My husband and I are both overweight and decided to try the Paleo Diet to do something about it. We had previous success on the South Beach diet and thought, how much more work could the Paleo diet be?
Eat Like a Caveman
According to Livestrong.com, the Paleo Diet is also known as the Caveman diet because of the restrictions in place. You only eat foods that were available to cavemen-meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. No carbs and no sugars other than the natural sugars found in fruits.
My family likes to eat, so we thought a diet centered on meats and healthy, filling meals could work for our lifestyle. While we were anxious about giving up our breads and potatoes, we were willing to give eating like a caveman a try
Any diet that focuses on meat and fresh vegetables is going to cost you more money than you normally spend at the grocery store. According to Nerd Fitness, the meats consumed in the Paleo diet must be grass fed-not grain fed-as eating grain fed meats defeats the purpose of consuming no grains. This was part of the diet I didn’t realize when I started, so I spent the first week eating my normal, less expensive cuts of meat.
Planning and cooking meals is imperative to success to the Caveman Diet. Before the Paleo diet, I could come up with a meal at the last minute, throwing a jar of spaghetti sauce in with a box of pasta and wham-we had dinner. The Paleo diet requires much more preparation time. It is important to plan out the healthy meals you want to cook. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, trying to come up with carb-less side dishes I could make with the three or four foods I was allowed to make. Grocery shopping becomes more time consuming as well, as fresh meats and vegetables have a shorter shelf life in your refrigerator and must be bought more often.
Cooking is also something you must enjoy to really appreciate the Paleo diet. No microwave meals or thrown together dinners on the Paleo diet. Everything fresh needs diced and chopped or seared and roasted before it is ready for your family’s plate.
I found the Paleo diet too restrictive for my family’s tastes. Luckily my husband was dieting with me, but we also have a twelve year old son who wants his mac and cheese and doesn’t really care for the medley of vegetables he’s had three nights in a row. Grass fed meat was too expensive for our grocery budget. I found it difficult to come up with different recipes to keep our meals exciting and appetizing. I found myself cheating too much on the diet to make it effective, especially during the week when time is crunched by work and after school activities. I don’t have time to cook veggie omelets in the morning. I am lucky to sit down at the table with my toast. Usually it follows me in the car, eaten in between stop lights on my early morning commute.
While the concept of grass fed meat and fresh vegetables is appealing, the restrictiveness of foods, the time involved in planning and cooking meals, and the added expense made me realize the Paleo diet was not right for my family. If I want to stay away from carbs and sugars, I would choose the South Beach diet, which is less restrictive and allows for a cheat here and there. While I have developed a taste for roasted vegetables with olive oil and garlic, sometimes you just want to enjoy your hamburger on an actual bun!
Bridget Coila “Paleolithic Diet vs. South Beach Diet,” Livestrong.com
“The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet,” Nerd Fitness