Wednesday, 3 April 2013


After completing the Whole30 and reintroducing any eliminated foods and food groups, after declaring the continuation of my diet Paleolithic according to Cordain's 85-15 rule, and after sliding down the slippery slope away from a Paleo diet and towards one that includes non-Paleo foods, I'm slowly starting to (finally) conclude what kind of diet serves me best - for now at least.

Back in December, I wrote a guest post here entitled Paleo Confessions. In this post, I talked about my experience during the Whole30 and my transition to a (predominantly) Paleo diet, including any challenges I may have encountered. Now, I want to share with you the reasons why I've decided to not fully adopt a Paleo diet, a choice that I've made not only based on personal diet and health, but finances, convenience, and well,  just life, in general.

In the next few posts, I will be writing about my reasons for ditching Paleo and adopting the best diet that works for me, a nutritionally-dense one with an emphasis on real, whole foods and balance.

These are my confessions in Paleo, part II. So long, Paleo.

To start with:

Nothing is perfect, including legumes and their anti-nutrients. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet find comfort in knowing that foods such as legumes and whole grains can provide adequate protein. They consider legumes and grains as healthful additions to a plant-based diet, full of fresh vegetables and fruit. In contrast, and for the purpose of this discussion, Paleo advocates strictly avoid the consumption of legumes and grains, with the reasoning that these foods contain anti-nutrients that inhibit the body from absorbing healthy nutrients and are therefore, considered harmful when consumed.

But, must we completely exclude legumes and grains? Or can we enjoy them on occasion? After all, these foods are known to have many health benefits as well. While on the one hand you could argue that legumes and some grains should be avoided for their anti-nutrients, you could also argue that meat should be avoided for lacking particular nutrients found in plant-based protein sources. Or, you could say that those who choose a plant-based diet and who, perhaps, consume an increasing amount of soy are putting themselves at higher risk for other health ailments (read here). There are all kinds of different arguments that you could make about the nutritional value of specific foods. After all, it's what the food industry wants.

The food industry wants us to remain in this constant state of nutritional confusion.

But, back to my main point. Just like legumes and some grains with their anti-nutrients, soy with its increasingly negative hormonal effects, and processed foods with their high salt, sugar, and fat content, nothing is perfect. Legumes boast beneficial nutrients. Soy, if fermented, can actually help stop the effects of certain anti-nutrients and is beneficial to our gut health. Processed foods, although not recommended and are the one thing that should be excluded from any diet, get a pass in exceptionally moderate amounts (the problem is, most people don't know what moderate means - and this is another topic for another day).

But again, nothing is perfect. Not even the Paleo diet - for a number of reasons, I'm sure, but the ones that come to mind for me are (1) it's expensive, and (2) it's difficult to maintain within our current social environment. From eating out at restaurants to family dinners and other social functions, a true Paleo diet can be extremely limiting and our social surroundings can't always be accommodating of that. I'm not saying don't give it a whirl - finding a diet that works for you is all about experimenting.

Don't knock it 'til you rock it. 

Bottom line (and you'll hear it again in numerous posts to come), I like having the option of consuming plant-based proteins. I don't eat these proteins all of the time, but I also don't eat animal protein all of the time. I've found a balance that works for me.

I think that so many of us get caught up in following a particular diet, one that is prescribed for us by others who might not necessarily know what works best for our individual body. For me, the best way to determine what diet I should follow is to experiment. I have tried a lot of different approaches, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm making progress in terms of what works best for me - what's best for my health, a lifestyle that offers nutrition, variety, sustainability, and above all, enjoyment.

Stay tuned for parts 3 through 5, or 6 or 7.

info and image via dr. mercola, wellness mama, and super human

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

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