The Paleo Diet, and moreover, the Paleo lifestyle are gaining popularity by leaps and bounds, catching the attention of some of the bigwigs. Good Morning America did a piece today entitled “Popular Paleo Diet Becomes Way of Life for Some.” ABC’s ‘The Morning Stir’ interviewed Rick Gusmano, Christine Cusano, and primal expert Mark Sisson to gain some insight into the Paleo lifestyle, which they describe as “a modern day caveman movement” that is taking the Paleo Diet to a “new extreme.”
So what is involved in living a Paleo lifestyle? In addition to diet, it has to do with mimicking (to ones best ability) the ways of our hunter/gatherer predecessors, who walked barefoot, slept regular hours, and hunted for their food. In this modern era of technology, we have some pretty nifty tools that help us simulate the lifestyles of our Paleolithic ancestors. For example, many paleo devotees swear by wearing minimalist footwear, such as five-fingered shoes, which mimic the natural movement of walking barefoot. To achieve a “cave-like effect” and optimize sleep, some following a Paleo lifestyle wear glasses called blue-blockers. These lenses have been shown to suppress the negative effects of blue light emitted from electronic devices that interfere with natural melatonin production, the hormone that is critically linked to sleep cycles.
I’m always stoked to see Paleo being covered in the news, and overall I feel that ABC did a good job of hitting on some of the highlights of the Paleo lifestyle. At the end of the video, the reporter interviewed Dave Zinczenko, the Nutrition and Wellness Editor at ABC News, who discussed some of the pros and cons of Paleo living. He gave a nod of approval to the Paleo Diet’s elimination of processed foods and sugar, as well as the emphasis on regular exercise and sleep. He also mentions that the Paleo Diet is difficult to incorporate and sustain for most people if they are lacking a supportive community.
He then goes on to state that anytime you cut out a food group (like dairy), there will be “drawbacks”, explaining that most Americans already don’t get enough calcium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and fiber. While it may be true that most folks are deficient in these nutrients, I can’t say that I agree with his statement that dairy is “the primary source of these nutrients.” We’ve previously written about the calcium conundrum, and about how the vitamin D added to dairy products is not easily absorbed, and may even be toxic. Dr. Loren Cordain, known as the “Father of the Paleo Diet” explains on his website that the emphasis of wild meats, fresh veggies, and fruits consumed on the Paleo Diet blows away the nutritional content of dairy and grains by providing significantly more nutrients and fiber than one might be led to believe by watching this video.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been living a Paleo lifestyle for about five years, and the only deficiencies that I am aware of are the absence of disease and the lack of feeling like crap. All in all, I’m happy to see Paleo making the headlines, and as always, it’s important to know what information to believe and what to ignore. As Mark Sisson, author of Mark’s Daily Apple states in the video, this Paleo “fad” has been going on for 2.5 million years, making it the “longest fad in the history of mankind.” I’m not much for following fads, but if being trendy makes me feel as good as I do, then I’m all for it!