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The Top 6 Reasons Why Paleo is so Popular

Jeremy Hendon | August 27

Popular10 years ago, mentioning that you were “Paleo” would have drawn more than a few blank stares.  Today, I’m much more likely to be barraged by an avalanche of…interesting…questions.

Seriously, more and more people at least know what Paleo is, and the popularity is growing even among celebrities.  Amazing books and podcasts are proliferating, like this book from Diane, this book from Melissa and Dallas, and this new podcast from Stacy, Matt, and Sarah.

In light of the growing popularity of the Paleo movement, I thought it was high time we take a serious look at the top 6 reasons why Paleo is growing so rapidly.  (In countdown fashion.)

6.     Paleo Dieters like being Trend-Setters

In case you haven’t heard, the Paleo diet is one of the biggest fads in modern health trends.  News and mainstream health outlets expertly keep on top of these trends.

30 years from now, we’ll all be talking about how cool we were to be Paleo when it was popular, much like people remember poodle skirts, pet rocks, and parachute pants.

Unfortunately, I came a little late to the party.  In my case, people had onto this fad for a couple million years before I decided it was the cool thing to do.

5.     The Shoes

VibramsMy fiancée couldn’t make it to the first couple days of the Ancestral Health Symposium, but she came up to meet me on the last day.  Her text to me upon getting to the venue:

“Where are you?  I see all the other people with Vibrams.”

How many other conferences have you been to where that would be a viable text?  (My Vibram-wearing feet were trying and failing to find any remaining guacamole…)

4.     We all HATE the taste of Sugar and Grains

YuckSometimes I get confused and think that I actually like the taste of cookies, cakes, pizza, and donuts.

However, every time I explain the Paleo diet to one of my non-Paleo friends, they quickly remind me that the reason they can’t go Paleo is because they like sugar and grains too much…

I always thank them for helping me remember that going Paleo was easier for me because I didn’t like sugar and grains as much as they do.  Seriously?

3.     Because Who Needs Modern Amenities?

Light BulbQuite often, one of my friends or colleagues will ask me why I want to live like a caveman.  Weren’t their lives pretty hard, and didn’t grains and agriculture in general make things a lot better?

In this case, I think my mistake was assuming that I could eat more like my ancestors without giving up things like modern medicine, electricity, and my Vibrams.

They’re right – we shouldn’t be able to eat Italian food unless we actually live in Italy and speak Italian.

2.     Nutrients are for Suckers

There’s a huge misconception in the Paleo community that eating fresh vegetables and pastured meat are somehow more nutritious than whole grains.  Richard Nikoley has been very guilty of this, and Mat Lalonde has this crazy theory that we shouldn’t look at the nutrients in raw grains just because we aren’t able to eat them that way.

Fortunately, the health experts at CNN are there to help us out.  They reminded me that “[the Paleo] diet eliminates all grains, including whole grains, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and heart healthy fiber, and foods such as beans, peanuts and sweet potatoes, all of which have numerous health-promoting qualities.”

Whew!  Glad I wasn’t fooled by Mat’s analysis of pretty much every food in the USDA database…

1.     People Love to Root for Underdogs

This may be the single biggest reason that the Paleo diet is popular.  After all, the Paleo Diet is the ultimate underdog.

Just think about it.  Humans have been trying (and apparently failing?) to live this way for almost 2.5 million years.  How many underdogs do you know who have been fighting for that long??

And to top it all off, the Paleo diet is literally the worst diet anyone could think of.  Thanks US News!!

How’s that for an underdog??