Do you feel better when you avoid certain types of foods? Many health-conscious people are concerned about maintaining a healthy diet, but don’t understand the connection between Paleo and gluten-free diets. If you want to learn more about the connection between Paleo and gluten-free diets, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss the key aspects of both diets, how they overlap and how you can determine which one is right for you.
1. Unraveling the Origins: How the Paleo and Gluten-Free Diets Coalesce
The Paleo and gluten-free diets carry a lot of weight in today’s nutrition landscape, yet our understanding of their common roots remains shallow. Through increased education on the topic, one can detect a surprisingly close relationship between the two – one which goes back much further than what most people assume.
Similarities in the Prehistoric Diet
The concept of the Paleo diet originates from archeological evidence suggesting humans used to consume a much more natural diet with plenty of plants and lean meats. Upon further inspection, this is not too dissimilar from many modern day gluten-free diets. This all-natural, nutrient-dense approach to human nutrition is shared between both.
Naturally-forming substances, such as gluten, were no present during this era and therefore can not be considered part of a Paleo diet. Many gluten-sensitive individuals have similarly dispelled some of the common grains we now know from their daily eating habits, and the practice of eliminating gluten should sound very familiar to anyone who follows a traditional Paleo-style diet.
Impact of Western Diets
- Production of wheat-related foods on an industrial scale
- Processed foods with artificial ingredients and additives
- Industrialized farming methods and reliance on factory farming
The advent of mass production of food has drastically changed the global diet. As Western diets and packaged goods became prevalent, the widespread popularity of Paleo and gluten-free diets soon emerged in response. With these diets, individuals consciously chose to reject a modern lifestyle in lieu of eating closer to their ancient ancestral roots, which would have been gluten-free.
It is clear that the Paleo and gluten-free diets are closely connected. In spite of their differences, both diets operate with the same principle of limiting processed and artificial foods, promoting natural nutrition. It’s important to recognize the shared health benefits for those today who choose to embrace either approach.
2. Delving into the Science: Decrypting the Shared Unfavorable Reactions
Although it seems like there are more negative reactions than positive ones being shared, it isn’t necessarily the case. A better way of looking at it is to dive deeper into the science.
The Reasons for the Unfavorable Reactions
Most would agree that shared unfavorable reactions often come down to a lack of understanding. In short, they are a result of people not fully grasping what they are seeing. When faced with something that they cannot comprehend or interpret correctly, they tend to react with skepticism and negativity. This is seen as a default protective mechanism, prompting people to stay away from the unknown.
However, when the meaning and context behind the shared information is illuminated, we can unmask the reaction and understand why it had such an impact. Digging into the science can give us insight into why unfavorable reactions occur.
Looking at the Psychophysiology
- Our first stop is to look at the psychophysiology behind the reactions – the psychological response to stimuli. The distinguished biologist Hans Selye believed that emotions have more influence over us than reason, and thus reactions are often a result of emotional responses.
- When presented with unfavorable information, our brains interpret it as a threat. It could be seen as an explanation as to why humans have such strong reactions when presented with it, as it stirs up a fight-or-flight reaction.
- In addition to this, unfavorable reactions are often seen if the presented information contradicts one’s beliefs. This triggers a need to defend one’s beliefs and, consequently, produce unfavorable responses.
The Relationship between Cognitive Processes and Unfavorable Reactions
Social scientists have also found a link between cognitive processes and unfavorable reactions to shared information. It is possible that unfavorable reactions could be a result of cognitive dissonance. This is where two or more opposing ideas suddenly clash, creating a sense of confusion in the person confronting it.
It has also been suggested that unfavorable reactions could be caused by confirmation bias. This occurs when people actively seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs. When presented with conflicting ideas, it could provoke an unfavorable response.
3. Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle: The Overlapping Benefits of Paleo and Gluten-Free Approaches
For those interested in embracing a healthier lifestyle, both Paleo and gluten-free approaches have many overlapping benefits. Yet, despite their similarities, there are key distinctions to understand as well.
The Paleo Diet
Primarily focused on consuming whole, unprocessed sources of animal protein, the Paleo diet primarily eliminates all types of grains, dairy, and processed food from its adherents’ diets. All fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, and fish are widely recommended by many Paleo conscious individuals.
By removing processed sugar and white flour from one’s diet, many of Paleo’s followers have been able to achieve weight loss goals, as well as an increased sense of wellbeing.
- No dairy products
- No grains
- No processed food
The Gluten-Free Approach
Different from the Paleo diet in that it does not eliminate the entirety of grains from its adherents’ diet, the gluten-free approach eliminates only those grains containing gluten. Primarily found in wheat, barley, and rye, gluten is found in a wide variety of processed foods, including bread and pasta.
By replacing processed wheat and other grains with gluten-free alternatives such as quinoa, corn, and amaranth, potentially harmful symptoms related to a sensitivity to gluten can be alleviated. Additionally, as replacing the aforementioned grains with vegetables, and other sources of fiber can help lower one’s risk for obesity by lowering overall calorie consumption.
- No grains containing gluten
- Healthier alternatives such as quinoa, corn, and amaranth
4. Dispelling the Myths: Debunking Misconceptions Surrounding Paleo and Gluten-Free Diets
The idea of changing one’s diet can be daunting. Many people have heard of paleo and gluten-free diets, but they’re often met with an array of misconceptions that leave them unsure of whether or not to try them. Here, we’ll explore the facts behind some of the most common myths surrounding this style of eating, so that you can make an educated decision on the best diet for you:
1. Gluten-Free Means Healthy
While gluten-free options can be a tasty way to change up your diet, that doesn’t necessarily make them healthier than their gluten counterparts. For instance, chips and candy may be considered gluten-free because they don’t contain wheat flour, but that doesn’t make them any better for your health. It’s important to keep an eye on the sugar and other ingredient content of gluten-free foods and maintain balance leading to a healthier lifestyle.
2. Paleo is Too Restrictive
When some hear of a paleo diet, they may assume that it’s too hard to follow. While it does involve cutting out certain foods such as grains, dairy, legumes, and refined sugar, that doesn’t mean that all the good stuff has to go, too — it just means focusing on fresh, real foods to make up the majority of your diet. This could include plenty of meats, fish, fruits, veggies, nuts, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil.
3. No Sweets Allowed
The measurement of a healthy diet isn’t dependent entirely on whether or not sweets are allowed — it’s a matter of how often and in what moderation they are enjoyed. Indulging in a sweet treat now and again won’t throw off your progress, and the same goes for those with a gluten-free or paleo diet — just make sure to read the labels and stick to lucky treats that fit in your plans.
4. It’s Expensive
It’s true that eating primarily organic foods and purchasing quality meats can come with a market price tag, however a paleo or gluten-free diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Focusing on buying in season fruits and vegetables, as well as bulk buying staples like nuts and canned goods can keep costs down. Pre-cut or frozen vegetables and fruits are also a great way to save money.
Moving away from the misconceptions and learning the facts behind paleo and gluten-free diets can help you understand the possibilities for improved wellness when switching to this style of eating. Now, you’re armed with the tools necessary to make an educated decision and approach these diets with confidence.
Whether it’s for reasons of gluten sensitivity, health trends or just plain curiosity, understanding the connection between paleo and gluten-free is an important aspect of the modern wellness journey. Be sure to explore all the possibilities of a paleo and gluten-free lifestyle so you can make the most informed decisions for your health. With a better understanding of the intersection of paleo and gluten-free, you can easily unlock the door to a vibrant, balanced life.