The Paleo Diet is a diet that I have often been asked questions about in terms of what my thoughts are on it and whether or not we should all be following it. This diet is publicised in the media quite a lot and in the cities especially where there are cafes/restaurants that focus on being ‘paleo friendly’.
Essentially the Paleo Diet has been referred to as the “Caveman Diet” or the diet of “Hunter Gatherers”; going back to the basics where only wholefoods were accessible such as; animal meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Foods such as; legumes, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and amaranth being excluded.
Legumes were by far a lot harder to harvest or collect thousands of years ago as the seeds were ejected from their pods as soon as they were ripe, however remnants of wild legumes were found 20 thousand years ago in hunter-gatherer sites.
- Legumes contain phytic acid which can be harmful to the body in large amounts but so do nuts, therefore this is why soaking legumes, nuts and seeds before eating is recommended.
- Legumes also contain a carbohydrate called galaco-ligosaccharides which is often problematic if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but so do some fruits and vegetables which usually has no symptoms in healthy individuals.
This raises the question as to why should legumes be avoided. If they do not cause any gastrointestinal discomfort to you then they should be included as a healthy plant food, as part of a healthy diet.
Buckwheat, millet, quinoa and amaranth are actually SEEDS, yes seeds, not grains. These seeds are highly nutritious, easily broken down and digested in the body and contain lots of essential fibre, B vitamins and other essential nutrients. They are also a great vegetarian source of protein.
Paleo to me is a lifestyle where grains and diary are often omitted because of how they are created or cultivated via modern human intervention. An abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables should ideally make up the majority of one’s diet, along with fresh fish, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds.