The basic idea behind the paleo diet is that food production has evolved much faster than our bodies have. Therefore, paleo people say, we should try to mimic the eating habits of our ancient ancestors, sticking to lean meats and vegetables and skipping bread, artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Devotees say they lose weight and feel great.
“It works for many people, particularly if you hold onto a lot of belly fat,” said Chicago nutrition consultant Sherry Belcher.
She says the diet also can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as offer other health benefits.
“Removing any and all of these [nonpaleo] foods will have nothing but a positive effect on the body,” said Sheena Lawrick, a former Olympian and coach at Windy City CrossFit in Lakeview, where members are encouraged to combine a paleo diet with their workouts. Lawrick also notes that paleo isn’t so much about counting calories — it’s about feeding your body good food.
“A well-respected nutrition expert once told me, ‘Food is fuel, food is not reward.’ That stuck with me,” said Jon Callahan, 39, of Andersonville, whose whole family — including his wife and three children, ages 3, 5 and 8 — eats paleo. Callahan says he is sharper and has more energy since shifting to a paleo diet two years ago.
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