What the Heck Is the Paleovedic Diet
What the Heck Is the Paleovedic Diet?
You've surely heard of Paleo—the diet that shuns grains, legumes, dairy, and all refined processed junk in favor of foods that are more in line with what our ancestors ate (the real Paleo diet was super gross, if you were wondering.) And maybe you've heard of Ayurveda—a 5,000-year-old system of medicine from India, which categorizes everyone in to one of three "doshas," or mind-body types, which then guide you on what to eat. But what if these two old-school ways of eating shacked up and made a baby? Well, they did…
MeetThe Paleovedic Diet—a new book by integrative medicine physician Akil Palanisamy, MD, that's being released this January. Sure, it sounds a little gimmicky, and my first assumption was that it was simply trying to ride the coattails of Paleo. But after chatting with the author, this way of eating makes some serious sense. Here's why:
1. It's way more personalized than Paleo.
As someone who follows a mostly Paleo diet, I've come to understand that it's more of a starting point than a realistic long-term way of eating—you have to tweak it based on what your body truly needs, which often requires some experimentation. And that's the basis of Palanisamy's book: "I was seeing patients who were following Paleo but doing themselves harm by eating foods that weren't right for their body type or following a diet excessively low in carbs," says Palanisamy. "That's when I started combining it with the principles of Ayurveda."
So, how exactly does Ayurveda complement Paleo? For each dosha—in the book, there's a checklist where you can figure out your dominant dosha based on physical and emotional characteristics—Palanisamy makes recommendations on how to tweak a Paleo style diet—what to add in and what to cut out—to meet your needs. For example, if you're a "vata," which is characterized by being light, cold, and a little bit frazzled or anxious, you'll want to eat warming and grounding foods such as meat, fats like ghee (a clarified butter), and spices such as ginger and turmeric.
MORE:Move Over, Paleo: The Pre-Paleo Diet is Here
2. The science is finally starting to catch up.
For both Paleo and Ayurveda, the research is finally beginning to catch up to the claims. Paleo diets are beginning to be linked to reduced inflammation, stabilized blood sugar, lower LDL cholesterol, reduced risk of diabetes, and improvement in symptoms for various autoimmune conditions; while Palanisamy says that studies are now beginning to show that the three doshas are associated with differences in specific genes, supporting the idea that altering your diet in a way that makes those genes more active or inactive can be health-promoting.
3. It focuses on more than just protein, fat, and carbs.
In the book, Palanisamy delves deep into nutrient-rich herbs, spices, and detoxifying fruits and veggies that are staples in Ayurvedic medicine, and which help reduce inflammation, warm or cool the body, and support the liver by improving its ability to rid the body of toxins—for example, beet greens happen to be one of Palanisamy's favorite detoxifying veggies. So, unlike Paleo, it's not simply a matter of avoiding refined carbs, added sugars, and other whole food groups and hoping for the best.
MORE:Seven Ways to Go Paleo on a Diet
4. It might be easier to stick to than plain ol' Paleo.
Because the Paleovedic diet is highly personalized and places a huge emphasis on maximizing intake of phytonutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), Palanisamy says it's more realistic for anyone to keep up with in the long-term compared to strict Paleo. And because it still eliminates a number of aggravating foods, it's similarly beneficial for people suffering from digestive and autoimmune disorders.
Bottom line:While I'm not saying this diet is the be-all and end-all of healthy eating, I find the premise pretty darn intriguing, and it might be worth a shot if you've yet to find a way of eating that makes you feel truly awesome.
Video: 87: The PaleoVedic Diet With Dr Akil Palanisamy (HIGHLIGHTS)
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