My apologies for getting back to blogging late, I was busy with so many things that it was too late when I realized that the scheduled post for the Weekday Potluck and other posts did not go live as planned.
Nevertheless, I have here a wonderful guest writer, James, from Food On The Table, giving us a very interesting take on a new and increasingly popular Paleo Diet. :)
Why the Paleo Diet is Worth Thinking About
A diet that is environmentally friendly is what we are all looking to have when we put on our meal planner hats. There are many places like organic food shops and farmers markets that help make these foods more accessible to the average person. However, whenever you think about this kind of diet, imagine less meat and more nuts, beans, vegetables, and grains. This image of the diet has created a culture which turns to low-fat high carbohydrate foods with increased fiber and less meat. If this is the way society is going, then why are we seeing record highs in pork demand? Why are bacon and pulled pork sandwiches the staple on most menus if it goes against the beliefs of environmentally conscious eaters?
One reason for this could be the popularity of certain diets. One of these diets is the Paleo Diet and it has appealed to many different people such as celebrities, athletes, and even some vegetarians. This diet also known as the Caveman Diet takes us back 2.5 million years to the Paleolithic Era where our ancestors’ diets consisted of protein, healthy fats, and less carbohydrates.
“Paleo Diet for Athletes” by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel shows us that even American athletes are eating incorrectly. They state that athletes are not eating enough fresh fruit, seafood, vegetables, and leans meats, but rather taking in too much refined sugar, cereals, and dairy products. Cordain and Friel do present a host of evidence that supports their argument. For example, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine sums up what they are saying very well when it states that: “the time-honored diets with low fat and high carbohydrates do not work with weight loss as well as high protein and low carbohydrates ones do”.
The anti-vegetarian sentiment and the authors’ apathetic view towards organic food has been attacked by many eco-friendly consumers. However, there are also some vegetarians and eco-friendly consumers who are taking a look at what this diet is promoting. There are a number of points that are made to show that eating meat is not actually worse for the environment and that in some cases it’s better:
1. Sustainable agriculture relies heavily on grass fed livestock to provide manure to use instead of chemical fertilizers and to encourage plant growth.
2. Soy production has increased because it’s a staple in many vegetarians diet, but it is responsible for intense deforestation in South American countries like Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.
3. Cheese can be more harmful to the environment than meats like chicken and pork.
4. The greenhouse gas emissions from transporting fruit, vegetables, and cereals is more detrimental than that of chicken, fish, and red meat according to a study done by Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews.
It should be noted that the Paleo Diet is not intend to market itself as an environmentally friendly diet. It is, in fact, simply trying to move away from foods that are frozen, packaged, processed, high in fat, and environmentally detrimental. It strives to promote fresh food, seeds, nuts and low environmental impact foods. It is unlikely that the skepticism many environmentalists have regarding meat will ever dissipate, but trends like the Paleo Diet shed some light on the existing discrepancies of our current lifestyle choices. This diet makes us think more critically about our food.
Food on the Table is an online community where users can enjoy exchanging ideas, search for healthier recipes and options, and learn more about eating healthy. Meal Planning is a key feature of the community, where you can keep track of what you intake.