Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean Eating - Let's Discuss!
Jun 11, 2014
Summer is upon us and the magazine racks are filling up with diet plans, vacation ideas and celebrity bikini sightings. It’s hard not to get caught up in the headlines and begin examining our own eating habits and fashion choices. Ready for a change? Your next CAN CAN Cleanse can get you started down the path to better eating.
Paleo. CrossFit. Cavemen. Oh my! So what does it mean to eat Paleo? Well, let’s start at the beginning, about the time your ancestors began looking for food in the Paleolithic age. That’s right. The Paleo Diet is based on the foods your caveman (or cavewoman) relatives were eating, but tastier and easier to get. The theory behind the special diet is based on evolution, or lack of evolution for humans to properly digest and use cultivated foods like corn, wheat, beans, legumes (including peanuts), dairy and sugar. Meals focus around meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, or practically anything you could hunt and gather in nature and eliminates all processed food. Were your great-great-great-great grandparents eating almond flour muffins? I’m sure they wish they could have! They had to suffer through whatever was found locally. Lucky for us, we have a plethora of choices and options and don’t need to head out into the woods to find wild cucumbers.
The Paleo diet has years of science behind it and is tolerated well by most people, but you should check with a Registered Dietitian or your doctor first to make sure it’s right for you. Like any elimination diet or special eating plan, it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods to cover all your protein, fat and vitamin and mineral needs. If you decide to switch over, be prepared to spend more time in the kitchen and less time at the fast food counter. That McDonald’s hamburger is still a no-no, but an organic roasted chicken would make several great meals. There are many web-sites that feature handy eating plans, recipes and shopping lists to help you make a smooth transition.
Not quite ready to cut out bread, pasta and cheese? Then maybe a clean eating plan is your best choice. When you “eat clean” you eliminate processed junk which should be eliminated in any diet. When shopping at the store select fresh, organic, whole foods. Whole grains including wheat, beans, legumes, and minimally processed dairy are still on the menu. Any diet or eating plan can be cleaned up, and doesn’t require a doctor’s permission.
We have all heard and seen the labels for gluten free products. But what is it? And do we all need to worry about it? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and the derivatives of these grains, like malt and brewer’s yeast. It is the cause of distress for those suffering from Celiac Disease where a person is unable to digest the protein.
A gluten free diet leaves more options than Paleo, allowing other grains, sugar, beans, legumes and dairy but still requires diligence and creativity. Our usual comfort foods like pasta and bread have been adapted to the dietary restrictions, and are more readily available than ever before. But even if they make gluten free doughnuts, it still doesn’t mean you should eat them every day.
Contributed by: Nanette Murray