Paleo…..sigh. Its’ the nightmare of my vegan dreams. The Paleo fad is everywhere I look at the moment, especially because Facebook ads have picked up that I’m a bit of a foodie. I also have a few ‘friends’ who love a dash of Paleo. It’s a bit of a slap in the face, not just personally but for animals and the environment and I wonder if the Paleo champions realize the consequences of their diet?
What makes Paleo so appealing is that initially health-wise people get results. However this is definitely more likely to be the result of eating a less processed diet rather than sticking to the out-dated Paleo rules, which you can do on a vegan diet also. I have to momentarily tip my vegan hat to their health promoting policies of eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and cutting out dairy (a small win!). However what I have real beef with (sorry) is their promotion of meat, meat and more meat!
We have long standing research that shows a diet high in animal products causes all sorts of diseases, whereas there is no long-term data to suggest that a Paleo diet is healthy. And caveman data doesn’t count because none of them lived past 30 because they got eaten by Lions (or something). Speaking of the lack of research around the Paleo diet, there where many types of diets prevalent during the Paleolithic era depending on location and availability of food. Massive sweeping assumptions have been made to suggest that a meat rich diet even occurred. Carbohydrates from plants are the preferred fuel for the brain and body and relatively easy to gather in Paleolithic era, more calories for less exertion.
So lets assume that the people of the Paleolithic era did eat ass-tonnes of meat. How does that translate to our modern environment? The way that animals are farmed, treated and pumped full or hormones and antibiotics takes away from the potential health benefits of the good ol’ days. They would have eaten wild animals, the meat today is very different.
Another thing that makes me sad for those who have been bewitched by the Paleo fad is they cut out (or greatly reduce) legumes and grains! I love legume and grains! So sad! Whole legumes and grains provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for a balanced and healthy diet.
The environmentalist in me is also fearful for the planet. To sustain a large portion of the world on a Paleo diet we would need the resources of two earths. At a time when we really need to be doing everything we can to help the environment, promoting a diet with high levels of meat consumption is kind of irresponsible, especially since everyone can be super healthy on a vegan diet! There’s no need for meat, it’s killing our environment and promoting disease in our bodies. l like to believe that we’ve gained some intelligence in health and the environment since the cave-man days.
What do you think of the Paleo craze?