I've waited for a little bit to write this post on my transition into the Paleo way of eating, because I wanted to be sure that it was something that I really want to do (the diet, not the post). The Paleo (A.K.A primal, caveman, ancestral, etc.) diet was something that I became introduced to in a very superficial way when I started reading a lot of health and weight loss blogs. I definitely wrote it off as a fad diet, which was something that I just wasn't interested in, in my efforts to get healthy. I didn't really explore it or endeavor to learn much about it, for that reason.
Then, in a comment on a recent post of mine, Josh from 700 Pounds is as Bad as it Sounds (check out his blog if you haven't read it) recommended that I watch the documentary Fat Head, made by comedian Tom Naughton. In short, it's a sort of response to the documentary Super Size Me that disproves a lot of the findings from the movie. More than that, it addresses some of the misinformation that we accept to be true in the modern diet. Some of the information in the documentary was absolutely mind blowing, and seemed to be backed up by at least some science. I decided to do a bit of research about the movie and to look into whether the claims in the movie were backed up by good science.
From what I could see, it had a pretty solid foundation of research behind it, which made me more and more intrigued. I looked more into Tom Naughton, and found out that he now followed and was a big advocate for the Paleo diet. From there, my interest in the Paleo diet was kind of piqued, and I slowly began actually looking into what it was and what it was based on. I spent quite a few weeks doing a lot of online research and finding out more. What I found really made sense to me.
I like the idea of whatever diet I am going to consume being heavily supported by research. Paleo really ticks this box for me. Although I initially assumed it to be simply copying what our primal ancestors consumed, it is actually supported up by quite a significant body and research and science. There seems to be a lot of consideration for what nutritional research is saying about eating for optimal health, and from what I've seen has a big role in the culture of the Paleo community. I'm way too green to explain more about Paleo, and won't presume to know basically anything about it, so for anyone who's interested I would recommend starting with Robb Wolf's website for a really simple explanation.
So, over the last couple of weeks, I've been letting everything I've learned sink in. I've weighed up whether or not I think that Paleo is something that I want to do, given that it will mean some really extreme dietary changes. I gave it time to see if my interest went away, but it really didn't. I've been really excited by the whole idea. So, in the last week and a half, I've decided to start attempting a slow transition into trialing Paleo eating for myself.
Right now, I'm working on eating almost completely whole foods and taking out some of the most commonly avoided foods in Paleo, like grains, legumes and non-natural sugars. I'm barely dipping my toe in and I've already felt some improvements in my energy. I've also had some negative reactions, which I'm told are normal in the early stages as the body adjusts to fueling itself with a new fuel source (i.e. proteins and fats, rather than carbohydrates).
It hasn't been easy, especially when it comes to figuring out exactly what I can eat, but I feel really good about it. I feel like, given the current evidence base (which may and probably will change), I'm doing what makes most sense for my health right now. Absolutely not just for weight loss, but for my long term physiological health. I'm approaching this trial run with what I hope is a bit of healthy skepticism, but I'm excited to see if there really are any benefits to eating the Paleo way.