I’ve been spending a lot of time with a caveman lately.
OK that’s not true. But I have been spending a lot of time with someone who loosely follows the paleo diet, and I’m pretty sure if brontosaurus burgers were an option, he’d be cooking them.
And you know what? I’d eat them. Brontosaurus is probably tasty. And he’s a good cook.
I didn’t really know anything about the paleo diet before, but I think it’s an interesting one to consider. And, since it’s gluten-free by default, the paleo community can be a great additional source of recipe ideas for anyone who’s gluten-free.
The basic premise of the paleo diet is that our bodies aren’t designed to process processed foods. It’s also called the hunter-gatherer diet; if you can’t either a) hunt it or b) gather it up and eat it raw on a a nature walk, it’s not on the plan.
That means you DO eat meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You DON’T eat grains, dairy, sugar, beans, and super-starchy vegetables like potato. You worry about where your food comes from (grass-fed beef is preferable to grain-fed, organic veggies to non). On the surface, it has similarities to the original Atkins theory, and also to any other low-glycemic-index plan. However, because paleo also frowns on processed food – those Atkins-branded shakes and bars would strike fear into the heart of most paleos – it’s not quite fair to compare them.
Some things we’ve been eating: sashimi. Tartare. Kale salad with roast squash and sunflower seeds. Crustless quiche with veggies and bacon. Bunless burgers with sautéed mushrooms. Roast chicken with spinach, walnuts and raisins. Maple-mustard Brussels sprouts. The list continues.
Because I’m not a dietician or a nutritionist, I don’t think it’s my place to say whether the diet is smart or not. Generally speaking, I suspect most things in moderation are fine for most people, and most things in excess are not. There’s no shortage of information online; I think Everyday Paleo is a great resource. Elana of Elana’s Pantry had this to say about the paleo diet. And the recipes from Living Paleo could make many-a gluten-free eater quite happy.
Anecdotally: I can say that the caveman in my life is healthy by all measures. I can also say that I’ve been cutting back my grain intake and dialing up my meat intake a bit, and I’m starting to think that maybe grain bloats me (I feel better/thinner after a plate of eggs and bacon than a plate of GF pancakes). I can also say that cheese is freaking delicious and no one will come between me and the coffee and home fries that are a part of any balanced brunch.
Have you ever tried a paleo lifestyle? What did you think?