Why You Should [Not] Go Paleo

Remember me? I’m the one with the glowing review of how the paleo diet changed my life.

Well, I’ve returned to give you the dirt on the caveman diet. Because it’s only fair to warn you, it’s not for everyone. And because ten is soooo last year, I’m here to give you nine reasons why you should just turn around and walk away.

1) Newsflash: Your body is different than mine. I recently had a good friend read my article and, due to some health challenges, decide to give paleo a try. She couldn’t understand why she was feeling so lethargic on a diet touted for creating energy. A week later, she went to see a holistic doctor (the same one who recommended my diet change) and found out that she doesn’t process animal fats efficiently. She needed to go vegan. There is no singular right answer, and that is why getting a naturopathic or osteopathic doctor involved in your decision is a good idea.

2) It is expensive to eat healthier. Even though I would argue that your long term expense is likely to be lower since you’ll have less health issues, all these whole foods are pricier. If you’ve ever checked out the organic produce section, you’ll know this to be true. Don’t even get me started on grass-fed beef (astronomical). But hold on, you’re not buying items like bread, snack foods, soda, and milk any longer, so that helps. And thankfully, stores like Costco and Trader Joes exist, and they are carrying more and more gluten free products for a lower price, and certain corners can be cut. But no matter how you try, be certain that your grocery bill will rise. 

3) I hope you like your kitchen, because you’re going to be in it a LOT. Not to mention the clean-up. Paleo means healthy, home-cooked meals. Paleo does not mean frozen pizza, take-out Chinese or ready-made anything. You could really go crazy and make every.single.thing. you eat. Fruit snacks! Graham crackers! Worcestershire sauce! From scratch! But don’t worry, everyone knows that aprons are the accessory of choice for the perfect Proverbs 31 woman! Get in there and work that kitchen!

4) Sometimes everyone in the family is not as excited as you are. What do you do with a kid who hates meat, or a husband who just wants his potato chips? I have found that we have slowly adjusted as a family to the change, and I definitely don’t force anyone else in the family to adhere to my diet. However, it was a hard sell to the hubs, and food is a constant and present force when you are divided over it.

5) Snacking can be difficult. Let’s see, I could have some nuts or…… ummm…. some….fruit. Or a hunk of meat. Hmm. (This gets better.)

6) Eating out. Or not. Let’s see I could have….. um…. not much of anything. (This hasn’t gotten better.)

7) Eating over at a friend’s house. “Yes, I can have meat. No, I can’t have cheese. Hold the bun, please. Yes, I can have a salad. No, I cannot eat that dressing. Yes, I can have vegetables. Oh, those aren’t potatoes, are they? What’s paleo, you say? Do I eat dinosaurs? Um, no.” I mean, who wants to spend their whole evening talking about what they can and cannot eat? Not me. Plus, it can come off as really rude, pretentious, or ungrateful for the hard earned meal that was made for you. This is a major reason why I allow myself to flex, but I realize that for people with auto-immune or celiac disease, this is not as easy a decision. In this case, thank God for understanding friends.

8) Reactions. Some people just don’t know how to appropriately react to a diet change. I think for the same reason that I was fundamentally opposed to diets, food has been twisted around with weight loss and self-confidence and ridiculous beauty standards instead of a holistic approach to food that allows women to be comfortable in their own skin (with or without curves) and also be healthy. For that reason, food is a trigger topic that can cause all sorts of flare-ups to happen, and you may not be expecting any of it. Food is central to everyone’s existence. Everyone eats. Everyone has an opinion on it. So get ready. Also, please don’t be that person. You know the one. The food snob. Not as cool as you think.

9) Donuts. Full disclosure: I am sitting in a coffee shop right now, with a cup of coffee and a piece of mostly-eaten eclair cake before me. My stomach is not happy, but my taste buds are. I’ll probably wake up stiff in the morning. But, sometimes it calls and I answer. It happens some weeks more often than I’d like and there is the constant temptation to feel guilty about it.

In summary, please do make a conscious decision about what you are putting into your body. It only makes sense that if we treat our bodies like a garbage can, that’s what we’ll get in return. Just know that eating better won’t solve all your problems, in fact it will probably create some new ones. And finally, for the love of everything good, please do not let what is to be consumed wind up consuming you. Now get out there and go do… something… other than eating. And afterward, take a picture of dinner and put it on Facebook.

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