So Many Approaches…Who’s Right?
The China Study. The Mediterranean Diet. The Paleo Diet. Who’s right? It won’t be remotely surprising to anyone who knows my position which diet I’d naturally support but what about the research and science behind the other two methods?
I should mention that I chose these two approaches to compare to Paleo living only because in the last week alone, I watched a film on the former and came across a piece in the New York Times on the latter.
The premise of The China Study, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website is that “all animal foods—ranging from Chicken McNuggets to a fillet of wild-caught salmon—are responsible for modern ailments like heart disease and cancer. Such diseases, the book claims, can generally be prevented or even cured by shunning animal products and eating a diet of whole, unprocessed plant foods instead.“
The Mediterranean Diet incorporates the “basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.” states the Mayo Clinic.
And just for a quick review, the Paleo Diet “is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors.”- this from the father of Paleo, Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD.
The questions I came away with after learning more about the China Study had to do with the types of proteins they seemed to focus on and make comparisons to. For example, the highly processed protein found in fast food meals made sense as causative agents in disease, but the take away I got was that it appeared those (non) foods were grouped with wonderful protein sources, like wild fish and grass fed meat and the idea of those foods helping pave the way to disease didn’t add up.
The Mediterranean Diet seemed to be a bit more in line with my Paleo beliefs in terms of adding more healthy fats and seafood, yet their inclusion of legumes was what threw me for a loop.
I am not a fan of the ‘forceful, salesy, preachy approach to Paleo living; as much as I believe in it, I do think everyone needs to find their own way when they’re ready. Of course, provide info and teach, but trying to convince someone to change their eating habits against their will does not often end well.
Those of you who know my background are aware that I was vegan for two years…and look at me now! I changed my diet when I was ready to really feel the best I could feel, and when I was literally sick of being sick.
Continue to do your own Paleo thing, leading by example and not bossiness and hopefully you’ll see people you care about most making the switch to Paleo so they, too, can reach their best state of well being!