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Published on February 15, 2017

Dear Paleo Diet, it's over

Dear Paleo Diet,

It's over. And I'm sorry, but this time it really is you.

Don't get me wrong. It all started for the right reasons. I wanted to live a healthier life and you wanted to help. You were new and alluring, everything I thought I wanted in a diet, and at first it was magical. You got me to stop eating junk food. I started drinking more water, and you even taught me to enjoy fruits and vegetables again. I've also started exercising regularly and for that I thank you. I admit I felt better for a while and lost weight while we were together. But now that we've had some space, I'm starting to realize it was just a short-term love affair.

The veil has been lifted, Paleo. I thought it was me who couldn't stay true to you, but I'm starting to realize that's not the case.

I promised myself I wouldn't bring this up and I should really just end it here, but now I have to ask—when exactly in our caveman past did we eat fudge? When would cavemen have had regular access to the ingredients required to make said fudge? Maple syrup? Butter? Vanilla extract? Cocoa powder?

Think about it. A caveman, who quite literally spent his entire day trying to kill an antelope while trying to not get eaten by a bear, comes home defeated and empty-handed. And then, instead of eating the almonds his mate gathered earlier that day, he spends the next hour grinding them into almond flour so she can make him some paleo fudge…or paleo cookies…or paleo cinnamon roll coffee cake?

This is just silly, Paleo. Can we really call eating pizza, pasta and cinnamon roll coffee cake eating like our Paleolithic ancestors? Shouldn't we be hunting wild game, gathering wild berries and eating tree bark, grass and bugs?

And what exactly is a Paleo Diet anyway? There isn't one single food today that even closely resembles food that our cavemen ancestors ate. Not one. Our game and fish is different—our fruit and vegetables are different too. Most of the plant varieties available in Paleolithic times are now extinct. Our hunting and fishing methods have changed. Our cooking practices too. Our food has evolved. How could you even try to convince me that the convenience of buying food from the grocery store is the same thing?

I thought you were different, but you're just like all the others before you, Paleo, pretending to be something you're not. Paleo fudge is still fudge. Paleo cookies are still cookies. They may sound healthier, but they are no better than the original, and the original tastes better. So no, I don't want to be friends. I want you to pack your things and go. I can't be a part of it anymore. Your health halo is stifling me.

You think I'll be lonely without you? No, quite the opposite. I'm going to be free without you. I'm going to live the life I was meant to live: diet-free. No more diet rules, no more guilt. I'm going to eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied. I'm going to eat the foods that appeal to me in amounts determined by my need, not your impossible rules. I'm done with food confessions and diet penance. I'm over the unnecessary deprivation followed by relentless cravings and uncontrollable binges. I'm going to make the choices I want to make from here on out because I'm in charge of my future now, not you. I can't even wait!

I'm sure you'll see it soon. We were never right for each other. You were just another fraud—err…fad. So, Paleo, it's over!

We're done.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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