The Paleo Diet: A Difficult but Healthy Choice

The Paleo Diet: A Difficult but Healthy Choice

Callie High, Photographer

Recently, my doctor diagnosed me as prediabetic and assigned me to the Paleo diet. The palette revolves around meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit — anything that was readily available to a caveman (hence the nickname caveman diet).

This diet can be interpreted in different ways, but the strict diet doesn’t include dairy, grains, or even beans. I have tried to keep up with this rigorous diet, but since I was abruptly thrown into the dieting world, I struggle to be comfortable only eating from a narrow palette. My self-control doesn’t always help restrain my inner urges for ice cream, but ‘cheating’ doesn’t help. I have a hard time staying true to the diet, but it is necessary because it is so hard to get back on track after getting off of it.

Just like any other diet, the first couple of weeks are the hardest part to get through. For me, there were tears shed for past food choices that go against the diet. That is normal when dieting so suddenly; depression hits and feelings of longing for the once-consumed food start to take over. I found motivation from being scared that I would become a diabetic. Finding something to hold onto allows for not giving up on the diet. For me, I have trouble with gluten, so eating bread or other wheat hurts my stomach, which is another reason why I am motivated to eat better and not ‘cheat.’ Since the diet doesn’t allow any grain-based food products, the Paleo diet is a really good option for someone who is gluten intolerant.

I have a problem with cheating, the best way that I got over was I gradually, over a couple of weeks, gave up the foods that I kept eating. I slowly decreased how much of the food I ate each day until I didn’t eat it at all. This way, I eased myself into the diet instead of immediately starting and ending up with depression. Just remember that it takes time to get use to a diet and the depressive feelings eventually stopped. Feeling better can be a result of losing weight from the diet or just putting the right food into your body. I have noticed that I have lost 6 pounds in about 6 weeks, which is stunning considering I didn’t go on this diet to lose weight. I have also felt so much better overall. Getting past the depression and tiredness, I have discovered that my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore and also that I am more awake and feel happier. This diet does really work for me because I work hard to keep it up.  

Furthermore, as a narrow diet, the Paleo diet doesn’t seem to have a lot of recipe options, but there are actually plenty of different ways to cook meat and fish. For example, I researched Paleo diet recipes and I was surprised to find lots of different ways to marinate and cook a chicken. There is also the choice of pairing meat with all kinds of vegetables and fruits, balancing everything out. When I started the diet, I was relying on fruit as my main source of food. However, eating just fruit all the time is not a very good idea. To have a sustainable meal, meat should be the main course with a side of a couple of choices of vegetables and fruit for dessert. Keeping an open mind about various foods is vital because being picky, like me, makes the process much harder.

Despite how horrible this diet may seem, overall, it is a really healthy choice. It might be hard to let go of certain foods, but in the end, the results will show.