A Nutritionist’s Opinion of Paleo

We live by Grace. So unless we’re under doctor supervision can pretty much eat what we want, even if it’s not good for us. Which brings me to the Paleo Diet and a question I was asked recently, “How good is it?”

Let’s be real; no one wakes up exclaiming, “Man, I can’t wait to feel unhealthy today!” Following this plan could do it though!

Besides my obvious objection of “my ancestors weren’t cavemen, sorry about yours,” I grant Paleo’s a catchy title and peaked my interest when it first debuted. double bacon cheeseburger paleo

I grew up on a farm when the rich soil produced abundant, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Nowadays we have depleted the soil, changed the chemical makeup of produce and wheat, adding chemicals and preservatives to foods to lengthen shelf life. “Enriched” bread might sound good on paper but the bran is removed and synthetic vitamins added to bring it up to normal standards  (minus the beneficial fiber.) High-fiber bread is nutrient-dense but off-limits on this diet.

Paleo has a short list of “eat this, not that.” I failed to see any practical physiological science behind it. It’s very confusing! Sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams are banned but further down they’re allowed “in moderation.” Define moderation.

Except for a few fruits and some vegetables, the fiber content is unhealthily low. High-fiber foods significantly lower the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, stroke and hypertension. One needs both soluble and insoluble fiber. One should consume 25 – 35 grams of fiber daily to prevent intestinal polyps, parasites, worms and other lovely creatures. (For that reason alone I wouldn’t trust this diet!)

Oatmeal and “cereals” are strictly no-no’s. No clarification is made between high-fiber Kashi brands, Raisin Bran,etc. or low-fiber Corn Flakes!

Lentils, legumes, pinto, kidney, red, black beans and peanuts are off limits. Why? These beneficial foods have both types of fiber plus protein, thiamine, E, folic acid, iron, magnesium. These help lower cholesterol!

No beets? One of the most nutrient-rich vegetables?

Pasta’s off the list too, not even white fiber pasta. Along with a nutritious lean beef/tomato sauce, rich in vitamin’s C and iron, it’s healthy.

No yogurt either! Again no distinction between high-quality, good-bacteria yogurt which gets right into the gut and the unhealthy type with added sweeteners. Of course sauerkraut has good bacteria – but for breakfast on an empty stomach? Ugh.

I never claim to be smarter than God. I trust Him when He indicated in Genesis 1:29 to consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds. Then in Genesis 9:3 God added meat to the menu.

Well what about meats?

“First one catches a rattlesnake or bear  . . .” Seriously it’s on the list! So is ostrich, kangaroo, turtle, 60% fat chicken wings and chemically-laden, nitrate-enriched bacon (but sirloin’s not!) Ground beef? There’s no restriction given between lower-fat 93% sirloin and 73% hamburger. So let’s see: it’s okay to consume a double bacon cheeseburger but Sirloin steaks, baked sweet potatoes, green beans and wholesome fibrous breads are off-limits? Do you see why I’m skeptical?

Yet, there’s always a little truth in any diet. Paleo distains chemical sweeteners, energy drinks, refined sugars and spam. Great, but so does the Mediterranean, MIND, Dash and Weight Watcher’s without gimmicks. What a complicated diet plan. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply follow God’s Plan? (According to the Creator of Heaven and Earth, 1 Corinthians 10:23, anything’s fine in moderation, even bacon cheeseburgers.) Please follow clear cut physiological Truth without gimmicks.

“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23)

There is no money, only health, in recommending God’s Dietary Plan for my patients. Therefore: “As for me and my house I will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “A Nutritionist’s Opinion of Paleo

  1. Good explanation, though I doubt Paleo folks follow your column. I find it interesting that when I tell people I’m a vegetarian they seem to automatically hear vegan. A dear friend who is a spiritual leader as well as a dietician told me. Please don’t eliminate eggs and milk. No animals die to give those to you. Additionally, if you don’t gather a chicken’s eggs, if they aren’t fertilized they will lay in the nest and rot. If you don’t take the cow’s milk, she’ll get mastitis and die. I accept that, but am still concerned about factory farms. sd

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you must be a farmer’s daughter also? Thank you energy, I always look forward to your comments. Actually I’ve had several Paleo followers who are good people but “trendy” and “know not what they are doing.” I have often felt like John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness of fad diets. I’m hoping by relating common sense that those following false teachers will see the light, :3 Blessings,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Ellie. Although I’m far from a Paleo dieter, I’ve read a few books on it and learned a few good recipes. Many nuts seem to be a big replacement for wheats and starches in many of the dessert recipes. 🙂 They are actually very tasty and good fiber. 🙂

