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Why a Paleolithic diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 12, 2011 at 4:50 PM

What reasons do most people have for changing to a paleolithic diet? Is it a question of health or more a lifestyle choice based on environmental issues or personal philosophy? Or do people use it to lose weight? I'd also be interested to know where most people are buying their meat from as, if they follow this diet for health or environmental reasons, they can't be eating industrially-produced meat.

3ee0f8f2f88f9d95563d4c3386c1c2c6

(20)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:33 AM

I agree the food supply in the USA is in a sad state. unfortunately, govt agencies and big business are heavily invested. there seem to be multiple schools of thought on what is and is not included in this way of eating, however most people will agree that grains and beans are not part of the diet. some include dairy, others not. to be strict, however the meat should be raised and fed in a manner close to a natural state. Although many say it is expensive, I've found it very affordable because I'm not buying all the junk I used to eat, and I seem to be eating less overall.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

This question has been answered approximately 16 billion times here...

D2e6eb2ab91f5e11589cf34b44b8e4cd

(930)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Good for you David! Diabetes runs in my family and I wish more people would take the necessary steps (and self discipline!) to eat right and take control of their health as you have done!

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14 Answers

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 12, 2011
at 09:49 PM

  • Health - specifically weight, pre-diabetes and depression.
  • Scientific - the evolutionary basis convinced me.
  • Environment - I buy mostly local, pesticide free, responsibly grown produce and animal products. Avoiding pesticide, soil and fertilizer run off and ground water pollution etc.
  • Better human life quality - large factory slaughter houses are brutal to the humans working there, unlike small local slaughter houses which are also usually cleaner. Avoids exposure of the farmer to pesticides.
  • Better animal life quality - avoid factory farms.

2
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on July 12, 2011
at 05:02 PM

weight loss and health. i can't afford grassfed most of the time so i get what i can afford which is usually grain fed organic beef. supplement that with pastured butter and clo.

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:00 PM

Its pure health based for me. I try to attain the best possible foods but have no problem getting sub-optimal stuff if I feel I need it or it is substantially cheaper.

2
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on July 12, 2011
at 05:00 PM

I'm sure there will be lot of different answers to this, as we all have taken our path to reach this point in our lives. For me it is totally health related. I see this as the best possible way to be both the best I can be for today, as well as optimizing my longevity for the future.

I knew I was on the wrong path, eating the wrong things, not sleeping well, and working out little, if at all. I knew deep down that I needed a change, but nothing I read seems to make that much sense. I was smart enough and had experienced enough to be able to poke holes in a lot of the CW info out there. Once I came across a few paleo blogs I started devouring the info because it all made sense to me, and I knew it was not only something I could stick to, but the change that I needed to make.

I guess to really answer your question, this for me is a health/lifestyle plan. The weightloss, fitness, confidence, and overall well being are just some of the benefits to the whole thing.

I also think that is really the only reason people should do this. If youre doing it for environmental or philosophical reasons then you are missing the point. Let the vegans have their religion and philosophy tied to their diet. In the meantime I'll cinch up my leather belt, eat a steak, and do some pushups.

1
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 12, 2011
at 10:06 PM

Paleo works for many people, even most people if they use their brain about it and don't make mistakes. I wanted to feel better because I had done a lot of drugs and eaten a lot of junk food and had something like bipolar disorder. I also had eczema and acne from the time I was young and a strict paleo diet with an emphasis on good nutrition cleared all of that up nicely. I feel great and don't want to go back to living unhealthily. I tried a Dietician type diet, a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet, none of that was particularly good, although definitely better than eating junk food. Mark Sisson convinced me to eat more fat and to eat good-quality meat and that definitely improved things. The first time I ate meat after that little 3 or 4 month experiment was like an organism, not just on the taste buds, grass fed bison it was.

I have always been into learning and this whole community, whether they are officially paleo or not, seem to get it more than anyone else I can find. There is a lot of emphasis on research and reason and there are a lot of great bloggers, laypeople and scientists. Possibly the crown jewel of this whole thing is the distinct lack of bias towards one particular way or another and it is getting better, not worse.

