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Paleo Diet, Is It Affordable And Healthy For Your Family

Updated on November 7, 2015

Is The Paleo Diet All It's Said To Be

According to its supporters, the paleo diet consists mainly of meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthy fats , excluding grains, legumes, dairy products, processed foods and drinks.

The selling point for the paleo diet is to take us back to the foods cave-dwelling men and women ate 150,000 years ago. Supporters say the bodies of men and women were designed for the paleo diet, and because we have deviated from this diet in the past 10,000 years is the reason for the myriad of degenerative diseases now common place in our lives.

Supporters of the paleo diet, including its most quoted spokesman Robb Wolf, say research in Biology, Biochemistry, Ophthalmology and Dermathology has shown our modern diet which includes grains, legumes, dairy products, processed foods and drinks is the cause of "degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression and infertility".

I will invite you to go with me into the literature on these degenerative diseases, with the aim to separate the facts from fiction.

But before doing so let me explain why the paleo diet would not become the diet of people in the middle class, to say nothing of the poor. The paleo diet is sailing against two powerful societal headwinds.

In the first place, the irrepressible changes in culture thrusts upon us new lifestyles, and new foods and drinks that are products of the ordinary process of making a living. For instance, if you have to be at work 8 am, meanwhile you worked up to 9 pm the day before. You are not thinking about frying an egg in olive oil, two strips of bacon, a bowl of fresh fruit salad with steamed broccoli as a side dish for breakfast. No, your mind is on catching the bus, or the 45 minutes drive in traffic to work. Pressed for time, what else would be on your mind for breakfast, if not a bagel, a muffin, a doughnut, a toast or a bowl of cereal?

In the second place, the cost of the paleo diet would be prohibitive for the middle class man and woman, if they must buy meat from grass-fed cows, pork and poultry from pigs and chickens fed with paleo approved animal feeds, and organic tubes, fruits and vegetables. Only those with high incomes can afford a paleo diet. It is beyond the reach of middle class people. Yet, supporters of the paleo diet make the argument that when more people get on the paleo diet the prices of its ingredients would fall. My question is, at present prices, the middle class person cannot afford them, when is he or she going to start buying them for the prices to fall?

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As hunters of wild animals, and gatherers of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in hostile environments, it was not so much the foods our cave-dwelling ancestors ate, as it was the increased level of physical activities they had to engage in to find food, and avoid or defend themselves against predators that kept them muscular, agile and athletic. That said, we can now return to our search for the facts on the causes of the degenerative diseases supporters claim the paleo diet can prevent.

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Is the Paleo Diet For You

I have gone to this length to provide information you can use to decide whether the paleo diet measures up to its claim that it can prevent degenerative diseases like, obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression and infertility.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the paleo diet is bad. What I'm saying is that only those with substantial incomes can afford it, along with the dietary supplements they would need to make up for the lost vitamins and minerals from foods and drinks such as grains, legumes and dairy products, deemed unhealthy by supporters of the paleo diet.

The paleo diet would put a significant financial burden upon those in the middle class and below. Meat from grass-fed cows, pork and poultry from pigs and chickens fed with non-grain animal feeds, and organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are simply out of the reach of average families.

My point is, looking at the reality of life as it is, the day is not coming any time soon when the average family would stop eating grains, legumes, dairy products and processed foods and drinks. For the foreseeable future, and probably for the unforeseeable future, our best bet is to eliminate or reduce the natural and man-made toxins in our food supply, rather than forbid their consumption.

In paleo diet discussions though, continuous reference is made to gluten and lectins as harmful toxins in grains, and lactose in milk and dairy products. These are not new discoveries, and decades of research have been done on them by government institutions. Anyone with intolerance to them can buy gluten-free grain products and lactose-free dairy products, and use sprouting, soaking and cooking, and fermenting to reduce the amount of lectins in legumes and beans. It is not as if there is no way out other than eating those toxins.

Again, I am not saying the paleo diet is bad for those who can afford it, but the suggestion that eating grains, legumes, dairy products, processed foods and drinks would in themselves increase the risk for obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression and infertility, is to overlook the nutrients and vitamins those foods and drinks contribute to the health of people who eat them in moderation, not to mention that any diet, including the paleo diet when abused would increase the risk for degenerative diseases.

In any case, the national debate will continue regarding whether it is healthy to exclude whole classes of foods and drinks on the grounds that they carry toxins that current food technology and practices can eliminate or reduce to levels where they pose no harm to our health.

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