The Paleo diet is ultra-popular right now. Heck, I was Paleo for almost an entire year!
So what happens when an amazing diet goes down hill so fast that you can’t stop it until it crashes? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with the Paleo diet… which is exactly why I’m putting out the warning that the Paleo diet is really just another eating disorder in disguise.
Wow, this title is BOLD. I probably already shocked a few people who decided not to read it because “I’m wrong” 😉 But here’s the deal before you judge. I’m a fan of Paleo (for the most part).
The Paleo diet, next to the Ketogenic diet and Vegan diet, is probably the trendiest diet out there right now, and for good reason. There are SO many benefits to taking the unprocessed, real food approach (which paleo does). I’m actually following a Paleo diet… mostly. But I’m only following it because I customized my own Paleo diet using my “Customizing Paleo Guide“… which you can get for free by clicking right below!
WHAT’S THE PALEO DIET?
You probably first heard of the paleo diet as the classic “caveman” diet. AKA the diet characterized by the bearded guy in a lion cloth carrying around a turkey leg in his hand. But guess what… that’s not the real Paleo diet – if you’re not familiar with the healthy version of the Paleo diet, it’s actually a super plant-based diet with high-quality animal products mixed in.
The Paleo philosophy is based on “Paleolithic” eating habits of hunters and gathers, the way people ate before there was agriculture. That essentially means the way we used to eat before we had food manufacturers, before grains became the staple food in everyone’s diet, and before factory farming was the norm.
That pre-agriculture diet was based on lots of fresh, real foods. Since there was no agriculture, or any farming for that matter, the people of the Paleo era are thought to have lived off of…
- Fresh seasonal vegetables
- Fresh seasonal fruits
- Wild meats and fish
- Nuts and seeds
What the Paleo people didn’t have was…
- Grains (wheat, rice, rye, corn, etc.)
- Legumes (beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, etc.)
- Refined sugar (high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, etc.)
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
While the Paleo diet is largely characterized by these “yes” and “no” foods, it’s important to remember that there were differences across the globe. The type of food available would have been highly dependent on the climate and region that the people lived in.
WHY IS PALEO SO TRENDY?
The Paleo diet is absolutely crazy popular right now. There are “Paleo-friendly” food brands and even restaurants! The thing to remember is that the Paleo diet is actually really amazing for our health. It has a TON to do with the fact that Paleo is void of the sugars, inflammatory oils, and refined grains that make up so much of the Standard American Diet.
1. Paleo is real food.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is full of garbage. It’s quite literally a SAD way of eating. The Standard American Diet is full of highly processed, fast foods made by huge food manufacturing companies. The main reason why I love Paleo so much is that it’s deeply rooted in whole, unprocessed, fresh foods. The Paleo diet’s principles bring awareness to food quality and emphasize the importance that what you eat (and also where it comes from) greatly affects your health.
2. Paleo is plant-centered.
If you’re doing Paleo right, you’re eating tons of vegetables. A lot of people mistake the Paleo way of eating for nothing but meat – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re following a healthy Paleo diet, the majority of the food you’re eating is plant-based. That means your plate is full of low-carb vegetables (like leafy greens and broccoli), starchy vegetables (like sweet potatoes and beets), nuts, seeds, and fruits.
3. Paleo focuses on food quality.
You know that huge wave of grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and organic farming that’s now becoming way more mainstream? Yeah – that’s what Paleo is really all about. A steak from a grain-fed cow that was raised in a factory feedlot is NOT a healthy steak. But a steak from a cow raised on a pasture with access to tons of grass? Now that’s super Paleo!
4. Paleo is anti-inflammatory.
Gluten, sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, beans…. A lot of the foods in every “healthy” diet can be super-inflammatory. Because the Paleo diet is free from dairy, grains, and most sources of sugar, the Paleo diet is very low in inflammatory foods. The Paleo diet is also super high in anti-inflammatory foods like wild-caught fish, healthy fats from avocados and coconuts, and grass-fed meats.
THEN WHY IS IT AN EATING DISORDER?
Bree, aren’t you Paleo? The short answer is yes, I eat pretty darn Paleo and I’m actually a huge fan of the Paleo diet’s principles.
Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone who eats Paleo has an eating disorder. However, I think there are tons of women (and men) out there using Paleo as an excuse to follow a strict diet. Which is why it’s so important to customize your Paleo diet!
But still, how the heck can I make the assumption that Paleo is an eating disorder? The answer is actually very simple…
Because for me, the Paleo diet was an eating disorder – and I didn’t even know it.
3 SURPRISING REASONS PALEO IS ACTUALLY AN EATING DISORDER
Hate is a strong word. I definitely don’t hate the Paleo diet. After all, I follow it pretty closely. However, there are definitely a few downsides to eating Paleo that I don’t love. So now that you know why I love the Paleo diet from my list above, I want to share the small parts of it that I really can’t stand.
1. It gives you “food fear”.
News flash: the world is NOT full of Paleo options. Sure, I know there’s always a way to eat Paleo even in the toughest situations… but the idea that your options are so unknown can be STRESSFUL, to say the least.
Times when it’s extra difficult to eat Paleo…
- You’re going on vacation
- You’re traveling
- You’re staying with friends and family
- You’re invited to a dinner party
- You’re eating out at restaurants
- You don’t have access to a kitchen
- You don’t have access to a grocery store
I love eating Paleo… but I’ll admit that I hate the extra stress. It easily causes anxiety around making healthy choices in situations where healthy food isn’t the main priority of those you’re with and for me, that turned into an eating disorder.
2. It makes you obsessive.
It feels like you have to be perfect. Everything you eat has to be 100% Paleo, 100% of the time or else you just won’t eat.. or you’ll eat and you feel super guilty.
Eating healthy is a means of getting you where you want to be. Eating healthy should not be your “life goal” because we all have a much bigger purpose! Life is all about doing what fulfills our soul, not our belly.
3. It increases your chances of an eating disorder.
While eating Paleo is awesome for your health, here’s the catch… It can also trigger eating disorders. The obsessive nature of restrictive eating habits, even if they’re healthy, can lead you down a rabbit hole of disordered eating habits.
TAKEAWAY: CUSTOMIZE THE PALEO APPROACH TO WORK FOR YOU
I totally understand that not everyone is going to agree with my point of view – and that’s okay. It’s actually exactly why I share the information I do. I want people to know that there are other options out there… That if you do feel like this, you’re not the only one. I’ve had my own battle with turning a healthy Paleo diet into a super restrictive eating disorder…. and I want to prevent others from experiencing the same thing.
This guide is for you if you…
- Are already following the Paleo diet
- Are thinking about going Paleo
- Have tendencies for restrictive eating habits
- Are currently dealing with disordered eating habits
- Are recovering from an eating disorder
I’m not advocating against the Paleo diet. Like I said, I follow it, and I actually love it! But, you have to customize the eating “rules” so that they work in YOUR life.
Did you learn something today? You might be interested in finding Food Freedom! Using the 3 strategies in this food freedom ebook to learn how I healed my relationship with food. I’m sharing my best tips for healing your relationship with food (including lessons from my experience with orthorexia, binge eating, over-exercising, body image, weight gain, weight loss, and restrictive dieting). In this super special 30 day program, you’ll learn how to create a sustainable Food Freedom action plan that works for YOU.