Saturday, April 27, 2013

So...Cavemen Had Ovens?

As I've said many times here, I don't really follow a real "name brand" diet. I've tried many of them in the past and they all ended up not quite doing the job when it came to weight maintenance. Nowadays, when people ask what SPECIFIC diet I follow, all I can really say besides "healthy food in decent portions" is "make sure you choose a style of eating that you can continue in the long run." Because as trite as it sounds, "dieting" usually means eating a certain way until a goal is achieved, and this (meaning Streamlined Ska Librarian life) is an ongoing way of eating.

But that doesn't stop people from trying to push another agenda on me. A lot of them have told me that I should follow the Paleo Diet, as if somehow maintaining a 75 lb weight loss and building muscle is just not doing it right. I think they just want more affirmation on their own plans, but all I can really offer is support to be healthy.

I never really gave much though the the Paleo Diet, but on the surface it seems pretty much a low-carb kind of thing. I tried low-carb'ing several years ago. Weight came off, but it's not a sustainable way of eating. I LIKE whole grains!

There's nothing wring with the basic concept of trying to eat less processed, more whole foods; increasing the fruit and vegetables, getting rid of the sugar and excess salt. It's all fine. But the complete removal of certain foods that aren't processed and sugar/salt/fat laden is not going to be feasible in the long run.

I had to see if my secret BFFs at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had anything to say about the issue and sure enough, they did. And they also were concerned about sustaining the diet, not the mention the lack of fiber intake.

And then some scholarly research has been done through the years.A fairly recent report shows that a Paleo Diet can lower cholesterol, insulin levels and blood pressure, although the researchers do caution that it was a small sample group that were not at risk for any of these issues before.

Older articles, and some go way back, address actual paleolithic era diets and results based on the remains of said folk. Some issues: early osteoarthritis and osteoporosis...not to mention the average life span being several decades shorter.

So, let's just say instead of claiming that we're reclaiming the "more natural" way of the past, we're just trying to be more mindful about our food intake? Oh, right, that sounds unsexy.

I would say the Paleo Diet could be feasible, but of course, faux food has to brought into the equation. And again...if it's such a good choice of eating style, why do you have to pretend you're eating something else?

The other day a friend posted a link on his Facebook page to a recipe for "Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies."
I started laughing as I thought this might be a joke. But a simple online search shows there are dozens and dozens of recipes for this item.

Most of these recipes are the same: almond flour, some form of coconut (oil or flour), baking soda, vanilla extract, a sweetener (often sugar) and chocolate chips. I'm already calling shenanigans on the chips, which are soooo processed as to be completely unlike anything found during cavemen time.

But some of the recipes really go off the rails:
sugar (isn't that the ultimate no-no on this diet?)
wheat flour (again...the whole no grains thing?)
ghee (oh, come on! clarified butter?)


*ahem* sorry. This is why these fad diets irk me. Creating a cookie is not Paleo. Gluten-Free? Perhaps. Healthier than a store brand? Probably so.  But a return to a natural pre-historic suppsoed way of eating? Nope.

When you claim something is part of a diet or creating more faux foods, do you not wonder why that diet may not be successful? I try to stay away from trigger foods and situations where I'll eat tons of bad for me food. I really try not to eat cake and sugar bombs. But I don't sacrifice opportunities to try things, even modern things.

So here was yesterday's breakfast:
1/4 chickpea flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 egg white (thereabouts)
mustard greens
(nuked together and then topped with)
some lime slasa
asiago cheese
and some prunes for a sweet thing

You caveman may start drooling now.


Campbell, Harry. “THE EVOLUTION OF MAN’S DIET.” The Lancet 164, no. 4235 (October 29, 1904): 1234–1237. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(01)34454-9.

Frassetto, L. A., M. Schloetter, M. Mietus-Synder, R. C. Morris, and A. Sebastian. “Metabolic and Physiologic Improvements from Consuming a Paleolithic, Hunter-gatherer Type Diet.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63, no. 8 (February 11, 2009): 947–955. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.4.

“Like the Paleo Diet? Try This Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.” Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health. Accessed April 24, 2013.

“Paleo Diet -- What You Need to Know -- US News Best Diets.” Accessed April 25, 2013.

Schwarcz, Henry P. “Some Theoretical Aspects of Isotope Paleodiet Studies.” Journal of Archaeological Science 18, no. 3 (May 1991): 261–275. doi:10.1016/0305-4403(91)90065-W.

“Should We Eat Like Our Caveman Ancestors? from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.” Accessed April 25, 2013.

Verhaegen, M., and P.-F. Puech. “Hominid Lifestyle and Diet Reconsidered : Paleo-environmental and Comparative Data.” Human Evolution 15, no. 3–4: 175–186. Accessed April 25, 2013.

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