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By Ceara Comeau

Have you gone paleo?

When people hear the phrase "paleo diet," they think "the what diet?" or "Great. Another diet that is going to cost me way too much." Although the first response is the most common, the paleo diet is very beneficial and does not have to cost any more than buying normal groceries. Let's first start with what this strange diet is, and why it is so important.

The paleo diet is based on foods that early humans would have eaten, such as vegetables, meat, fish and fruit. This diet doesn't include grain, dairy or processed foods. At first, this might sound like it would be too much to handle when it comes to making a meal plan or even looking for food in the grocery store. But an increasing number of people are leaning towards this diet either fully or partially.

In fact, an abundance of recipes can be found for the paleo diet online – whether it be blog posts or major food websites – and a lot of the recipes come with a budget in mind. The paleo diet is helpful for people who have been diagnosed with Lyme's disease, as there is no refined sugar or yeast in this diet, which is what the disease reportedly feeds on. Other conditions that the diet has been reported to help are heart disease, blood pressure, inflammation and even acne.

Now that you know what the diet is, you may have another question: "I don't have any of the issues you just mentioned, so why should I try the paleo diet?" Great question! Do you like sugar? Of course! Everyone like a good chocolate chip cookie. But do you know what that sugar does to your body? A lot of recipes on the Internet or even in cookbooks require ingredients that contain processed sugar. Natural sugar from fruit is full of nutrients that our bodies need. But processed sugar, when it enters the body, is separated from its nutrients; only calories remain. When we eat this processed sugar, too much insulin in our bodies is released, which causes our blood sugar level to drop precipitously. That's when our bodies crave more sugar; it quickly becomes a vicious cycle of catering to our "sweet tooth." This type of sugar is eventually stored in our fat cells for later use. Leading health experts say that women only need about six teaspoons of sugar a day, and men about nine teaspoons of sugar a day. For context, there are approximately two teaspoons of sugar in a single cookie.

The paleo diet offers other ways of obtaining your daily sugar intake without gaining extra weight from refined sugar. Some recipes require different types of meat, and at times it might be on the expensive side depending on what someone's taste is. But most paleo recipes consist of meat that you would normally buy at the supermarket every week. It is completely feasible. Our ancestors did not have the luxuries we have now. Perhaps we should go back to our roots and see what all the hype was about.

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