Paleo Diet: hot trend or a survival guide?

Photo illustration by Joel McCarthy.

The dos and don’ts

By Savis Irandoost, Contributor

Ever heard of the Paleo Diet? Well, up until a week ago, I hadn’t either. I was shown the documentary The Perfect Human Diet by my sister and I was dumbfounded. I had been living in the dark. Turns out, Paleo is quite a trending topic among health conscious people everywhere. As I listened to all the history and science behind this theory, I started worrying about all the people who had never (and unfortunately may never) hear its principles.

Paleo is short for Palaeolithic, as in the Palaeolithic Era. Although many experts believe that a true Paleo diet can’t be duplicated, there are ways of getting close. The modern Paleo Diet consists simply of fish, meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It excludes all grains, dairy products, legumes, potatoes, excess sugar, and vegetable oils. Yes, this is a gluten-free diet, so no rye, spelt, wheat, oats, or barley. Brown rice, corn, and peanuts are also out. This diet restricts milk as well, because our bodies technically don’t need to drink milk past the age of two. Very little dairy is allowed. If you absolutely need to eat carbohydrates, eat as little as possible.

After watching The Perfect Human Diet, I realized that there is a huge conspiracy among us. Government-issued food guides and authors everywhere recommend five to ten servings of grains a day. You might already know that white flour is absolutely horrible for you, but did you know that those multi-grains and whole grains aren’t good for you either? The Perfect Human Diet taught me that up until the last few thousand years there was hardly anything in our diet other than meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and berries. Is it any wonder that our bodies simply haven’t evolved for the present and ever-changing food of today?

The documentary went on to explain that as soon as early humans started eating other animals, their intelligence grew substantially. Nowadays some might say our intelligence is not only stagnant but declining, I think, in part, due to our poor eating habits. We never had these starchy additions before and even if we did, they’re so genetically modified now they would be of no use to us anyway. In a nutshell, most products at the grocery store have suspicious ingredients. Make your shopping trip easy and stick to the Paleo checklist, avoid the processed food in the centre aisles, and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where you will find the fresh meat and vegetables.

My parents have been so supportive of my choice to go Paleo. They even follow the diet with me. In less than a week, my dad has already lost five pounds. I have yet to see results, but it is much too soon to judge. I love bread almost as much as meat, so I hope I can continue my perfect streak as long as possible. Either way, I’ll never go back to the way I was consuming before. I believe that due to the way that we have evolved, all human beings are allergic to gluten. Some have a mild allergy and some a very severe one. Luckily, I am the ultimate carnivore and so were our ancestors. My main health concern before was how tired and hungry I always felt. Ever since I’ve been on the Paleo diet, I feel great. I’m never bloated, I don’t feel sick or stuffed, my digestion is great, and who knows? Maybe my brain will start working better. Now that’s food for thought.