Are The Ingredients Of The Paleo Diet the Magic, or Is It What Is Not Eaten?
The Paleo, or Caveman, diet is followed by many looking to lose weight, rectify digestive disorders, and to maintain good health and prevent illnesses. One of the premises behind the diet is the use of food staples that were used by early human ancestors and those ingredients, because our body is accustomed to the foods, will be able to digest easier and keep us healthy. With the advent of better food storage and preparation, refrigeration, mobility of food all over the earth, we've added ingredients in those processes that our body has not evolved to for digestion. Humans, like all evolutionary creatures, evolve over time to adapt to the environment and the adaptive process enables all living creatures to continue to live and propogate, that including our digestive system.
What may be the larger component of this diet is it requires the elimination of certain foods from one's diet. Dairy products, grains, legumes, processed and fast foods are examples of foods that should not be eaten. Once one begins to eliminate those foods, then some of the benefits of the Paleo diet emerge, but is it due to changing foods in the diet or the elimination of foods known to not be healthy for us?
My experience, as the chief cook and bottle washer in our house, has been watching the changes of my wife, positive, as a result of her starting the diet. For years there have been digestive issues she has tried to overcome. Her diet has included dairy, cereals, cheese, breads etc., as well as elimination of lutens, bleached flours. On the new diet that the "head cook" prepares for her each night we've modified what we eat, however we've always used fresh, green, colorful and low fat local produced foods. We are not generally heavy meat eaters and we try to do fresh fish weekly. My wife though has always had a diet of minimally a bowl of cereal each day, possibly an energy bar or muffin/bagel with cream cheese. At night she included a cup of ice cream whenvever a half gallon of 'mint chocolate' was available., which is 4-5 nights per week. When she announced she was starting this diet it was announced to me that I "had to support her and do the diet too", or she could not do it. Of course my response was I'm not the one with the digestive issues, it's you. Reality though was since I prepared the meals the entire family was affected so basically the 2 daughters and myself ended up on the Paleo diet.
So far my wife seems to be benefitting from this diet, yet for me it's just "new food recipes" to try. I think my non change may simply be I really don't eat a lot of dairy, hardly ever any ice cream, once a month for cereal, and never a bagel or muffin, and a fast food hamburger is a semi annual thing. My diet has not been modified greatly however, hers has, and I wonder if the success she's seeing comes from not eating certain things rather than eating what is prescribed on this diet.
Of course our 17 and 20 y.o. daughters are still wailing and crying with the familiar mantra - "we want pasta!!" Let's see where this ends up.