The last 6 months I’ve gotten pretty hooked on the paleo diet and have felt TONS better. However, no matter how great I look (my wife at least tells me I look great) nor how great I feel, I still get weird looks from friends and family as if I’m the crazy uncle who is doing some fad diet. That bugs me. A LOT. Especially when I’m the only one not overweight, have tons more energy than anyone else, and can actually qualify for life insurance because I don’t have heart problems.
It bugs me because the paleo diet, when you really break it down, has much less to do with what you can’t eat vs what you can and should eat – and that is good, nutrient-dense foods. Basically, all I’m doing is trying to:
- Maximize the amount of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) I get from the food I eat
- Limit and/or eliminate foods that may be causing problems to my gut (this includes foods that are high in anti-nutrients or proteins that my body personally doesn’t digest very well).
Oh yeah, I’m also doing this to get rid of my headaches that have plagued me since I was 10, lose the 15 pounds of excess tire I had around my belly, and not have to take a nap and ignore my kids when I get done with work every day.
This was part of the message we wanted to convey with the infographic we did for Robb Wolf / NordicTrack:
In this infographic we researched and compared a recommended paleo diet (this one came directly from Robb Wolf’s book) to a top-notch, recommended diet from MyPlate.gov. We didn’t want to put a straw man up – we really wanted to show people which diet plan delivers the most micronutrients (yes, this is a one-day sample, but it serves to start the conversation at least).
As you can see, the paleo diet did a much better job in almost all areas.
The only exceptions were with Vitamin A and Calcium. The Vitamin A on the paleo side is still 798% more than the USDA recommendations, and is lower because we included asparagus in the MyPlate plan. With calcium, I won’t go into why you are actually absorbing more calcium on the paleo diet than you are on the MyPlate.gov diet, but you can read more information on that here and here.
So, what does all this mean?
I hope for the person who thinks a paleo-style diet is crazy that you will take a second look and focus on what matters – i.e. eating healthy foods that work for you on a personal level (everyone is different). If you are already on the paleo or “partly paleo” bandwagon (as Lindsay says) then you will have some good information to use next time you have to explain why you want to be the crazy uncle and not eat the hamburger bun, the french fries, and the soda and instead opt for the carrot sticks and arugula instead.
What about you? What do you think of the paleo diet? Post in the comments and let us know!