There are a lot of things floating around in the health and fitness realm right now. This posting is focusing on diet. I will write another post later on fitness trends. The variety and info can be confusing to people. I received a request for a personal training quote recently from a middle-aged woman looking for a “Paleo workout”. Was she expecting to swing from trees, beat on things with clubs, and run after her food? Probably not. What likely happened was confusing diet fads and fitness trends. That is not uncommon anymore as health and fitness keeps changing rapidly. She was probably thinking of functional training instead. I would like to share a few things that are out there and you can make your own conclusions. At least you would have some idea of what they are if you haven’t had the opportunity.
Paleo Diet—The premise of the Paleo diet is to eat like Paleolithic people did—i.e. eat like the cave men did. Grains, dairy and legumes are out. Lean meats, veggies and fruits are in. NO PROCESSED FOODS! Proponents say that followers lose weight, lower cholesterol and type 2 diabetes risks. I have to say from experience in leading weight loss programs that people who stop eating processed, prepackaged foods greatly reduce overall inflammation in their bodies. Their bellies don’t protrude from distention and they don’t feel overheated. Their overall health score goes positive. We all need to have more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean, unprocessed meats in our diet.
However, according to the American Dietetic Association, the saturated fats and triglycerides are higher. Nutritional deficiencies are also a concern. By deleting grains, legumes and dairy (a major source of calcium), there are concerns that not enough of the vitamins from grains and calcium are too low. Some of the opposition believe that it is not much different than the Atkins diet with the exception that the meats are lean. Proponents applaud the reduction of sugars, which we could all use. Foods are supposed to be non-GMO and organic. Free-range and grass fed animals for meat are also advised. As far as I am concerned, we would do well to fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats as well as reduce carbs and sugars. However, I don’t believe that Paleo followers are up for hunting meat with spears and clubs or foraging for what they need to eat! For me, I am not a Paleo fan. As with any “diet”, are they deleting a food group? Are you able to make it a long-term lifestyle change? Can you afford it? Check these things out and make your own decision.
Non-GMO—This stands for the insistence upon non-genetically modified organisms in foods and medicines. Genetic modification caused by human activity has been occurring since humans first domesticated animals in 12,000 BC. and plants around 10,000 BC. Gregor Mendel’s work with cross pollination of plants was also an early form of genetically modifying organisms without directly interfering or altering DNA in the early 1900s. GMOs formally began in 1973 with the work of Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen . The goal was to improve the quality, disease resistance, and value of goods. He learned to choose hearty plants that would be more resistant to disease to cross pollinate with each other to yield better produce. Animal husbandry used an early form of genetic engineering by cross-breeding animals for better resistance to disease, pests, and better quality meat. However, this is not the same today. Scientists have gone into the DNA strands to “handpick” certain genetic qualities to produce better, bigger and healthier produce, supposedly. Concerns have been raised about the long term affects of consuming produce and meat that have been so drastically altered, as well as use of medications that are GMO. The United States currently does not require GMO labeling, although there is pressure on the FDA to do so.
Concerns raised by non-GMO advocates:
· Illnesses and diseases that could be caused by these genetic alterations.
· Seemingly “safe and natural” products have secondary ingredients considered higher risk.
· Increased resistance of weeds, viruses and bacteria to cause “super-weeds” and “superbugs”
· Not enough testing done to show what the long term affects on us and our environment; we shouldn’t be the “guinea pigs” without prior knowledge.
Non-GMO advocates are pressuring FDA to require labeling. You may have already seen the Non-GMO certification emblems voluntarily listed on some foods. My bottom line is get the facts to make a reasonable decision for yourself. I prefer foods as close to nature as possible without busting my budget.
For further reading: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
Or simply do a topic search to read more about this hot topic.
Organic—foods are foods grown without pesticides, herbicides, added hormones, etc. In essence, these plants and animals are being grown in a manner that was before all of the commercial farming began. Healthy types of insects and chickens are used to keep pests at bay. Compost and other natural materials are used to fertilize these crops. As for meats, the animals are usually free range and are fed foods that are more to the animals’ natural feeding patterns.
The pros are that no residue of pesticides or herbicides are in or on the foods we eat. Compost is using more waste that is not being tossed in the garbage. There are no added hormones to mess up our own hormone systems, i.e. hormones given to cows to produce more milk has caused girls to hit puberty earlier and stunt the onset of puberty in boys. And animals are being treated in a more humane manner consistent with their natural living patterns.
The cons are costs of these foods are higher in the grocery stores due to reduced ability for crops to resist disease and reduction of crops yielded per season. The organic farmers must put in a lot more effort and time to produce meats and produce, as well. I am a proponent of eating organic whenever possible. My first husband’s colon cancer may have been due to a crop duster spraying plants when he was outside mowing the lawn in an area considered to be a cancer “hot bed”. I use organic methods for my garden. However, if you can’t afford organic, here is the dirty dozen to focus on for organic http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipes/healthy/dirty-dozen-foods#slide-1
For me, I look for free range chicken and turkey and grass fed beef due to celiac disease. Some of the feed for these animals otherwise, may contain gluten which I must avoid. I don’t know how much of a difference it makes, but I have less problems with my digestion.
You may agree with me or not, which is okay. As always, get the facts to make your own informed decisions! May God bless you!