Why the Paleo Diet Is Imperfect, but Healthy

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Time magazine has covered this extensively in a report called, “The Paleo Diet Craze: What’s Right and Wrong About Eating Like a Caveman” and we’re glad they have. With all the fad diets that pop up it can be hard to sort out which are actually going to work for us long term, and what is going to go by the wayside. Often some of the diets have grounding in some good facts, but should only be used for those facts and toss the rest. The Paleo diet is protein heavy like the familiar Atkins of times gone by, as well as being low carb, but will it go the way of the Atkins diet and disappear entirely?

Scientific American ran an article on June 3 stated that the Paleo Diet was “half-baked” suggesting that the caveman movement imagined a healthy, tall, ripped and agile 30 year old caveman, when that wasn’t realistic in the slightest. Their main problem with the paleo plan was in their banning of anything that wasn’t available to stone-age peoples like beans, dairy products and grains. One grain in particular, quinoa has been shown to be a super-food and that’s one grain nobody suffering with weight problems should go without, so taking the paleo diet with a grain of salt so to speak, is a safe option. The rest of their diet plan seems pretty solid, cutting out all forms of processed foods, but didn’t we all know that was bad for us?

Even US News ranked the paleo diet in 2014 at the very bottom, tied with the Dukan diet. Experts picked apart the diet plan and didn’t find it complete or sound enough to be a plan for life. Any diet plan must be balanced, and must not cut out specific food groups (excluding processed foods or those high in corn syrup) for it to be healthy and realistic long term. This doesn’t mean however, that there aren’t plenty of people who promote the healthier sides of the diet as being good to stick to while using another diet program that works well with it. Things like lean meats and fish, fruits and vegetables are and have always been healthy. Processed foods are devoid of any nutritional value, but that is where the helpful sides to the paleo diet end, and more nutritionally balanced diets take it’s place.

More important than even the dieting is when you’re eating and how much. Weight loss occurs when we change our eating habits to include foods we didn’t incorporate before. By cutting out processed foods, foods high in sugar and fructose levels, and keeping our carb intake to a minimum if we’re not working out daily, avoiding things like soda and switching to water instead, we are already on the right track to weight loss. The very best method will always be finding a way to eat that you can afford that is also healthy, and will fit into a busy lifestyle.

Here’s some of the best foods you can enjoy, and YES beans are on there! that you can use to help boost your weight loss goals and aren’t terribly expensive. The best part is, these will make you feel full and satisfied, which makes you eat less in the long run.

  • Beans: They’re cheap, filling and very versatile. A great source of protein, they’re high in fiber and slow to digest. This means you stay full for longer which prevents overeating.
  • Soup: If you have just one small cup of soup with your meal, aiming for 100-150 calories per serving, you will tend to eat less overall through the meal. (Broth based soups only, no cream bases)
  • Dark Chocolate: Oh yes, chocolate. A square or two of the darkest chocolate you can find and enjoy (some are too bitter for some people to appreciate) can help you to eat less, and has also been shown to have cardiovascular benefits.
  • Pureed Vegetables: If you love your comfort food macaroni and cheese, no worries. You can add things like pureed cauliflower and zucchini or broccoli to it, and it’s just as tasty but you eat less of it. The vegetables are nearly tasteless in the cheesy goodness, but they added low calorie bulk to the dish, resulting in a loss of 200 to 350 calories overall.
  • Eggs and Sausage: Protein rich breakfasts help resist snacking. Try for a sausage made with turkey, and avoid the temptation to stop by your favorite espresso stand or you’ll throw out your entire days worth of calories for one drink.
  • Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, walnuts or pecans have been shown through research studies to decrease the amount people eat later at mealtime.
  • Apples: No apple juice or apple sauce, but a fresh apple will certainly fill you up. It contains fiber and convinces your brain with all that chewing that you’ve eaten something substantial.
  • Yogurt: Greek yogurt is always best, and carries with it bacterias that we need for our bodies to stay healthy, particularly for women.
  • Grapefruit: Best for those at risk for diabetes, researchers from Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California found that when overweight people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped 3.5 pounds on average over 12 weeks. The same was noted with grapefruit juice.

With plenty of healthy food options out there that helps us to feel full longer and are great for our body in so many ways, there’s little excuse for remaining overweight and unhappy. There is a diet and a program out there for every person, and a library’s worth of tasty recipes that can be discovered with a healthy new life.

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