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  3. Praise God we do live under grace! You describe the strictest Paleo eating style that we don’t prescribe to…ours is modified, and upon inspection is more similar to the Mediterranean or Clean Eating way of eating. The main focus being no preservatives or additives. Nut flours are wonderful for me due to my wheat allergies. Added greek yogurt and cheese along with almond milk serve our dairy needs. We also do sweet potatoes and baked potatoes, quinoa and yes, even green beans. I believe that we are all designed in unique ways and when our eating habits changed four years ago so did our energy level, weight and health. Our blood tests, blood pressures and blood sugar levels are better than any “30 year old” (doctor’s words) which we considered a win due to the fact we are 55-56 year olds. My health was not good and as I prayed He led me to changing my eating habits initially through the Paleo lifestyle. That being said, I appreciate your perspective on Paleo, and answering my question as to what your thoughts were about it. While I don’t consider it a gimmick (although I concede it might be that to some); nor do I believe that seeing positive aspects of it make me believe any less in the wonderful way God created this world. It served as a springboard for us to examine what we were eating and why we were eating. I am so glad that the Father has provided answers for us in His word. Thank you sweet friend for your post and addressing this…..

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  4. Thank you Tamara. What you described is definitely not Paleo. With the hundreds of diet plans out there, remember all diets fall into a combo of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Diets are simply a variation of a theme.What you eat is more of a Mediterranean or Weight Watcher’s diet. Excellent and well balanced. Our God is a God of Balance.

    In the 90s I found many of my patients followed the Adkins Diet because it was the “hip” thing to do – only to become dangerously ill with high cholesterol. I see this also with the off-balanced Paleo plan, heavy on bacon and meat, low on fiber. (I took the list of foods from ultimatepaleoguide.com/paleo-diet-food-list. Perhaps other sites with Paleo food lists have been modified since. If one believes in Evolution, it tends to do that, 🙂 ) As for me I am grateful for all the great variety of food choices God gives me and wouldn’t want to insult Him by saying He made a mistake in His Creation.

    Eat for nutrients, you’ll stay healthy, ❤

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  5. Hello, Ellie! I am curious where you gathered your information about the rules of a Paleo Diet. I suppose I am a defender of it, but not in that I think all people should eat this way. I believe that many people (like me), have a certain body chemistry that does very well with the paleo way of eating, but that no man-made “diet” should ever be a hard-and-fast rule for anyone.

    From my understanding, the proper way to eat Paleo is to have a large portion of your diet composed of nutrient-rich vegetables, with only a small portion made up of animal protein, nuts, seeds and healthy fats and oils. It seems the main benefit of this diet it that it helps those who do not digest grains well (which turns out to be most of the population) to find a way of eating that is easier on the body and allows the digestive system to absorb and assimilate nutrients more efficiently.

    I believe that God made us all unique and, as unique individuals, we all have different nutritional needs based on our genetic makeup, upbringing, toxic load, etc.

    Let me know what you think! 🙂

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    • First, thank you for the kind way in which you phrased your question. I fully expected to receive scathing comments from those who swear by Paleo, but thankfully haven’t.

      As you said you follow a “diet composed of nutrient-rich vegetables, with only a small portion made up of animal protein, nuts, seeds and healthy fats and oils.” What you describe is much like the Mediterranean Diet, DASH, Weight Watchers and others I endorse. Well done, stay healthy.

      I’ve found that some followers of this plan (and the Atkins Diet in particular) are almost fanatical and refuse to listen to anyone’s viewpoint but their own. I try to be very tolerant of another’s opinion if it’s Biblically sound.

      Actually we are in agreement. I say God created us uniquely (Ps. 139) and His Grace allows us to choose ( 1 Corinthians 10:23.) I simply explain the pros and cons of each choice based on godly principles and physiological Truth. If Paleo works for your physiological chemistry, then just watch your cholesterol. You are sensible but some believe the hype and follow like sheep. I counseled one patient who had a level so high he was hospitalized immediately and another lady following the Atkin’s diet, had triglycerides over 1800! Unbelievable! Common sense must prevail.

