When ever any of my friends or family get excited about a subject, I want to learn as much as I can about it. So, let the research of Paleo begin.
First of all though, I will tell you the way I eat (most of the time). I do not eat Zone or Paleo. The approach I started to follow for the last few months is that laid out in the book "In Defense of Food". It is a simple set of rules to follow. Those rules are: Eat food, mostly green, not too much. What Pollan (the author) means by "eat food" is that we eat a lot of "food like substances," not real food. We as Americans consume things that are no longer the products of nature but the products of food science.
This philosophy is not too far from the Zone diet. It just isn't measured out. Paleo also follows the rule of eating natural, which is good. I credit this way of eating with my increased energy and my lack of tummy issues. If I had not greatly reduced my grain intake I would have never figured out that I have an intolerance to barley. I definitely needed to up my protein intake. I would go days with out eating any meat at all. I could eat nothing but side items and be happy. Hell, I could live off of mashed potatoes and soft rolls and be content. I would be sickly and would eventually die of scurvy but it would be a happy death.
So, why don't I buy the Paleo diet? First of all, I ave issues with anything that claims to solve all of our ailments in a single bound. Thepaleodiet.com web site claims that it can help:
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Cholesterol and Blood Chemistry
Fitness and Athletic Performance
Headaches and Migraines
Inflammation, Arthritis, and Joints
Intestinal Disease and IBS
Then there is the contradiction with its claim that we need to eat more meat and to stay away from grain (like rice) entirely to be healthy and all of Asia. The Asian approach is to use meat more as a garnish then the main event. In fact the Japanese have often been sited as having the healthiest diets on earth. Japan’s population has the lowest level of obesity in the developed world and people tend to live longer than any other country.
Then there is the latest study to come out in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They found that "the consumption of red and processed meat is associated with a modest increase in overall mortality, as well as cancer and cardiovascular mortality in both men and women," says study researcher Rashmi Sinha, PhD, a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute. These were not people who ate all red meat. These were average American ages 50 to 70. The study advises an average daily limit of about 19 grams (0.7 ounces) of red meat for women, or 25 grams (almost an ounce) for men. Why do I bring this up you ask, because they tend to dismiss vegetarians and vegans.
Most vegetarians, as Dori said, do it for moral reasons. I know that I do not eat cows, sheep, pigs, octopus, etc. for that reason. It is just an added perk that it appears to help my health.
So, what do I take away from my research? Just eat smart. You know what you should and should not eat and a box of Kraft macaroni and (pretend) cheese with a Big Mac isn't it.