I'll be the first to admit I wasn't a fan of the Paleo diet when I first heard of it. Not because the science behind it isn't strong but because it was so largely misinterpreted by people just looking for the next quick fix. Hey, don't eat grains, beans, sugar, or dairy, and you'll lose weight! Well, yes. If you cut out that many food groups I'm pretty sure you will lose weight. But the Paleo diet in its intended form is not about weight loss or quick fixes. It's about improving our health. It's about highlighting ingredients that cause many of us digestive ailments and autoimmune disorders. It's about feeling better and fueling your body adequately.
I tend to cringe when I hear yet another person jumping aboard the caveman diet bandwagon because I fear they haven't educated themselves about it. I have several friends who follow a Paleo diet, and while I won't call any of them out by name (cough, cough, wink), I will say they use it as an excuse to eat more meat and "manly" meals.
When someone changes his or her diet to reflect the Paleo way of eating in a healthy way, I fully support it. Even if you don't become "strict Paleo," you're improving your health with every better food decision you make. Eating a vegetable-centric diet with a balance of proteins, fruit, and fat is a great way to approach healthy eating.
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Whether I'm a fan of the diet or not (for whatever reason - not because of the science!), there's not going to be any less talk about it anytime soon. According to ZipList's "State of the Kitchen" report that reviewed what more than 4 million users were searching for in their recipe box, they found Paleo diet recipes were on the rise. In fact, Paleo desserts were the most searched-for recipes all around. Although it concerns me there's such a focus on dessert, I'm glad people are looking for healthier options than fried dough and ice cream sundaes. As I dietitian I'm thrilled to see the rise in popularity of salmon recipes, which may be a side effect of the Paleo trend (or not!). Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain health, heart health, joint health, and more.
I found it interesting that there were an increased number of searches for grain recipes given the popularity of the Paleo-type recipes. (The Paleo diet minimizes grain intake.) It's enlightening that more people are searching for "outside-of-the-box" grains besides wheat and rice. Popular searches included quinoa, chia, and barley. All three of these grains have great nutritional profiles, especially when you compare them to the processed white grains that are so popular in the U.S.
On a side note, I love that Sriracha hot sauce made it to the "up and coming" list - I'm a sucker for Sriracha. I put that stuff on everything.
What food trend do you think is here to stay? What do you think is on the rise?
-By Heather Neal
For 21 easy Paleo-friendly recipes to kickstart your diet, visit Babble!
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