The Paleo Diet has been getting a lot of press lately. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically the diet that our ancestors survived on before the advent of modern agricultural cultivation. Essentially, it consists of vegetables, fish and meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils, and fruit. Excluded from the diet are grains, legumes, potatoes, sugar, and processed foods.

It may sound limiting, but with so many delicious Paleo recipes available, you wouldn't even miss your old eating habits. All you need is a bit of inspiration, a restock of your pantry, and some good recipes to start with.

So what are the benefits of Paleo? Firstly, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have been long understood to help with weight loss. Also, Paleo foods are nutrient dense relative to their low-calorie count. This adds up to lean, fit and healthy lives for longer.

Of course there are critics of the Paleo diet, especially amongst the scientific community. Experts disagree over such issues as why our ancestors didn't develop the types of diseases we have today. Did they not get chronic disease because they simply didn't have a long enough life span, or did their diet actually protect them against such illnesses?

Either way, most health enthusiasts would agree that this is a sensible way to eat. Lots of vegetables. Quality protein. No sugar or processed foods. It sounds very similar to what dieticians and naturopaths have been saying for decades. I would not say this diet is essential for everyone, but as noted above, it's especially suited to people trying to lose weight, or maintain their healthy weight. Also, people who have, or are at risk of developing, chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and vascular diseases.

My only resistance to the Paleo diet is the same I have for other diet trends: it runs a risk of obsession. While it has some clear health benefits, I genuinely believe food is meant to be a joy. A nourishing, healthy, guilt-free kind of joy! If we are always worrying about what we eat, we don't have a chance to truly taste our food. So as much as I love my vegetable dishes and salads, currently I refuse to berate myself over my adoration of cheese. For more information on the Paleo Diet, start here: http://thepaleodiet.com/

Green Blessings,

Aurora

NZ Registered Medical Herbalist