A little while ago, Sarah posted an article on being gluten-free and vegetarian. If you thought that sounded restrictive, how about this one?
The Geico caveman would find something to smile about if he heard about the eating regimen known as “Paleo Diet.” The premise is simple: eat like our Paleolithic hunter/gatherer ancestors did before the Neolithic era of agricultural crop domestication and animal husbandry. Therefore, the diet consists of huntable foods such as meat and fish and foraged foods such as nuts, fruits, mushrooms, roots, and vegetables. With no grains in the equation, the diet is, of course, totally gluten-free. (And with no dairy included, it’s also completely safe for the GFCF diet).
Wikipedia credits the idea of eating like our Paleolithic forefathers to 1970’s gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin. Practitioners of the diet believe that the body is not evolutionarily suited to digest agricultural foods. At first glance, the premise sounds jokeworthy. “Me hungry. Me eat like caveman. Me eat no grain.” (Okay, that was more Cookie monster/Yoda hybrid than Paleolithic human). But if you’re imagining that this diet entails gnawing raw meat off a bone, think again. Despite its premise in ancient history, the Paleo diet is updated for practice in the modern world. For example, use of domesticated meat such as beef and pork is acceptable, since it approximates the deer and wild boar our ancestors would have hunted. Recipes for the Paleo diet are as sophisticated as any other; check out this recipe for Sweet Potato, Bacon, & Egg Salad from Living Paleo which sounds absolutely delicious!
Foods to avoid on the paleo diet include refined sugars, salt, starchy tubers, legumes (including peanuts), grains, processed meat, and dairy products. Different advocates of the Paleo diet argue for different levels of strictness; some purists believe in cutting out harvestable legumes such as green beans and allowing the only beverages to be water and green tea, while others say that it’s okay to be loose on the rules since, after all, this is the 21st century, not the Paleolithic era. However, all of the proponents of the Paleo diet believe in its health value, which makes sense since the diet cuts out refined sugar, processed food, and extra salt.
However, will this diet really catch on in the gluten-free community? With no grains of any sort (no rice, no corn, and no quinoa!) allowed, the Paleo diet is much more restrictive than the gluten-free diet, which might be difficult to deal with. In addition, a person on the Paleo diet has to be careful about eating a balanced diet and getting all of the nutrients they need. Still, it is an interesting corollary to the gluten-free diet.
Any gluten-free Paleos out there? We’d love to hear from you!