Is the Paleo lifestyle fit for everyone?

More than 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children are struggling with their weight and obesity, leading to many health problems.

Everyone is looking for the new diet or magic answer to lose weight. But the truth is, there’s no one diet that fits everyone.

The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is also known as “Hunter-Gatherer diet.” It involves cutting out many types of foods such as legumes, cereal grain, processed food, potatoes, dairy, refined sugar and starchy veggies and instead consuming mainly grass-fed meats, fish and seafoods, fruits and non-starchy veggies, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils.

This may be a healthier way to eat, but it’s not the only healthy way.

I agree with the Paleo Diet’s approach to eat lots of veggies, fruits, healthy protein sources and non-processed food. But we are not living in paleolithic times — our ancestors had to eat what they found, they didn’t have food available 24 hours a day. I also do believe that if you have a lot of rules to follow in your diet that eventually you’ll have a hard time sticking to it.

Nowadays a lot of athletes are combining the Paleo Diet with CrossFit — a total fitness workout that involves functional movements. Most exercises use the bodyweight approach, pushing your limits to almost maximum ability.

The workout program is structured in such a way that CrossFit athletes are challenged to exercise for a specific time frame, or to complete a certain number of repetitions.

The idea is to create a caveman-style workout that includes primal movements and revolves around survival. It’s a great way to get an intense workout in a short amount of time, and to discover your capability and limits. And there’s also a high level of social support with a unique community, which is a huge help in maximizing health.

However, although the intensity of the exercises do have many benefits, they also increase the risk of injury if not done correctly.

CrossFit has created the “wild man” style workout, and many of its followers do also choose to follow the Paleo Diet. I didn’t see so many who 100 percent follow it, however, most tend to pick aspects of it to try and match their workout style and eating patterns.

Personally I do combine some CrossFit exercises into my workout plan, but in my opinion the best workout is a combination of CrossFit and a variety of other workouts such as yoga and weight training. And the most important part: don’t try too much too soon, depending on your goals and fitness level. And for me the healthiest diet is eating mostly single ingredient foods, lots of veggies, and as organic as possible.

I like Michael Pollan’s approach, he always says “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

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Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. Email her at Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com

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