Paleo diet a new trend

Langara student Jes Cunningham poses among the grasses with an impromptu paleo meal. Photo by Garin Fahlman

Cavemen may be extinct, but for some people, their diet lives on.

The paleo diet is an alternative lifestyle diet based on foods our ancestors ate more than two million years ago.

“The core is that our bodies haven’t evolved as fast as our food systems have,” said Jennifer McRae, who lived on the paleo diet for almost a year. “We’re not used to processing the majority of the foods that we eat.”

Practitioners of the paleo diet avoid preservatives and consume a low-sugar diet based on lean meats, vegetables and carbohydrates. They avoid grains, dairy and legumes.

“They weren’t available during our early evolution, and we much later cultivated them,” said McRae.

Making the switch

She tried other diets like vegetarianism before going paleo, and claims to feel better about her body since making the switch.

“I feel kind of lighter and cleaner,” said McRae.

Paleo meals might consist of nuts and berries for breakfast, a hearty vegetable stew for lunch and roast beef for dinner. But there’s nothing about the diet that says anything against eating chocolate-covered bacon for dessert.

Possibility of nutritional deficiency

However, there are concerns about the diet.  Dietician Lori Smart says that older women and people with pre-existing heart conditions should consult a health professional to minimize risk, due to the decreased intake of some essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

“It’s funny to see people critique a diet like paleo when the traditional North American diet is so nutrient deficient,” she said.

A sustainable alternative

Paleo eaters are adamant that despite some changes that might seem difficult, it’s a sustainable way to live, and the changes aren’t that difficult.

“You can always order a burger without a bun,” said McRae.

Reported by Garin Fahlman

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