25 Nov 7 Diets In 7 Weeks – Paleo
Week 2: Paleo
The Paleo Diet has become a talking point amongst health professionals and the general public alike as a result of some of its cult-like followings and practices. It has been pushed by a number of high profile chefs and celebrities as the cure to all of our modern day degenerative diseases and a superior alternative to the modern diet. This week saw me embrace my inner cave man.
The Paleo diets philosophy is to eat seasonal, fresh, whole foods that would have been common to our ancestors thousands of years ago. Paleo advocates believe that common foods in our modern day diet such as dairy, wheat, grains and legumes as well as sugars and processed foods are responsible for the many degenerative diseases we see on the increase such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.
While some use the diet only 80% of the time, I decided to go all out and became a strict Paleo.
Pros and Cons
There are some great upsides to the diet, as it eliminates all processed foods and sugars from your diet. Your diet instantly becomes preservative, sugar, salt and chemical free.
I felt great after coming off a Vegetarian diet in Week 2 as I was allowed almost an unlimited amount of meat on this diet. I was back to training at full capacity, recovering well and generally feeling like myself again. The first few days were fabulous. Then Day 4 kicked in. Carbohydrate plays an important step in muscle recovery by Day 4, I started to feel the effects of removing all grains from my diet.
I got irritable and my energy levels started to dip. I struggled to concentrate when working with clients who required high level of attention. Eventually I cracked. I had to eat pasta. After a bowl of Italian goodness, I was back on track and got through the rest of the week.
The struggle to concentrate was my biggest challenge on the diet and I think it will be a big challenge for most people following the diet – especially those who train more than 3-4 times each week as the elimination of carbohydrates can make it very difficult to sustain energy levels through your day and your workouts.
While I went into this diet with an open mind and gave it my best, I knew I was always going to find it tough as I don’t agree with its demonisation of grains, wheat and legumes as I think they are not only an important part of our diet, but also a great option when considering your meals for the week.
Many of us probably eat too much of these items and could do with taking a look at our diet and incorporating some dishes that would be considered paleo as there were some great recipes that I came across like my prosciutto wrapped, apple stuffed lamb back strap and the coconut milk and raw cocoa mousse.
However getting rid of the above-mentioned items from our diet will in most cases have you craving them to a point where you will over indulge and binge on them causing more harm than good.
This is a diet for those who already have a diet low in carbohydrates and are looking to follow a routine that will have you eating more seasonal and wholesome, not a diet for those of you who enjoy a pasta dish from time to time.