Paleo Diet: Between The Hype

Paleo diet huh?  I could see the thinly veiled mockery coming from a mile away. When a diet becomes a buzzword on the streets of LA, you better be prepared to defend your credibility if you blog about it, especially if you blog on medical conditions and diseases. Among the grenades of surly hipster commentary being lobbed my way:

  1. Paleo is just a natural candidate for “diet of the month” since Vegan’s star power is subsiding, and trendy can’t be healthy
  2. Hardcore Paleo advocates have a cult-like Holier Than Thou air about them

What do these 2 share?  A lack of concern for “Why Paleo.”  I would begin to ask if they know about the scientific basis for Paleo, when they one up me with a link to a Paleo blog that instagram-ed baked goods looking like a Susiecakes magazine spread. Preemptive touché, friend.

As I started to respond with yet another scientific argument for Paleo that my friends will never remember (and surely be told a week later “But bacon is so different from the rest of what you’re eating,” and be forced to slap my forehead for the 12th time), I realized we were getting nowhere.  The non-scientific crowd (most of us) required a different, less sentimental, less academic approach.

Paleo results

Can Trendy Be Healthy?

Yes and yes.  For example, as much as I wanted to tear down these instagram-ed Paleo blogs for Perez Hilton-ing Paleo into something salacious, I couldn’t. I actually think a bacon and coconut flour cupcake is super healthy as long as it’s not in Sepia. Stevia is all good though.  You’ll have difficulty finding Paleo experts that don’t sing the praises of bacon (saturated fat is good!) and coconut is just about as wonderful a source of food as you can find with tons of monounsaturated fats, a good o3/o6 ratio, and medium chain triglycerides (a natural source of energy), fiber.  The other so-called-sin of Chocolate is also well within Paleo confines when it’s dark chocolate: good fats and very low sugar.   It’s also full of antioxidants to boot, if you care about that sort of thing.   A little stevia, xylitol, lo han guo goes a long way, although xylitol gives some people gut issues.   What else do you need to make a great cupcake, besides lotsa love?

I used to see a lot of Paleo recipes that used nut flours, but now that coconut flour is readily available for baking, many popular are really Paleo.  The fact that the instagram generation can turn Paleo ingredients into picturesque foodgasms that look like like normal cupcake shouldn’t incur wrath.  It should make us feel better about lusting after healthy food!

Are they opportunists by baking and instagram-ing Paleo cupcakes because they’re trendy?   Who cares!  If the end result is better health, I’ll gladly make room on this bandwagon for shameless promoters.

Why So Hardcore?

To be honest, I never wanted to become “Hardcore Paleo” (aka believer in this as a superior diet) but that card was handed to me.

For 3 years before Paleo, I ate brown rice, legumes, veggies, and meats, without fail and 100% organic. (For most pro athletes, this is a diet that lengthens careers by years.)   Then came a bout of unrelenting insomnia from eating almond yogurt, followed by swift recovery after I stopped inhalaling this addictive white stuff.  My a-ha moment.

The almond yogurt that changed everything

looks are deceiving

Then came

The hypothesis: I have an autoimmune disease, and my immune system may have been attacking these “healthy” foods for years, causing symptoms that I just wrote off as “part of illness.”  Specifically, antinutrients in normally-healthy foods like almonds.

The experiment: Go 100% Paleo.  A properly done N=1 experiment can do wonders for your knowledge.

The result:  (Trust me when I say the “Before” is utterly uninspiring, to be kind to myself)

During the last month, my indigestion and gut fermentation improved, while my body composition completely changed. My body is burning fat for energy now, and I also have more energy. I get far less insulin spikes, and don’t feel sapped from eating.  Amazingly, I used to be in the gym 5x/week before I got sick, and couldn’t get the abs I have now from doing zero ab exercises while eating like this.  Belly fat was always my archnemesis, and here it was melting away without a single crunch.

Here’s literally what I eat every day:

bulletproof coffee

  • Breakfast: Bacon, avocado, bulletproof coffee (coffee + coconut oil + ghee)
  • Lunch: Salmon, avocado, decaf bulletproof coffee, apple
  • Dinner: Beef or bison, avocado, leafy greens, apple, occasional sweet potato

In my case, these clear health gains pushed me down the slippery slope of Hardcore Paleo boulevard.  My decision to go hardcore had nothing to do with my belief in eating “whatever cavemen ate.”  There are simply too many holes with that argument which don’t account for evolution, epigenetics and genetic diversity.  It had nothing to do with the scores of written Paleo pieces, research studies, or Paleo podcasts I pored over.  Instead, seeing (and feeling) made me a hardcore believer and join the preachers at the pulpit.

The Conclusion

No one can convince anyone else with any sense that one diet is best for them based on research studies (unless they’re double-blind clinical trials — unlikely to happen!)  We tried with the D’Adamo blood type diet, but that ended up being mostly panned unless you’re an O type, which just took you back to Paleo anyway.  These are only suggestions.  The buck stops with ourselves.  Despite how advanced science and medicine have become, to me the most convincing evidence is still the most primitive: how do you feel and what do you see?

Consider trying out this diet for yourself before knocking it. Forget the fact that it’s trendy for a second. Cover your eyes when you drive by the hippie restaurant around the corner is selling you a “Paleo steak and egg hash” for $25.  Cover your ears when someone like me gets on the Paleo Pulpit and cut our inferiority complexes some slack for wanting to look taller and get heard.  Know this: several female lawyers at a top litigations law firm in LA are paying thousands to to eat a strict diet of avocado or cottage cheese with bacon and get Fabio to guide them through resistance training for 20 minutes a day, and I hear they’re all getting ripped.  It’s your lucky day because I’m gonna give you these big-buck instructions for free. Ready?

  1. Eat meats, fats, and limit to 100g of carbs a day.
  2. Fill in the blanks with fats until full
  3. lift weights and perspire like the love of your life just asked “Why should I date you?”
  4. Rinse & repeat for 30 days.
Find out for yourself if Paleo is up to snuff, worth the hype, too hardcore, or just right for you.  Or keep on snickering, it’s up to you!

This is a guest post by Joey Chang from . If you are also interested to write for HealthResource4u, Please check our guest posting guidelines at write for us.

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