Thanks for getting back to me.
My assignment is to compare 10 diets, with total cost being a component.
I have just three basic questions, though No. 3 (cost) gets complicated. I have read a bit about the diet and could answer some of the questions from the website, but I hope to get it in your words.
1. What is the basic tenet of the Paleo Diet, the underlying principle?
2. How does the diet work? For some, food is provided by the plan. For others, the diet offers guidelines. Some go through several phases, while others don’t.
3. What does it cost to be on the diet? For the ones that provide packaged food, this is fairly simple to answer. My understanding is that the Paleo Diet doesn’t, so what I’m hoping to get from you is an idea of what a day, week or month on this diet costs. If you don’t have those figures, I hope you can provide guidelines so the shopper I’m working with and I can come up with a menu, go to a grocery store and see what following the diet would cost.
That’s it. Please me ask if anything here is confusing.
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
The answers to these basic questions can be gleaned from any of the major websites (mine, Robb Wolf’s and Mark Sisson’s) in more detail than you probably need. My brief answers are as follows:
1. The basic tenet is to try to eat contemporary foods from the food groups our pre-agricultural ancestors ate (i.e. fresh meats, poultry, eggs, preferably grass produced, fresh fish, fresh seafood, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and healthful fats (olive oil, coconut oil). Avoid processed foods, cereal grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, refined oils and salt. The evolutionary concept is that our basic genome (including our nutritional requirements) was shaped over millions of years of evolutionary experience and has changed little in the 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture. Hence our bodies are well adapted to the ancient hunter gatherer environment, including foods that produced our current day genome. Recently introduced foods are discordant with our genome and this discordance elicts the diseases of cilvization which run rampant in western societies. Hence, for the first time since all humans were hunter gatherers, the most powerful concept in all of biology (evolution through natural selection) has finally been applied to the study of optimal human nutrition.
2. The diet works as explained above. It really is not a diet per se, but rather a lifetime plan of eating to optimize health and well being. The idea behind this way of life is quite simple as explained above, and the consumer is free to buy and eat healthful foods ad libitum. So food really is not provided, but rather the consumer makes the decision on which healthful foods to eat that are consistent with the basic guidelines.
I really don’t know what you mean by stages? People are encouraged to be compliant, but the plan doesnt require 100 % compliance. Most people experience significant health benefits with 85-95 % compliance.
3. I haven’t analyzed the specific cost, but this information is available from a number of blogs and websites which provide tips of how to make this lifelong health plan affordable (buy in bulk, go to farmers markets, buy poultry, eggs and grass fed beef directly from the farmer and eliminate the middleman, etc..). Further, the cost would vary around the country and by which foods are chosen. Humanity’s cheap foods are cereals (wheat, corn, rice), sugars, vegetable oils, margarine, refined sugars, largely because they are subsidized by the US government. In the long run health care costs are dramatically reduced by eating Paleo. Additionally, many processed foods are considerably more costly than real foods (a pound of M&Ms is more costly than a pound of carrots, celery or broccoli — the same can be said for most packaged breakfast cereals. A dozen free ranging eggs bought directly from the farmer typically cost less than a box of sugar frosted flakes. A pound of grass produced beef bought in bulk (1/4 or 1/2 side) from the producer is only frequently less costly than fancy cuts of fed lot produced beef.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor