Monday, January 14, 2013

Whole Foods Challenge Link Up! Week 2: Paleo VS Low Carb: What's The Difference?

Happy Monday Kids! It's week two of my Whole Foods Challenge Link Up! For more information on the challenge and how you can link up check out this post.

How'd My Week Go?

Not bad, honestly. I did have a few slips here and there due to eating out and children's birthday parties - and believe me when I say that I felt it! (still do . . .) I DID, however, learn the art of the leftover-makeover! For example: One night we had lamb chops and roasted veggies. Later on in the week I mixed them with broth and made soup. Another night we had chicken with veggies. Again, later on in the week, I mixed them together and made "chicken-not-pie" (chicken pot pie filling without the crust). My mom sent me home with pot-roast this weekend which I will be using to make a beef stew (probably tonight - YUUUMM). I also discovered a GREAT bakery near my mom that makes AMAZING all-natural baked goods - and most are low-carb and/or paleo in nature.

Speaking of low-carb and paleo . . ?

So what IS the difference between a Paleo (caveman/Paleolithic) diet and a low-carb diet? IS there one? Well, yes, there is.
(all information here comes from various low carb cookbooks such as George Stella's "Still Livin' Low Carb" "The Atkins Diet" "The South Beach Diet" and various articles, web sites, and blogs on the Paleo diet - Google it for a plethora of information!)

The Gist on Low Carb:

The philosophy behind low-carb diets is simple. You completely get rid of things like potatoes, starchy vegetables, bread, pasta, and rice for a period of time. Depending on the diet plan, you may also get rid of fruit for a while as well. This puts your body into a fat burning mode called ketosis. After being in this state for about a week, you start introducing things back into your diet such as fruit and whole-grains in small amounts, but still base your everyday lifestyle around meats and vegetables. Some diets stick with leaner meats (like South Beach) while others allow, and even encourage, full fat everything (Atkins).

The Gist on the Paleo Diet:

The Paleo diet is based on what researchers believe man would have eaten in the paleolithic era. The philosophy is that our bodies are exactly the same now as then and there are certain foods available to us today that we are unable to digest properly because we wouldn't have had them available then. Most fruit, beans, dairy, and grains are cut completely out of the diet. Oils such as canola and olive oil are also cut out in favor of coconut and nut oils.

So What's The Difference?

One of the main differences between the two diets is the amount of allowed foods - the paleo diet is a little more restrictive than the low-carb diet. There's also a slight difference in the TYPES of allowed foods. While low-carb diets can be paleo in nature, a true paleo diet is not necessarily low-carb, as it allows tubers such as sweet potatoes and yams.

Which is better?

That is something that is up for serious debate. If you Google "paleo vs low-carb" you'll find a slew of articles and blog posts on this subject, and each are biased to their own side. The simplest answer to this is, which one speaks to YOU? For some people, the idea behind the paleo diet is a God-send. The biggest draw is that this particular diet is naturally wheat and gluten free (as well as rice, corn, soy, and dairy free). For others, the mere thought of going without things such as yogurt or beans in their lifestyle is enough to turn them off. For others, it may be more of a philosophy thing: some strict creationists reject the idea of the paleolithic era while others not only embrace, but encourage it. Likewise, there are some that simply cannot adhere to the idea of eating completely low carb because of recent studies done on ketosis.

The bottom line is this, after studying the two diets, think about which one fits you better. Do you love the idea of being able to love potatoes? Do you really like the idea that you can (someday) have pasta again?

Also keep in mind what your own body can tolerate - some people with gluten, corn, and other food allergies will probably do quite well on the paleo plan, whereas someone with an adverse reaction to potato starches and nuts would do well on the low-carb diet.

I hope this has given you some insight on the differences between the low-carb and the paleo lifestyle. As for myself, I am doing a pseudo-paleo lifestyle currently - I have added beans and dairy to my own eating style, but refrain from other grains and carbs as much as possible.

Which lifestyle do you prefer? Feel free to comment below, and remember you can link up all week!

Link up . . .

1 comment:

OneMommy said...

Love doing things new with the leftovers, though mine are normally not as exciting as yours sounded!