The Paleo Diet...is going to be remembered as perhaps the dominant Heath trend of the early 2000's - ok maybe paleo together with raw veganism. These two very different dietary approaches are definitely 'flavour of the decade', with eating gluten free (or at least minimising it's intake) becoming almost a given across the board. There are even some folks out there trying to stick to a gluten-free-raw-vegan-paleo diet, which must be tricky!
I think these 'food movements' have all had a very positive impact on the general population, basically by placing a huge focus on gaining nutrition from mindfully selected, good quality, natural, unprocessed foods.
Raw Vegan / Paleo
Both diets shun refined sugars, dairy*, processed oils & grains, & place focus on consuming lots of fresh veggies. The main differences (& they are quite major) is that raw vegans avoid food heated above 40 degrees Celsius (no cooking) & do not include any animal derived products in their diet (ie meat, eggs, fish, dairy). Vegans therefore tend to rely heavily on legumes for protein (ie beans, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, peas), while paleo's exclude them (as well as grains), in favour of plenty of (cooked) grass-fed meat, chicken, fish & eggs.
*some paleo's will eat the low-reactive, fermented dairy products (i.e. kefir & natural yoghurt), ghee & butter.
It's understandably rare to find someone who's been eating strictly raw vegan or Paleo for any length of time, probably because modern day life is stressful, & challenging enough without giving yourself a set of strict guidelines from which to select your food! Strict adherence to any diet plan takes ongoing sacrifices, discipline & effort, & can also have a huge impact on relationships. Diets will end up in the 'too hard basket' when there's no obvious health impact, but they become relatively easy if you start to notice clear benefits. Both the Paleo & raw vegan diets can make many people feel better & lose weight quite quickly (due to several reasons) thus gaining passionate & loyal followers who are keen to share their experiences with everyone else. Just check out the net & you'll find tonnes of 'raw vegan saved my life' 'Paleo cured me' stories, with millions of blogs, recipes, supplements & e-books to complement.
With so much noise how do you choose ?
Still in 2015, there is no concrete 'rule book' for optimum human nutrition - & will there ever be? The search is continual & the paleo approach is just one 'exploratory chapter' on our way, raw veganism another.
These two dietary movements seem to be softening around the edges (for the majority of followers), as most people concede to the fact that flexibility is more practical than strict adherence & the odd deviation is harmless for anyone who doesn't have severe intolerances.
The best thing for now & for coming generations is that natural, free range, fresh, additive free, quality, organic, super-nutritious, cruelty-free, environmentally conscious, healthy foods are taking over some of the shelf space previously filled with garbage in supermarket aisles. Mainstream consumers are finally demanding 'healthy' en-masse & big food manufacturers are being forced to listen! It's been a long time coming & both the paleo & raw vegan gurus (with their massive Instagram followings, e-books & pretty recipe pictures) can take some credit for the shift - even if we do sometimes modify their recipes & have 'days off!'
Oh & by the way....anyone still struggling to choose what to eat for breakfast, you can try Blend13
with no worries - it's suitable for paleo's, raw vegans & is gluten-free, phew!