If you are reading this, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet and perhaps are even following it in some regard. You may have had to explain the Paleo Diet to others and perhaps have been the recipient of some eye rolling and confusion. This experience is often compounded by the fact that like many personal beliefs, folks have different interpretations and ways that they incorporate eating “Paleo” into their lives. The purpose of this post to explain our take on the Paleo Diet.
Our bodies evolved to process and utilize certain nutrients in order maintain health and avoid disease. Nature has spent thousands of years fine-tuning our biology to process foodstuffs that were available during our evolution. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat have met the needs our species for millennia, and if we are following an evolutionary train of thought, these foods will likely optimize our health.
However, one thing needs to be pointed out in particular. Just as our eye color, hair color, likes and dislikes are varied, as are our responses to certain food substances. Some folks may thrive while consuming certain types of grains, legumes and even some forms of dairy and other foods some Paleo-follows view as no-go’s. In short, everyone has a unique nutritional phenotype with unique needs and tolerances.
The reason we love the Paleo diet is that it serves as a great starting point for people to experiment with their own nutritional phenotype. I typically see people do very well when they eat “Paleo” for at least one month, and then begin to add in certain foods, one at a time, every three days or so. If you don’t feel as good after eating the newly added ingredient, remove it from your nutritional repertoire. Think of this a very low-tech food sensitivity test. You may even want to eliminate foods like eggs from the get-go, if you suspect they are giving you issues. The key is to experiment and figure out what makes your body feel best.
In short, everyone is different and the Paleo diet works as a wonderful starting point for people looking to optimize their nutrition.
Your partner in health,
Dani Urcuyo, MD