      And as I wrote above, I personally know we certainly have modified our farm methods. I realize some people have developed allergies to nuts, shrimp, strawberries, gluten, lactose, etc. I would of course tell them to avoid certain foods. To respond to all your questions would take me writing another book. However if you use my search engine above, it’ll direct you to posts I’ve written over the past four years on: Balance (87+) Moderation (68+) 1 Corinthians 10:23 (33) and physiology (40+)

      By the way, I took my stats from: ultimatepaleoguide.com/paleo-diet-food-list. But Paleo’s Founder, Dr. Loren Cordain is slightly more lenient but still prohibits, legumes, yogurt, fibrous beans and grains like oats among other nutritiously-dense foods. If one can tolerate a food, God said in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “anything’s fine in moderation.” Sigh, it must be very tiring to be smarter than God.

      Blessings for vibrant health,

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  6. Ellie – great perspective . I was diagnosed with Lyme disease & hashimotos … So first the dr said paleo then he switched to no sugar no dairy no gluten …a girl from chicago who grew up on meat & potatoes … Eating deep dish pizza .. This is not an easy task .. Thanks for your input

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    • Oh Lisa, thank you for your kind words but I’m so sorry to hear that you have Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be devastating and I’m surprised a doctor recommended Paleo which is higher on meat intake. Meat is acidic and inflammatory and something you should consume in a lower moderation. So you’ve inspired me to work up an article on how to combat Lyme Disease. Hopefully it will confirm that your own instincts are best! Stay healthy my friend.

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  8. Hi, you have a beautiful heart but I believe you’re missing the point with the Paleo diet. It simply calls us to eat properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods diet. If beans and grains for example are not prepared like our great grand mothers would have prepared them, they will not be easily digested due to the phytic acid. If these ancient (and biblical) practices were taken to prepare our grains and beans properly, then they would be on the Paleo list. Unfortunately, today’s practices of making fake foods, including breakfast cereals (Kashi included), from refined and processed ingredients is draining our food of nutrients and causing gut issues. Their is much more to be said but I believe that the Paleo nutritional lifestyle, done properly, is what god truly designed and intended. Pasture raised meat and dairy, cold water fish, soaked and sprouted grains, nutrient dense organic vegetables; sounds like a pretty wonderful diet to me.
    Check out the Wellness mama, she’s wise: http://wellnessmama.com/2359/bible-grains/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you kind sir for the compliment about my heart. How I wish you had searched any of my 400+ posts, you would see that I totally agree; agriculture has changed. (See fourth paragraph.) It’s called 1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics but also 2. Greed. Manufacturers will say anything to sell their products and consumers believe in the hype.

      As for the paleo diet you said: “It simply calls us to eat properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods diet. ” Congratulations, what you just described is the Mediterranean. DASH, Weight Watchers and all other nutritionally sound plans. Paleo is not nutritionally sound however. Paleo prohibits (a “Thou Shall Not . . . ” philosophy against Gen. 1:29 and Gen. 9:3) Certain beneficial foods such as kefir, good quality yogurt, beans, beets are not allowed.

      God did not create Paleo man . . . man invented him. Man makes mistakes, God doesn’t.

      Please continue to eat: “Pasture raised meat and dairy, (nixed on your Paleo Diet by the way) cold water fish, soaked and sprouted grains, nutrient dense organic vegetables.” (Organic is only as good as the pasture land, the farm next to it and the water used to produce it.) I will continue to eat as I have these 66 years (and that photo’s recent) remain healthy AND wise, trusting in Spiritual Biblical Counsel until God teaches me otherwise. If a diet plan works for you great, we live under Grace. My motto is “Eat for nutrients” and ” Anything in moderation” according to 1 Corinthians 10:23. Blessings back,

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  9. Hi Ellie! Thanks for your post! I agree with your post but I also follow/read/listen to a lot of Paleo people and I wanted to add to the discussion. 🙂

    The “movement,” if you want to call it that, has definitely moved away from the strict “rules” introduced in Robb Wolf’s first book and they definitely advocate the concept of bioindividuality (that everyone has different reactions to different factors). I agree (and most Paleo leaders today agree) that many cultures for centuries have eaten dairy and grains (or legumes or nightshades etc.) with no issue (of course they were probably grass fed, no antibiotics, non-monoculture crops etc).

