It’s probably pretty clear how I feel about the Paleo Diet.

Of course, nothing is ever black and white with me, especially when it comes to food. While generally I don’t support the Paleo diet as a whole {mostly the way it’s interpreted}, there are a few redeeming qualities about it. One of the standouts: very few people try the Paleo Diet and say, “wow I really feel like crap now”. Instead, it’s quite the opposite. Here are a few reasons why I like it:

paleo benefits

1. It provides clear guidelines.

There’s nothing I hate more about the “diet” mentality than rules that state whether foods are “good” or “bad”. Foods don’t have personalities- they can’t be good or bad. What’s more, you can’t really single out specific foods, it’s more about the big picture: how much and how often you eat certain foods, and what your diet looks like as a whole.

That being said, a lot of people looking to make an overhaul to their diet or health in general need a structured framework to get started. They need someone {or something} giving them a green or red light on what they should or shouldn’t eat. It’s easier to break old patterns and habits if you have a clear cut outline to follow, especially in the beginning.

2. It looks beyond fat, carbs, and calories.

There’s so much more to good nutrition than grams of fat or net carbs. The Paleo diet doesn’t harp on calorie counting, tracking macronutrients, or being rigid about portion sizes. Instead, the paleo diet focuses on quality and type of food. By getting rid of the detrimental aspects of the Standard American Diet, you eliminate the need to nitpick on numbers.

3. It slaps dairy in the face. {Sometimes}.

Dairy’s no good for you. It’s inflammatory, mucous-producing, bone-sucking, and autoimmune-destroying. {Yeah, yeah, I’d be the first one to dig into a mound of goat cheese if my son wasn’t allergic to it, but I’ve never claimed to follow a perfect diet.;)} With years and years {and millions of dollars} of “drink more milk” messages crammed down our throats, I’m glad something popular is calling it out for what it is. I only wish it didn’t file it into a gray area. That doesn’t mean there’s NO room for dairy- I just think we all need to be a little more educated about it- it’s not the ONLY {or best} source of calcium.

4. It looks deeper than just nutrients & into absorption.

I don’t love that the Paleo diet cuts out major food groups like beans and all grains {as opposed to just gluten-containing grains}, but I do love the theory behind this: beans and grains contain elements that interfere with nutrient absorption. It’s not just about what you eat, it’s about how your body processes it. You can eat all the good things in the world, but if your gut can’t absorb them, it’ll do you no good. The emphasis the Paleo diet makes on intestinal health and how a healthy vs damaged gut digests foods is fantastic.

5. It’s making health “cool”.

I hate that it takes a fad to do it, but anything –anything- that gets people focusing on the bigger picture of their health gets a check in my book.

 

All that being said, sometimes I think “going Paleo” would make my life a lot easier- it meets all the needs of my son’s diet- no dairy, no soy, no gluten. Except for the whole not loving meat thing {although I’ve definitely added more in to increase my choices while breastfeeding}. <—Yup, there may be a connection to the allergy thing there, dontcha think? But I digress…

What do you like/not like about the Paleo and other similar diets?