Are you considering moving to a paleo diet? Have you heard people dismiss paleo for a variety of reasons? There are many myths in circulation about living a paleo lifestyle and following the paleo diet.
Today, we debunk ten common paleo myths that we have heard along the way.
Paleo Myth 1 - It’s an Unsustainable Fad Diet
Perhaps the biggest myth we want to bust at Paleo Ireland is that a paleo diet is a fad. For us, paleo diets offer a great opportunity to adopt a new healthy lifestyle for good. A paleo diet is about adopting a cleaner way of eating a variety of healthy foods that work with our bodies.
Fad diets, on the other hand, do not work. Scientific evidence has shown that following diets that are excessively strict and which work by putting our bodies in starvation mode are only sustainable for a short period of time. After this, we tend to put all the weight back on and more. Over time, this repeated pattern causes strain on our bodies and is detrimental to our overall health.
It is much better to focus on a healthy diet and exercise regime, as encouraged in a paleo lifestyle. Do this for the long term to help you achieve better health, fitness, and enjoyment in life. A paleo diet is a sustainable choice because it provides a wide range of nutritious foods to choose from, does not focus on calorie restriction and encourages getting active.
Paleo Myth 2 - Sharpen Your Spears, We’re Going Hunting!
Eh, no… That’s not quite the idea of a paleo diet. Nor does it involve foraging for edible nuggets from the forest floor – although if that’s your thing, knock yourself out! At Paleo Ireland, we’re all about modern Paleo. What’s that you ask? It takes the ideas encapsulated in a Palaeolithic diet and brings them up to date for our modern world.
It is not realistic to suggest that people adopt a strict Palaeolithic lifestyle in the modern age. That would involve sleeping outdoors, hunting animals, preparing that meat and chomping on whatever vegetation we find. We cannot deny evolution, nor can we ignore the advances in agriculture and nutrition that have taken place over the centuries. It would be nonsensical to ignore the fact that we live in 2017.
Instead, we can take the ideas behind the Palaeolithic diet and make them easy to implement in modern Irish society. The meat we source is Irish, the vegetables, insofar as possible, are cultivated on Irish land and they are combined and cooked to create delicious meals in our state of the art kitchens. We then transport them to your door so that you can enjoy your modern paleo meals at peak freshness.
Paleo Myth 3 - I’ll be Famished on a Paleo Diet
On the contrary, a paleo diet allows you to eat a rich variety of healthy foods which will help you to feel full for longer. Plenty of fresh, fibre rich vegetables are very filling. When these are paired with a good source of lean protein such as beef or chicken, you won’t feel like you’re eating ‘rabbit food’.
For a diet to be sustainable you must be able to feel happy and full after your meals. When you’re miserable, feeling weak and tired all the time from a lack of good nutrition, that diet is not going to help you achieve your health and fitness aims in the long term. As a paleo diet allows for great variety there is no reason why you should get excessively hungry, bored or feel hard done by while you are on it.
Paleo Myth 4 - Paleo Food Costs a Fortune
This is a complaint that raises its head not just in relation to a paleo diet, but with many healthy fresh foods. Foods on the paleo diet are no more expensive or exotic than any other healthy food items you find at your local supermarket. You may be able to buy a ‘meal’ in a fast food chain for less than the cost of a healthy meal but when you buy local produce you support local jobs, get great fresh produce for you and your family to enjoy and reap the health benefits too.
Paleo Myth 5 - Paleo Diets Don’t Provide Enough Calcium
Although most people associate dairy products with calcium, that is not the only way to get sufficient calcium in your diet. Calcium is an important mineral for health, it supports bone density and a deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in later years. You can ensure that you get sufficient levels of calcium while following a paleo diet by including a selection of green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale. Fish such as sardines and salmon offer a good source of calcium, as do oranges and dried figs. As long as you are smart about what you’re eating there is no reason why following a paleo diet should result in a calcium deficiency.
Paleo Myth 6 - Wave Goodbye to Your Carbs
Some people believe that a paleo diet is simply a high protein diet that cuts out all the other food groups. This is not true. A varied paleo diet should include adequate sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. However, all of these elements should be healthy sources. For protein, you should include fish, lean meat, and eggs. The carbohydrate element of your diet should include carbohydrates from leafy vegetables, some root vegetables, and some fruit, while the fats should be healthy fats obtained from foods like nuts and avocados.
What a paleo diet does say ‘Sayonara’ to is overly processed carbohydrates. These can leave many people feeling bloated as they are difficult to digest. They tend to create a spike in energy followed by a slump. We prefer carb sources which keep us full and energetic for longer.
Paleo Myth 7 - Paleo is Too Time Consuming
Eating a paleo diet need not be excessively time consuming. Preparing food can take time, whether it is paleo or not. However, there is no reason why a paleo dinner would take longer to prepare than any other type of meal you might make for yourself and your family.
If you are accustomed to eating whatever is easiest while on the run, Paleo Ireland can offer a very handy, healthy alternative. Our meal options are prepared and ready for you to enjoy without delay. You get to enjoy a healthy diet without having to go to the trouble of preparing meals every evening.
Paleo Myth 8 - Paleo Diets Increase the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart Disease is one of the biggest killers in western society today. It is a real concern for many and can be part of the reason people choose to change their diet. There are many factors at play in the development of heart disease. These include consuming high levels of ‘fatty foods’ – that’s the bad type of fats, lack of exercise and stress.
If you are concerned about your heart health you should talk to your doctor about the best choices for you. However, a rich and varied paleo diet which balances lean sources of protein with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables won't increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, if you partner your change of diet with an exercise regime, overseen by a qualified professional, you are likely to increase your heart health.
Stress is an equally important, yet often overlooked, part of the risks associated with heart disease. If you are serious about maintaining heart health you should look for ways to decrease stress in your life. Get out and get active in activities you enjoy.
Paleo Myth 9 - You’ll instantly lose weight when you start a Paleo Diet
A paleo diet is not magic. Much of the time when people begin a new diet or health regime, they hope against hope that it will deliver their desired results instantly. Although many people do lose weight while living on a paleo diet, it doesn’t happen for everyone. Also, it's usually not instant. The best way to lose weight in a safe and consistent way is to make long-term changes. Exercise levels, portion sizes and the number of treats, paleo or not, you consume will affect your weight loss.
If you are interested in losing weight, a paleo diet can help, but it needs to be implemented alongside other weight loss efforts.
Paleo Myth 10 - Paleo is for Everyone
At Paleo Ireland, we believe that a paleo diet is a great lifestyle choice for most reasonably healthy adults who want to improve their health. However, like any diet, it is not a catch-all and is not suitable for everybody. It may not be suitable for people who have special dietary requirements or are under the supervision of medical professionals. These people should discuss the suitability of a paleo diet with their doctor before implementing a significant dietary change.
Deciding to overhaul your diet for the long term is a big decision. You should consider it carefully before jumping in. It will give you a better idea of what to expect and increase your chances of success as you will be more prepared. Check out our blog for a range of posts relating to living a paleo lifestyle which may help you to decide if a paleo diet is for you.