Generally when you overcome something and improve your life you look to how you can help others overcome their troubles, and the paleo movement, whatever this thing is, is the way it's going to happen. I just wish we could call it Evolutionary Nutrition or something, an evolutionary method makes sense, but an evolutionary method isn't necessarily going to take us to eating a diet like The Paleolithic Diet as it has been. It is about foods that we are best adapted to eat, not necessarily based upon the chronology if a food's appearance in the human diet. Evolutionary health, actually, everything in biology can benefit from an evolutionary perspective

1
3ee0f8f2f88f9d95563d4c3386c1c2c6

on July 12, 2011
at 07:47 PM

health reasons for me. Last year a soy allergy reared it's ugly head and in my research found the paleo diet.

I've restricted grains, beans, sugar, etc since late 90's to help maintain good blood glucose levels, and then I read about grass-fed, pastured meats and wild seafood and game meats. since we switched last year, I lost about 20 pounds, at my ideal weight now. I must add that I also cut the last of the packaged processed foods I was holding onto, some "low-carb" alternatives that turned out to contain the dreaded soy.

we buy most of our meat from a local farmer's market where we can buy grass-fed beef, pastured pork and lamb (Rehoboth Ranch), plus shrimp, crab and other seafood caught fresh the day before (Magnolia Seafood). our neighborhood sprouts store sells frozen ground boar, buffalo, venison and antelope. Now we're looking for a local supply of goat meat, as we had roast goat at a restaurant in San Antonio and it was melt in the mouth delicious!

Lastly, we buy eggs and poultry from Tropical Traditions as I haven't found a local supplier who does not feed soy to their chickens. trop trad chickens are soy-free, but not completely grain free. This doesn't bother me as long as I don't eat them too often and considering the prices, plus shipping, that won't be an issue.

1
Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on July 12, 2011
at 06:13 PM

As you go further into your own research, just be aware that the term "paleolithic diet" doesn't really mean anything, because there is no agreement or common ground about what that means. At the very least, you might think it means to eat whole, real foods, but then Mark Sisson, one of the rock stars of the movement, sells his own brand of powdered whey with lots of additives. Some people think that you should eat sat fat, some say you shouldnt. Some say eat diary, some say avoid. Some say eat lots of vegs, some say that vegs aren't necessary for our health for any reason. Some include fermented grains, while some believe that grains are the devil. The only area of real agreement is that we should avoid commercially produced seed oils. Other than that, what "paleolithic diet" means is anyone's guess, or I should say anyone's interpretation. And yes, discovering that as you go along will prove very frustrating as you try to glean a nugget or two of real information.

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 12, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Woah - you're going to get a really interesting mix of responses here! It will be cool to see :)

For me, transitioning to Paleo was due to very positive influences in my life - all the way from food, sleep, and supplements to CrossFit and lifting. It had nothing to do with losing weight or health issues but being stronger and happier, living a more productive and, well, "whole" life.

Regarding food, I try to purchase organic, pastured, and grass-fed all obtained from several different sources: greenmarkets, my friends that are butcher's and farmers, Trader Joe's and on occasion Whole Foods. If I go out or to friend's homes I don't care - my house is just different. In a very tasty way of course :) My decision to eat as "safe" as possible was all thanks to Harvest of Fear a Nova/Frontline special that aired around 2001 I think? It was all about GM crops and by the time they got to corn and butterflies I think my eyes were the size of dinner plates. That was it.

1
D2e6eb2ab91f5e11589cf34b44b8e4cd

on July 12, 2011
at 05:28 PM

Because it really simplifies the "food thing" for me! Eating real food, what our body recognizes and can actually USE after I eat, and I feel great. It's nice to not have to worry about diseases like cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, ect. I truly have eliminated any health "fears" I used to have. We eat grass fed beef, organic free range chicken, nitrate free bacon, organic fruits and veggies, healthy fats like organic coconut oil/milk, raw organic nuts, and kalamata olives. Oh and wild caught alaskan salmon 3 x's a week :) YUM! You may be thinking-wow! How much do you spend on groceries!? haha don't even ask! More than a mortgage payment, but we shifted our priorities....we'd rather eat like kings than have cable. We'd rather eat grass fed beef than have an expensive car payment. We rent (cheap!) because we'd rather spend the $ on what we put into our bodies than the square footage around us.