    I listen to the Paleo Women Podcast and they recommend not restricting anything- simply follow the general guideline of getting most (notice that I said “most”- I can’t live without cookies!) of your food from whole, unprocessed sources, and “listen” to what your body is telling you. God created these amazing bodies to be able to handle a whole lot of stuff that we throw at it, and still function beautifully- but they do give us signs that certain things aren’t optimal. Take note if your body doesn’t react well to dairy (or anything), and maybe try to avoid it. But if that is the case, it definitely doesn’t mean that you can never have it ever again. It coincides with the concept of honoring and nourishing our bodies with food and never “punishing” ourselves with food (or not abstaining)- which can lead to disordered eating.

    Thanks again for your post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Erica, I appreciate your comment and please forgive the delay in writing back. Sounds like your eating habits have “evolved” into a more sensible Mediterranean. DASH, Weight Watcher’s plan. Good for you!

      You’re right about the chemical make-up of foods today with its lack of nutritionally dense properties and chemical additives. I’ve written extensively about that subject and if you want to read more please use my search engine. When God created the Earth and all that was in it, He declared everything “Good.” After the fall of Adam and Eve, the Second Law of Thermodynamics kicked in and our earth started deteriorating. We can only eat as healthily as possible and as 1 Corinthians 10:23 extols, anything is fine in moderation.

      Physiologically our bodies work well with a variety of nutrients and fibrous selections. Cancelling out a certain food group is dangerous. A diet of only fruit for example, would eliminate over 50 essential nutrients so listen to your body and continue to eat wisely. Blessings back,

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Great read! I noticed the enriched wheat part about the bread. Almost every time I buy bread I see that on the ingredients. I buy whole wheat bread, do you recommend any specific brand I can buy that doesn’t have enriched flour?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very smart jaguar! What I do is the weight test. The heavier the bread the more fiber it contains. So all you have to do is check the nutrient stats and look for the whole wheat brand that has the highest fiber content on its label. Then choose the one you will actually enjoy eating!

      Thank you for your comment – I sure hope you’ll return to post additional thoughts because I enjoy hearing from readers! Blessings back,

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  11. As a health and nutrition coach, I’ve tried many diets to see how they work. Testing protocols helps know what clients are feeling during their process. I have mixed emotions about Paleo, after a three month Paleo trial my weight and body fat has been a problem. Many people I’ve talked to have had the same experience. It seems that Paleo invites problems where there were nine before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment Body. I especially appreciate your comment since you are most likely well-trained to choose better nutritional choices. As a nutritionist and counselor who worked for doctors, I have no qualms about telling anyone to use caution around this diet. (Better yet, choose the Mediterranean Plan.) I for one feel Paleo’s dangerous as well as a fad which will run its course until another crazy one emerges. (Just like it was a trend to join the Atkins Revolution Diet years ago)

      The Paleo Diet is so highly imbalanced toward meat which increases a body’s dangerous acidic pH. It’s also heavy in protein which can promote kidney and liver damage, as well as increases weight. I feel that the one who created this diet plan worships the almighty dollar rather than the Almighty who created our physiology and the best diet for us.

      That being said we are all unique and ANY diet plan will work for some people but I’d rather eat a balanced diet that will keep me a size 2-4 forever, look younger than my 67 years and is enjoyable at that!

      Live a vibrant life! I hope you come back, blessings

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  12. According to the Word we live under Grace and can eat what we want. But why would anyone if a food was harmful? Self-destruction perhaps? To find comfort or a lack of knowledge as to how the body works? That’s what New Creations is all about, to educate and find the reasons dieters follow after false diet plans. Diets never work, eating well does and the Paleo is not helpful in the long term.

    We all have a different physiology and metabolism. That’s one purpose of my blog. God created us individually and we need to strive for excellence and stop searching for instant gratification. I simply educate so my readers have that choice and can distinguish between health and what I call “false prophets.” Some manufacturers will say anything to sell and some people are sheep and will believe anything if they are desperate enough. Remember Oprah’s hot dog and ice cream diet?

    There are books written on this diet and to include all in a 600 word post is impossible. If you search through some of my posts you’ll see I agree with your statement. You’re right, the Paleo isn’t the as Atkins, but all diets are variations of a theme. Blessings back,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love this! I am a strong advocate for healthy, mindful eating that includes all food groups in moderation! The Paleo Diet is something I just cannot support or understand at all! Essentially it is a fad diet, and we all know how unhealthy these are!
    Although, it does advocate a balance of other nutrients so is certainly not the worst of the lot; the Mediterranean Diet definitely has a lot more positives than Paleo at the minute!

    Liked by 2 people

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