The Cons of the Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is a natural diet of raw and whole foods that mimic how people during the Paleolithic times used to eat. It requires one to eat from the outer edges of the grocery isle—whole grained natural breads (without artificial ingredients), the meat department (fish and meats like hunters would bring home), refrigerated sections (natural items like raw kombucha drink that I filled with enzymes and antioxidants), and of course the raw nuts and fruits and vegetables that are found in the perimeter of most supermarkets. Sounds good? Yes. But are there cons? Yes, but I will get to that shortly.
What this means that if you are on the Paleo diet you’ll be avoiding bad foods like breaded frozen chicken, boxed or manufactured items, Twinkies and cakes, the candy isle, canned foods, and the like, since they are close to devoid of nutrients like vitamins and enzymes that are needed for health. And what’s wrong with that? Well, it might not always be that easy for one—I will explain shortly.
Ultimately, I admit the Paleo diet has a lot to offer in way of healthy eating, lowered cardiovascular illness, weight loss, and the like. So if the health benefits are so great for eating the Paleo diet, what are the negatives? To be fair to people who are considering trying the Paleo diet and would like a balanced view, I list only but a few of them here so people can make an informed decision.
The cons of the Paleo diet
There’s a lot to be said about cons, and I wish I could cover them all here… but some of them could include the cost of Paleo diet since all raw and fresh foods are required, as well as the fact that it should ideally be all organic. An organic apple costs more than a non-organic apple. Pounds of food each week at these rates must be purchased, unless you have a local source that is free or inexpensive.
Some items may be hard to find, and you will have to avoid cooking (bachelors like this part) and so drying raw foods carefully at a low enough temperature or buying a professionally manufactured food dryer might be necessary. Investments in other small kitchen appliances like blenders, juicers, and the like might also be required to have a versitile enough diet.
The time and preparation for some of the meals may increase or at least planned well enough in advance since things like juicing, sprouting seeds or growing vegetables in a garden to supplement or save costs can be quite a time consuming process.
To subsist completely on the Paleo diet, one has to learn a whole new way of eating, and living, and obtain new rules. You also may need to pack lunches instead of eating out—at least much of the time. This may make traveling more difficult (or more easy in some cases, depending on how long you’ll be gone and how many people you need to feed), especially if you have a family.
The Paleo diet is not convenient for others when having other people eat at your house that do not wish to share in your Paleo diet lifestyle, and it may not be convenient for you when going to potlucks, company picnics, and being invited to someone’s house for dinner. Choices may be very limited, and the Paleo diet may have to be occasionally broken.
The Paleo diet requires eating raw food, but some common foods also should not be eaten raw… one of those is mushrooms, including regular white button mushrooms/crimini/portobello. Agaratine is a toxin that is in raw mushrooms, says experts like Dr Weil, or mycologist Paul Stamets, and although mushrooms (including medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, maitake, and enoki) only have slight amounts of this toxin, it is carcinogenic. The best way to kill off this cancer-causing toxin is to either dry or cook the mushrooms; then they have all kind of health benefits, including being immune boosting, and often having anti-cancer constituents, antioxidants, and other properties that benefit health.
However, my own personal ‘beef’ with the Paleo diet is that it also advocates eating raw meat when it may or may not be safe or wise to do so. Not only that, but it begs the question… did Paleolithic hunters and gatherers actually eat raw meat like is claimed? The answer may be enlightening for those who do not know.
According to the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Richard Wrangham, people have been cooking meat not just since Neolithic times, but also well into Paleolithic times. In fact, the tradition is so ancient that it goes back over 1.5 million years where paleoanthropologists have found fire pits with bones that have stone knife-cut marks on them, obviously where something (or someone) had been sacrified, cooked, and eaten.
There may be some validity to the Paleo diet being excellent for health due to its raw-promoting nature, but the facts are the facts, and raw hamburger was doubtfully on the menu of a hunter-gatherer!
Please check with your physician before altering your diet or starting a new one, including the Paleo diet.
The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca. National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com, plus our newest portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.
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Wrangham, R. (2009). Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. NY: Basic Books