And the other reasons are obvious-weight loss, increased muscle tone, my husband's psoriasis is just about gone, along with the arthritis in his fingers. My on and off again depression GONE! Take your health into your own hands, ignore the doctor's and create an AWESOME quality of life for yourself!

1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:05 PM

Health reasons primarily for me. I'm a type 2 diabetic with full metabolic syndrome. I found I could control my blood glucose levels with a low carb diet. Hanging around on the low carb boards, I came to realize that I was still eating a lot of crap - diet sodas, Atkins bars, low carb tortillas. I just naturally migrated to paleo, because it made sense and it's helped to heal a number of other issues that still lingered with low carb (skin, gut, depresion/anxiety, joint/back/neck pain).

I still buy regular grain fed meat. But I also buy grass fed maybe 20% of the time. It's not required, although it is healthier. I need to clear a space in my utility room for a chest freezer and then I'll get some grass fed beef in bulk - which will probably save me money in the long run.

D2e6eb2ab91f5e11589cf34b44b8e4cd

(930)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Good for you David! Diabetes runs in my family and I wish more people would take the necessary steps (and self discipline!) to eat right and take control of their health as you have done!

0
3a2f98fb863f39ce37c560942bbf6ead

on July 12, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Lots of interesting responses, thanks! It seems as though health is the most important factor for most people. I was interested in where you sourced your meat as I've read a few different books (by Michael Pollan, Jonathan Safran Foer, Felicity Lawrence etc) that describe the rather deplorable state of industrial/factory farms in the US (which I get the impression is where most responders are from)& Europe. I'm not planning to switch to this diet myself as I've been happily vegetarian since the age of 12 but was interested in what drew people to this type of diet and what the general feelings were about environmental & welfare issues linked to meat eating. Thanks again for your informative answers, I'm still a little confused about the basis of this diet though as some people seem to disagree (from looking at responses to other questions too) about what exactly is included, is there any consensus?

3ee0f8f2f88f9d95563d4c3386c1c2c6

(20)

on July 13, 2011
at 03:33 AM

I agree the food supply in the USA is in a sad state. unfortunately, govt agencies and big business are heavily invested. there seem to be multiple schools of thought on what is and is not included in this way of eating, however most people will agree that grains and beans are not part of the diet. some include dairy, others not. to be strict, however the meat should be raised and fed in a manner close to a natural state. Although many say it is expensive, I've found it very affordable because I'm not buying all the junk I used to eat, and I seem to be eating less overall.

0
1bd4ea62097aa99c8cbef8aa5d02db77

on July 12, 2011
at 08:58 PM

Health reasons for me too, but beyond that, it's a framework I can wrap my mind around. "Eat healthy food" and "eat real food" didn't really resonate with me until I heard about it under the framework of the paleo diet and I could read the science behind it. A diet made up of foods I enjoy, backed by science I agree with? Sign me up!

0
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Twofold for me.

First, pure health. I'm actually starting to see some signs of healing now, 7 months primal. I can't wait to see where I'm at in another 7 months!! Was going to do GAPS soon but thinking now I can continue this way and keep healing on my own.

Second, to loose the weight I'd put on because I couldnt eat anything but bread, pasta, because I felt so bad/intestionally....which incidentially was probably also causing part of the issues.

I don't have alot of access to grass fed anything where I live, doubtful that the fresh stuff is organically grown/treated either. But I've imported the coconut oil and learned to make my own ghee and its completely worth the cost/effort.

Looking forward to fermenting stuff and drying stuff soon! (new gadgets are fun!!)

0
D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 12, 2011
at 08:20 PM

Health, wellness, longevity, epigenetics, leanness, and most of all - providing the foundation so that my daughter can be healthy her entire life and not have to undo years of abuse

You've already gotten several good answers from others. For a different take, I would say read this from Dr Kurt Harris. This article encapsulates the basis for Paleo and its "evolution" with the contemporary thinkers in the community like Dr Harris. Everytime I read this article, it blows me away.

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html

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