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What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet. There are two misunderstood ideas in those three little words.
First, no, you don’t have to find and eat dinosaur meat if you go on the Paleo diet, though you do have the right idea about how long this way of eating has been around.
And, it’s not a diet. Well, not in the way we usually think of a diet. In fact, eating according to this diet makes it so that you never, ever again have to “go on a diet” while still losing weight, gaining muscle and getting healthier overall. Rather than a diet, it is an eating lifestyle. A way to move out of eating to fill your stomach and into eating to nourish your body to increase health and vitality.
So, what is this Paleo non-diet? Well, remember when I said that if you were thinking “dinosaur” then you were in the right time range?
Simply put, the Paleo diet is the way of eating based on how our ancestors ate back when they were hunters and gatherers.
Before grains. Before processed food. Before GMO.
They ate meat, fish, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Because that is what there was to hunt and gather. Simple, fresh foods that gave their bodies energy to keep hunting and gathering. There was no pasta, cereal or gluten-free sourdough breads to slow them down or make them fat.
Now fast-forward 200,000 years to our modern society. Basically, in all of that time, our biological systems haven’t changed much. Our bodies still work at their best when they are fed whole foods that are high in nutrients.
Ever wondered why as a culture we are getting fatter and fatter?
Ever wonder why diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases are all on the rise?
Ever wonder why you eat and eat, but never feel satisfied?
Well, since our DNA today is still almost the same as our caveman ancestors’, our bodies aren’t capable of breaking down carbohydrates, so we end up storing them as fat, which of course, leads to obesity and diseases. And because we eat so much grain in our diet that our bodies can’t effectively use, we never quite get all of the nutrients we need to feel satisfied and have the energy we need.
So now that I have your attention, and you are starting to think that this Paleo non-diet might just be the thing, you may start wondering about the realities of it…like what you can eat and how tasty it will be.
Like most other lifestyle choices, there are many variations of Paleo “strictness” so you can try different things to see what works for you.
It’s really pretty easy: You feel amazingly healthy when you eat this, but feel lousy when you eat that? Then don’t eat that. Everyone is different, so you just need to find what works best for you.
But here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Fruits and Vegetables
Eggs, pastured preferred
Healthy oils (Olive, lard, macadamia, avocado, coconut, tallow)
All grains – wheat, corn and quinoa
Legumes (including peanuts)
Refined vegetable oils
Candy / Processed Food
Full Fat Dairy, raw preferred
In simple terms the Paleo diet is an anti-inflammatory diet and, again, you are unique. While I have no reactions to raw dairy, I have issues when I eat too many nuts. Find what works for you and try to stick to these guidelines.