The Paleo Diet
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few weeks it’s that whether we like it or not, we really don’t know what’s in our (ready meal and other manufactured and processed) food. The map at the bottom of this BBC News article shows just how complex our food supply chains have become. But is this something for us to worry about and is it having any effect on our health? The specifics of the horse meat scandal aside, the Paleo movement believes that if we ate a diet closer to that eaten by our Stone Age ancestors, we would indeed enjoy better health.
So what is the Paleo diet? The personalities of the Paleo movement, such as Loren Cordain, believe that we have not evolved genetically to cope with the foods that are prolifically available as a result of modern agriculture – such as grains, dairy and the multitude of sweet and sugary foods produced in Western countries. They believe that we were not designed to eat those foods and our gastrointestinal systems have not had time to adapt to digest and absorb them. This can manifest itself in many ways: inability to lose weight, lack of energy and/or concentration, inflammatory and auto-immune conditions. Anyone who works in the field of nutrition knows that for some individuals, cutting out foods like wheat or milk can make a significant difference to their health and wellbeing even if there isn’t a defined disease state such as coeliac disease or lactose intolerance.
So if what we eat could be causing so many health problems, why aren’t more of us following a Paleo diet? As a nutritional therapist working with clients, the most obvious explanation is that it can be really challenging to follow. In our society foods that contain grains and dairy are more easily accessed than those that don’t. Look around your local supermarket shelves – the gluten free and dairy free items are relatively few and far between. There are also certain aspects of the Paleo diet that appear to contradict public health advice – like eating meat, and avoiding whole-grains (identified in most public health ‘healthy plates’ as an important food group). But done well, the Paleo diet can be nutritious and consistent with public health advice.
Ask anyone who chooses to follow a Paleo diet and they will tell you it can be done, and it can be done well, providing varied and interesting food choices that are full of valuable nutrients. Intuitively a diet that contains lean meat, fish, plenty of fruit and vegetables and avoids alcohol, caffeine and refined carbohydrates feels like it should be healthy. We never set out to make The Nutribox a Paleo box, but as we’ve focused on providing snacks that are made from ingredients that are as close to nature as possible and gluten free, we find that most of the products in The Nutribox meet the requirements of a Paleo diet (a small number may contain whey protein or grain products).
Our Stone Age ancestors may not have had access to Nakd bars or raw chocolate, but fruit and nuts were a staple part of the diet. These ingredients are found in many of the products included in The Nutribox. Our commitment is that we will only include snacks in The Nutribox that are made from gluten-free ingredients. Most of our products are also dairy-free by design. Whether you’re following a Paleo diet already, or are interested in applying some Paleo principles to how you eat, we hope The Nutribox can make Paleo-style snacks an accessible and tasty option.
If you’d like to know how you can snack more healthily click here.