If you have any interest in nutrition and health, you’ve likely heard quite a bit about the paleo diet. Some people give it rave reviews and others aren’t so fond of it. What gives?! Here are a few pros and cons that may help you determine if paleo is right for you.
1. Emphasis on whole foods
The paleo diet places a a strong emphasis on whole foods rather than packaged products with ingredients most people can’t even pronounce. You won’t find many shelf-stable paleo products because additives and preservatives aren’t exactly welcome. There’s no doubt that increasing your intake of nutrient dense whole foods while decreasing your intake of man-made products will benefit your health.
2. Elimination of common food allergens
Food intolerances and allergies are on the rise. The paleo diet eliminates at least three of the most common food allergens: gluten, dairy and soy. Fatigue, headaches, joint pain, brain fog, skin problems and digestive issues have been associated with these ingredients. You may notice that you feel great when beginning to eat paleo. Problems you didn’t even realize you had may disappear. If you reintroduce any foods and notice a problem, you know what changes to make in order to improve your health. This is valuable information, so experimenting with paleo is worth it for many people.
3. Cooking skills
Today, it’s not even necessary to know how to cook. Everything is instant; but as you know, instant doesn’t equal healthy. You don’t have to be a classically trained chef to enjoy paleo meals, but you should probably know how to cook a spaghetti squash and roast some vegetables. This gives you the opportunity to learn something new, experiment and find what you really like. It can also be a great way to get your family more involved in meal time and taking responsibility for their health.
With a quick Google search, you’ll find plenty of tips for saving time while cooking and meal planning. However, cooking always takes longer than dumping something out of a package or zipping through a drive-thru. It may be difficult for you to adjust to this initially, as paleo requires a bit more planning and preparation.
Although not everyone on the paleo diet follows the exact same guidelines, the quality of animal protein is often emphasized. Wild-caught fish and organic meats and eggs aren’t exactly budget friendly. For those of you in smaller towns, they may even be tough to find.
No chips? No pizza? No cheese, bagels or sandwiches? You may find it difficult to eat out or participate in social functions involving food while following the paleo diet. There are tons of paleo recipes, but don’t expect everyone to jump on the paleo train with you. They may or may not be supportive of your decision now that you’re more selective about where and what you will eat.
What are your experiences?
Have you tried the paleo diet? What other pros and cons have you experienced?