I gave up on the Paleo Diet before starting it. It's viewed as "closed minded" by some of my coworkers and clients, but there are aspects of the diet I don't see beneficial to me. I try to eat whole foods, but the cost and restrictive nature of the diet is a turn off.
Restrictions and exclusions are a turn off
People can live without eating dairy and grains, but I prefer not to. I'm Amerasian, and was brought up on starchy, white rice. I eat quinoa every now and then, but rice is my favorite. Sweet potatoes are recommended for post workout to restore glycogen over grains, but I don't like the taste or texture of American sweet potatoes. I Iove purple and Korean Yams, but they upset my stomach.
Both tree nuts and legumes (peanuts) have never been kind to my digestive system so that also minimizes my food. The exclusion of wheat and wheat products make no difference with my lifestyle because I have gluten sensitivities. These food exclusions, along with the tight constraints of the Paleolithic diet, create a very restrictive nutrition program.
High fat content foods
There are good health effects from monounsaturated fats in the Paleo diet, but from experience with personal training clients I've found clients ate an average of 60% to 70% fats when journaled. Since the Paleo diet is based on satiety these clients rely heavily on nuts and seeds to dissipate hunger. This turns into a high fat, high caloric day when added to "cheat" foods not on the Stone Age diet. My views are based on a small number of people, but several Paleo studies are also based off of small control groups.
On the other hand, if someone finds the modern-day Stone Age diet suitable for them, they're losing weight (if that's their goal) or it positively changes their blood work; I don't see any issues with them doing it, but I don't plan to eat this way.
Sustainability: Is it possible?
The Paleo Diet for Athletes reiterates, "Remember the ground rules of modern-day Stone Age diets: The diet contain no grains, dairy products, salt processed foods, or fatty meats; they consist almost entirely of fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats and sea food."
Paleo's lifetime sustainability is inconclusive, but there's a large number of fitness enthusiasts who swear they can sustain this style of eating for lifetime. For them it's a lifestyle.
Books, magazines and blogs are inundated with recipes for flavorful cooking, but I've been eating clean, whole foods for years. I'm at the point that these foods are boring.
High price to pay for Paleo
The sheer cost of the Paleolithic diet is another reason why I gave up before starting. The belief that all foods should be organic and without preservatives increases the cost exponentially.
I can't afford for my entire family eat this way. My family of four consumes $300 to $350 of groceries a week. I cook at home most days and try to buy the best products for my money. The cost of our weekly groceries would easily double or triple to eat in this manner even when cooking with seasonal foods.
Lisa M. White
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