I was sucked into a story on Sunday Night this week about the Paleo diet. The paleo, or ‘caveman’ diet, seems to be the latest fad at the moment. It’s a diet that My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans is well known for. And on Sunday Night this week, one of the program’s reporters took on a 10 week challenge to see if it lived up to it’s promise of ‘changing’ lives.
Paleo is a premise that sounds great on paper – fresh, natural, unprocessed foods. It might be easy if I had the whole day to spare to prepare a fresh meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it might even be fun if I had the time and the money to go shopping around for fresh, organic ingredients. And if I didn’t have to get up and go to work every day, committing to this diet might actually sound realistic.
I do try to include as much fresh foods in my diet as possible. I have a piece of fruit for morning tea every day. I’ve given up cordial and soft drinks for water ever since I’ve had diabetes. I have hard boiled eggs, tuna and nuts with my lunch regularly. And I usually have veggies or salad on the side of my dinner plate.
But I am pretty skeptical of diets that cut out entire food groups. I try not to overload on carbs with my meals, but I honestly don’t know where my energy would come from without them. Whenever I go without carbs at breakfast, my stomach ends up growling all morning. I love that Burgen bread exists, and that I can still pack a quick, diabetes friendly sandwich for lunch in the morning. I’d hate to think of all the extra time I’d have to spend making something extravagent to fit in with this diet. And as for dairy, I love my cheese. I love my milky coffees. I love my desserts. And I don’t know where my calcium and strong bones would be without it.
I also have diabetes. Diabetes means that my diet choices are already restricted. It means that I do need to think carefully about every food choice that I make. It means that I do need to have particular foods in moderation for the sake of my blood sugar levels. And I’ll be damned if I want to begin cutting out food groups and making my life even more miserable. I’ll be damned if I want to give up that piece of chocolate or slice of cake. Being able to have those treats makes me feel human. It motivates me to go keep going with my diabetes management.
Another thing I found interesting about this Paleo story was that the reporter undertaking this challenge had a fairly unhealthy diet to start with. He had a few health scares earlier this year, and lived off of Coca Cola and junk food at home. So of course a major diet overhaul would produce extremely impressive results on him, compared to say, a reasonably healthy person like me.
And don’t forget that people like Pete Evans, who was involved in this report, are making money off of this Paleo fad. Through things like cookbooks, guides and 10 week transformations. Coincidentally, he also works for the network who aired this report. So take it with a grain of salt. I, on the other hand, am giving you my honest, unqualified opinion that I wasn’t paid to write about.