No one likes going on a diet, yet somehow, we’re always doing it. Resolutions are constantly being made and broken. Weight is being lost and then gained back. A good day on a new diet often results in a sugar and carbohydrate binge the next day. There is something we are doing wrong, and diet gurus are getting rich off our misery as we struggle to reach what seems to be an unattainable goal. And reaching that goal can be worse. Reaching the goal means tying yourself to a maintenence diet for the rest of your life. One of the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle, though, is that it is not a diet.
Not a Diet
Paleo is a lfestyle. This is not a situation in which you follow a regimented plan, add steps as you are told and get to an end. So many of these situations end with weight regained. Once you’ve reached your goal, you go back to eating the way you had before, and you gain all that weight back. Or perhaps the diet you never lose the weight. Perhaps the diet is just not right for the way your body works. Or perhaps it’s so restrictive you just can’t stay with it. How often are you going to run through that cycle before you give up?
I am a child of the ’80s, and we dieted. It’s just what we did whether we needed to or not. I remember that my mother and my sister went on a day that was so restrictive that they were only two days into it and my sister was in tears. She wanted food she could taste. She wanted to eat enough she didn’t feel like she was starving. She wanted to eat meals with eveyone else and not feel like she had to hide so she didn’t see us enjoying our meals. That’s not to say you don’t give things up for Paleo lifestyle, but you certainly don’t deprive yourself.
It’s Not Tasteless, It’s Clean
Another benefit of the Paleo lifestyle is that it’s just good clean eating. There is nothing anywhere that says it has to be bland and tasteless. There is also nothing anywhere that suggests food has to be spicy to hide the fact the food just isn’t good. When I first told one of my customers that I was going Paleo, her first comment was, “I feel sorry for you. I’d rather eat food that tastes good.” The crazy thing is that I’d had a steak, a baked sweet potato and a salad for dinner and nothing there was tasteless.
Clean just means it’s real — okay, some people do take the term “clean” further than that, but, really, we’re just talking about real food. A steak under the broiler, a salad of real food items. A potato, an apple, a handful of pecans. Nothing I’ve just mentioned is tasteless. And the fact I’m going to broil that steak with onion, garlic and maybe some sage guarantees I’m not eating anything bland. What I’m not doing is opening a box of prepackaged food and throwing it in the microwave.
It’s an Anti-inflamatory and Autoimmune Protocol Eating Plan
The biggest benefit I have gained from my Paleo lifestyle is the loss of pain. My doctor recommended the “diet” (a word she used with the most scientific of meanings) to help alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis. The things I was eating before — the breads and muffins and refined sugars — was causing the inflamation that caused my pain. Removing those things from my diet would help, at the early stage at which we caught my disease, keep me from daily medications. People with autoimmune deficiencies also benefit from a Paleo lifesyle. Those with diseases like Rhumatoid Disease, Lupis, HIV and AIDS, for example, benefit from this lifestyle for the very same reason I benefit with my osteoarthritis. The clean eating removes inflamation and pain and other issues caused by autoimmune problems.
It’s Vitamin Rich
Everything in our lives tells us we can’t possibly get all the vitamins we need by just eating food. That’s not true with a Paleo lifestyle. The foods are vitamin rich. I was told I needed extra calcium due to my osteoarthritis, not by my doctor, but by every other thing I read on the disease when I was diagnosed. So, imagine my surprise when I ended up in the emergency room with a calcium-based kidney stone. Why? I was taking too much calcium. With almond-based flours and milks, spinach and citrus, I was actually getting all the calcium I needed from my food. Instead of a finger dish full of vitamins every morning, I take only two in addition to my regular mutivitamin. A Paleo lifestyle can, indeed, provide you with all the vitamins you need.
The Lifestyle is the Benefit
I mentioned before that the Paleo lifestyle is not a diet. It’s not a set of crazy rules and preset meals. Yes, there are going to be some restrictions, but, in a perfect world, they are restrictions we would already have been making. Paleo is fresh and real. Does it take a little more work? Yes. Is it going to take some practice? Yes. But at the “end” of this race toward a goal, there is no maintenance plan. There is no fear of stepping out of a restrictive regimen and regaining weight. The biggest benefit to Paleo is that it is a lifestyle that can be lived by the individual’s needs. There is no portioning, no fat trimming, no measuring, no watering down. Paleo is stepping away from the world of processed foods and eating food the way we were meant to eat it.