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So easy a caveman can do it

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Throughout the years there have been many "fad diets" advertised on television and floating around the internet, but Deborah Kaplan, ACSM fitness specialist and life agent in California for health fitness and wellness programs, believes that the Paleolithic diet isn't a diet but a lifestyle.

Robb Wolf's book 'The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet' is what Kaplan uses to encourage her clients to "go Paleo." Wolf describes the Paleo diet as "the healthiest way you can eat, because it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, ophthalmology, dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression and infertility."


Those who follow the Paleo diet are encouraged to eat lean proteins, vegetables, seafood, nuts, fruits and healthy fats, and are told to avoid dairy, grains, processed food, starches, legumes and alcohol.

"Generally, most people come to me to lose weight. Unfortunately, most people are following the USDA recommendations and the food pyramid," Kaplan said. "By following the USDA and the ADA guidelines, people are eating unhealthy foods in unhealthy amounts. The USDA recommendations are actually make us as a nation fatter and sicker. It's no wonder nobody can lose weight and so many people feel tired and sick. Paleo is pretty much the opposite of the ADA and USDA. "

"The Paleo lifestyle," as Kaplan calls it, can be a great way to learn about how the body works. Kaplan calls it a great template to start from and recommends doing the Robb Wolf 30-day challenge to start, which eliminates certain foods.

"It's all about making the commitment and changing your lifestyle in order to reach your health, wellness and fitness goals, by learning how food acts as a drug and affects your ability to function at an optimal level," Kaplan said. "Paleo lifestyle has been known to help people with autoimmune diseases, compromised metabolisms, weight loss and fat problems as well as better health in general."

Although Kaplan herself has never officially done the Paleo lifestyle, she says her lifestyle is basically Paleo.

"After learning about Paleo I realized that I was already living a pretty much Paleo lifestyle. In the past four years with the inclusion of Robb Wolf and other researchers and practitioners to my network I have improved upon my knowledge of how foods affect our bodies which has allowed me to improve upon my diet,' she said.

Kaplan is very proud to say that for the past 20 years she has lived a sugar-free, grain-free, starch-free and non-processed food lifestyle. She is also proud to say that her clients have responded very well to the Paleo lifestyle with more energy, loss of body fat and inches, better blood profiles, better sleep and better sex drives.

Katherine Musgrave of Orono has a much different view than Kaplan. Musgrave has been a dietician and nutritionist since 1942 and she says she would not recommend the Paleo diet to anyone.

According to Musgrave, "Paleo is about the same as the South Beach Diet. There have been fad diets always and saying that there's some magical way to lose weight, but the only way you can really lose weight is to control what you take in and exercise. I would rather a client works on a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients they need and they need moderate amounts of a variety of foods."

Musgrave has concerns about the energy level of those who choose to follow the Paleo lifestyle.

"It serves me to think how is one going to get enough energy if one doesn't us some grain or a complex carbohydrate, which that diet is lacking. I suppose if you ate a lot of nuts and meat you might get enough energy from fat and protein, but it seems to me to keep a balanced diet you need carbohydrates."

She gives some advice for those who are looking to lose weight and keep it off.

"I believe that you need to get enough exercise to utilize the energy from the food you want to eat,' she said. 'The main way to control one's weight is regular physical activity. It takes most people 30-60 minutes a day of brisk walking and the same amount of time stretching to help control weight. Learn portion size and control the amount of each of the foods one eats."


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