These are the 20 reasons why my husband and I quit the Paleo diet exactly a year ago. I’m grateful to it for showing me the beauty of whole foods, but it has also damaged my body pretty bad.
As time passed, my thoughts crystallized and I was able to work out the best kind of diet for my own body, which is really called “Listen To Your Body” diet. Thanks to Ayurveda, I’ve been able to rediscover my intuition, find balance in my life, and make peace with my body.
If you, guys, are interested in what I’m eating these days, I’ll be posting much more about it very soon. I’ve just filmed a What I Ate In A Day video and I’ll also be talking about what my “diet” looks like now, so watch this space. I promise, there will be no silly restrictions and fanatical ideas: just nourishing and delicious food.
As time passed, I was also able to look back, reflect, and see all the things that went wrong after one year on the Paleo diet. You see, the problem is that the majority of Paleo gurus and leaders are men and they really aren’t the best people to advise women. The Paleo diet may work for a lot of men (however, not all – just look at my husband’s case), but women’s bodies are different.
This article about women’s health and fertility in the Paleo For Women blog was instrumental in my switch to a different way of eating. It finally gave me a perfect explanation for a lot of the issues I was having on the Paleo diet, especially anything related to beauty or hormones.
Of course, fertility is very important to me as I’d love to have a baby in the future, so if a diet isn’t good for my fertility, I ain’t gonna do it!
Plus, we are all different and need different things. One diet doesn’t work for everyone, right? I’m sure you knew it already. But it took me years to learn this lesson.
If you’re wondering what sort of Paleo we were doing, we were following the Primal variation of the Paleo diet (as the one promoted by Mark Sisson on marksdailyapple.com). It allows mostly raw, organic dairy, although we tried a strict version without dairy as well and it made us even more miserable.
We tried staying at around 100-150g of carbs and we also tried low carb below 50g, but it was a nightmare.
If you want to hear all the detailed explanations behind each reason, watch the video:
Otherwise, here are the 20 reasons why my husband and I quit the Paleo diet after one year:
- The Paleo diet sapped all my energy. I was in such apathy that sometimes even getting up from the sofa or saying a word was too much of an effort for me. It also made my energy fluctuate A LOT!
- I had the driest skin of my life. Yet it was also very bumpy and rough.
- The Paleo diet weakened my teeth enormously. In just a few months, my gums recessed more than they have since my teenage years. My teeth became very sensitive to cold and sweets. I also got 6 new cavities in just 6 months on the diet.
- My hair was dry and oily at the same time. It was impossible to style as my curls looked limp. My naturally curly hair suddenly started to lose the curls. I also started experiencing a worrying amount of hair loss.
- I started having problems with concentration and memory: losing trail of thought in the middle of a sentence, not being able to concentrate when trying to write or do anything creative, my brain was lagging behind my tongue, so it was difficult to speak or make videos.
- My hormones got out of whack. My periods went from heavy, but regular to still heavy, super long, slow to start, and… OK, that’s the weirdest bit. They were stopping and then two days later starting again. Has it ever happened to you? It completely went away a few months after I quit the Paleo diet.
- The Paleo diet gave me headaches for the first time in my life. They weren’t migraines, but nagging, low-grade tension headaches most afternoons, which made doing anything so much harder.
- I got constipated, which might not be such a surprise because I’ve always been quite irregular in that department. However, the Paleo diet took it to another level. I really struggled. Even my husband Luca, who has always been very regular, started struggling with it.
- I had no energy to exercise after the first 6 months.
- Weight started creeping up after the first few months, no matter how clean we ate or how low our carbs were.
- I was never OK mentally and spiritually with eating so much meat. You can’t be truly grateful and appreciative when you eat it every single day, usually even more than once a day. Being an ex-vegetarian, it just wasn’t cutting it for me.
- I’m a very laid back and peaceful person, but the Paleo diet made me aggressive and irritable. My poor Luca started wondering if I was really the same sweet girl he married all those years ago!
- I got depressed for the first time in my life. It was horrible. Do you know that feeling when you’re overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and anxiety, but when you try to think logically, you can’t find any reasons for them? Yet the sadness doesn’t lift? That’s what the Paleo diet made me feel. I have quite a few tips for those of you that are suffering from this type of depression, so look out for those in the future,
- I realized that a lot of the Paleo claims are bullshit (excuse the word). Paleo people ate low carb? Nope. People haven’t been eating grains long enough to adapt to them? Nope. Science is such a flexible subject. You can bend it as much as you like it, so please do your own research.
- I kept getting weird underskin bumps on my neck and under my jaw. According to Chinese medicine, they were signalling clogged up liver and a diet that was too heavy for me. Yup, it sounds right because those bumps are gone.
- The Paleo diet made my ankles swell up on hot summer days. That never happened to me before.
- Both Luca and I became prediabetic after one year on the Paleo diet. Never had problems with blood sugar before, now we do. We’re slowly getting back to normal and I still think that a blood glucose meter is the best tool any health conscious person can have.
- The Paleo diet made me age more in that year than I’ve ever aged in a year before. That might be subjective, but that’s what I feel looking at my photos from just before and after the year on the Paleo diet.
- My nails became weak and started having white spots all over them. Ayurveda would explain that as malabsorption of minerals due to excess Vata. I couldn’t agree more and yes, the white spots are gone now.
- Apparently, I missed one of the points in the video. Oops! 🙂 So here it is: the Paleo diet made me bloated after most meals, especially after dinner. It was making any kind of social life impossible. I was always prone to get bloated, but every single day? Numerous times a day? That never happened to me. Again, that’s all due to excess Vata.
So these are my 20 reasons for ditching the Paleo diet. It was a horrible diet for us, but it might be different for other people.
Listen to your body. Don’t ignore your heritage: if your ancestors have been living on grains and potatoes for centuries, you might not thrive without them (yes, that’s me!). Do your own research. Take everything with a pinch of salt. But most importantly, don’t feel compelled to follow diet gurus blindly.
Don’t be afraid to accept that you’ve been wrong and that what you’re doing isn’t working. If we didn’t make mistakes, there would be no progress.
I hope you found this blog post interesting and/or helpful. If you share it, you will help my blog grow and reach more people, so I would be very, very happy and we would prevent lots of women (and men) from potentially risking their fertility and health (and mental health). Knowledge is power!
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Now it’s your turn to tell me: have you had any bad or good experiences with the Paleo diet or low carb diet, whether you’re a man or a woman? Are you following it? Did you in the past? Or are you thinking of following it? Let’s discuss!
Lots of love,