of wheat.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Paleo Diet. Has anyone tried this and noticed a change for the better or worse? It seems awfully restricted, especially for those already minding food sensitivities.

Is this just another diet fad that will be tossed aside by next year?

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Reply by Glutenvygirl

author of glutenvygirl 4/3/2012 3:28:03 PM

I don't know. I have read quite a bit about it, but I am not "on" it. I like that it steers towards natural, organic foods and grass fed beef, and steers away from gluten, as well as sugar and food additives and colors. I don't like the fact that it seems funny about fats and oils - some okay, some not, etc. Also, potatoes are often suggested to not be on the diet (I have read conflicting opinions on this). I also do not like how restrictive it is about legumes. 


Yeah, we are big bean eaters. I'm not sure a would give them up!


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Reply by Katy (KatySheCooks)

author of Katy She Cooks — 4/4/2012 8:20:01 AM
Well, I'm temporarily (a year? maybe?) on the GAPS diet, which is similar to Paleo -- only it does allow three legumes (lentils, white navy beans, and limas -- the high starch content of other legumes makes them illegal, not the fact that they are seeds). I've found that if legumes are prepared well, by soaking for 12-24 hours to reduce phytates, they are much more easily digestible by most people. Every culture that consumed legumes used fermenting or soaking to achieve this. My main question re: paleo is that, as a lifestyle, it would be SO hard to maintain for a lifetime. It's a huge challenge for me being on GAPS right now, and there is an end in sight! (incidentally, I have this opinion about other lifestyle diets as well, such as raw vegan -- any complete shift in diet for the rest of your life would be very difficult to sustain, and somewhat isolating -- though I have no judgement toward those who make the leap and see positive results.)

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Reply by Leo

author of drunkonlife.net 4/4/2012 9:20:19 AM
I have to say it really depends on the reason why you are considering Paleo. I have found no other "diet" that removes weight so quickly (I lost 20 pounds in a period of about 4 weeks). But if you are looking for a "lifestyle" diet, I would bet that the nourishing traditions diet would be more up your alley. They focus on "old school" diets rather than "primitive" diets and the book actually shows you how to soak grains so that the phytate binders disappear, make whey and homemade yogurt, etc. It basically is Paleo but doesn't put limitations on legumes and rice.

Agreed. I think Paleo could be a good transitional or stepping stone diet - GAPS as well - but it should probably be to get you to a goal of some sort, not a long term lifestyle change.

Leo's profile picture
Leo said ...
I have to say it really depends on the reason why you are considering Paleo. I have found no other "diet" that removes weight so quickly (I lost 20 pounds in a period of about 4 weeks). But if you are looking for a "lifestyle" diet, I would bet that the nourishing traditions diet would be more up your alley. They focus on "old school" diets rather than "primitive" diets and the book actually shows you how to soak grains so that the phytate binders disappear, make whey and homemade yogurt, etc. It basically is Paleo but doesn't put limitations on legumes and rice.


Personally, I'm a patient like the one the Dr mentioned and after going gluten free, I wasn't healing. So I was tested for cross-reactive foods and as he said in the clip, I was having a similar reaction to other grains as if they were gluten, so I gave up all grains. I definitely feel better, though I have so much intestinal and immune damage that I don't fee l as good yet as I hope to (been 90 days now on Paleo diet) but I did lose 10 lbs. Most people with less intestinal damage report feeling like a new person - better energy, better sleep patterns, less mood swings, etc. If only the docs knew 20 years ago what they know today!  I would def encourage you to try it as a reboot of your system if nothing else though! To good health :)


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Reply by Sandi

4/4/2012 12:57:02 PM

I have been on the paleo diet for more than a year now. My doctor ordered it as I was not healing from just being gluten free and I was extremely sick. I had a belly full of inflammation and could barely function at all. I spoke with Robb Wolf, who wrote The Paleo Solution, when I wasn't feeling better after two months on the diet and he told me to also eliminate all night shades (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) and go completely gluten free in all products for my skin, as transdermal contact is as bad as oral. After doing that, the following month I lost 10 pounds and started to heal. A year+ later, I wouldn't change this diet for anything. If I cheat and eat ANY grain at all over a period of a few days, within a week, I will start to feel sick again and put on weight (my body's inflammation reaction). The cross-reactivity in some people is far worse than in others. I am a walking testament to that fact. I cannot process grains at all. I'm not sure if I ever will. There are so many recipes for this diet, I could never possibly get bored. I don't miss grains at all except when baking. Even then, I have found ways around it. Don't disregard this "diet" (lifestyle) simply because it seems difficult. For some, it's a lifesaving way of living and eating, and it's not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Pinterest has a multitude of recipes for GAPs, paleo, grain free, gluten free. It's impossible to get bored.


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Reply by Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and P

author of Peanut Butter and Peppers 4/4/2012 2:12:00 PM
Personally I don't believe in diets, but I believe in being sensible. I lost over 30lbs from changing my eating habits, from eating crap to eating healthy. I think, every meal should include a healthy carb, such as potatoes or grains, a little fat, like olive oil and nuts, protein like chicken or fish and lots of vegetables. It's to hard to go through life being specific to a diet, to many guidleines and rules. I love all foods, I just know not to eat fried, sugars, pastries ect... Food is an enjoyable part to life and I don't think you should cut out all the foods you love because is restricted. Thats when people fall off the diet, so you should be able to eat what you like in moderation of course. Sorry if I went off the subject. :)

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Reply by Anne-Marie

author of This Mama Cooks! On a Diet 4/4/2012 5:44:52 PM

I believe that some ways of eating - vegan, Atkins, South Beach, or Paleo - are right for some people and wrong for others (or to hard to follow). If Paleo works for you, that's wonderful! It's about being open minded and trying things out to see what the best fit for you is.


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Reply by Lizzy's Creations

author of Corner Girl 4/4/2012 5:58:55 PM

I've read about it, but I'm not all for it.  I don't believe we have to eat like science believes our ancestors used to eat in order to eat healthy, but I do believe that there are benefits to increasing exercise, and raw, whole foods. Pesticides, growth hormones, and overly processed foods are our worst enemy when it comes to health.  Eating mass produced junk foods does bad things to our body and is chemically addicting... I'm glad that we are moving away from that direction at least, whatever name you call it, paleo, raw vegan, organic, whatever! As long as it's whole, unprocessed food! :)


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