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What is the Paleo Diet

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Last Updated on April 12, 2021

WHAT IS THE PALEO DIET

 

So,  I’ve shared the many reasons why I decided to follow the Paleo Diet and some of the recipes that I’ve cooked up over the years but I think it would be good to break down what exactly what is the paleo diet.

Now, there are a couple of gurus who each have their own version of the diet.  Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf and Art de Vany are just a few of the names you will run across and it was Mark’s Daily Apple that lead me to this way of life.  I can’t recommend enough the book “The Primal Blueprint.” It literally changed my and my husband’s life for the better.   Anyhow, when it comes to any diet, I don’t think that it’s realistic to slap a generalization of rules on it.  There are very strict Paleo kids, there are Primal Kids and the even more lackadaisical.    However there are 3 main ideas that most acknowledge are part of the Paleo diet (follow is a different matter).

1.  Eat food the way mother nature created it.

If you strip away food to its basics, you will not finds foods like low-fat milk, canola oil or  corn sugar.  Without manufacturing processes these are foods that would not exist and are man-made foods.   Fats that occur naturally are a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.   You have to wonder why mother nature would create fats like saturated fats if they were so bad for us? Food for thought.

This rule also hearkens back to eating sustainably organically grown produce and grass-fed meats.  This is something that does not always work with people’s pocketbooks so it kinda smacks of elitism.   I say make do with what you can.   I still make room in our budget for these foods and quite frankly, most standard grocery store meats just don’t taste right anymore (check out favorite place to buy meat online in my Thrive Market review) (check out favorite place to buy meat online in my Thrive Market review).   Actually they don’t have a taste which is why I can see that so many people do not like certain types of meat.  Once you try pasture raised pork that was fed hazelnuts during their happy porky lives you’ll start scrimping on the clothing budget so you can eat it more often.

2.   No Grains, No Dairy, No Refined Sugar

Paleolithic man was not privy to these foods and like most hunters and gathers ate mixture of animal protein, plants and seeds.   Most people don’t know that corn is grain but it is so it’s  a no no food on this diet.    More no no foods  are legumes and soy.  The diet centers around protein, vegetables, low glycemic fruit, nuts/seed and fat.   The primal diet , which is what I follow, isn’t as strict on dairy (raw is preferred) and fat consumption.

So why no grains? Grains contain gluten and lectins. Gluten, most people are aware of the problems associated with,  but  Lectins are natural anti-nutrients and toxins that grains contain to help prevent themselves from being consumed.    They wreck havoc on your digestive track.

So why no dairy?  Imagine, you’re out on the hunt and before you and your tribe kills the game that will feed everyone for month you milk it.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense right?  Dairy wasn’t consumed during this period so it often falls into a no no food although not every source of dairy is equal.  I drink raw dairy but I would never touch a drop of raw milk of it was produced by large factory farms.  Raw, grass-fed, unpasteurized milk is considered the way to go if you consume it on the diet.

 

3.  Sometimes Low Carb

I try to eat lower carb because I have some extra weight to shed but the Paleo diet is not necessarily a low carb diet.    You could eat sweet potatoes, bananas and peaches until you were blue in the face if you felt like it.   You might hear some grumblings about insulin response but if you feel great eating higher carb do what you go to do.

 

I hope that answers some your questions about what is the Paleo diet.  If you would like to add something or have a question please leave it below.   Another helpful e-book I’ve found for those just starting the journey is the “3 Phase Paleo” so check it out.

 

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

That was a really good explanation about it. I'm sure it would be good to remove processed foods from my diet as well, but I'm not that strong!

Louise

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

Hi Kelly, it's great that you broke Paleo down into something understandable for everyone. There's so much misinformation about Paleo out there that it's refreshing to read something good. I second you about Mark's Daily Apple - there are loads of definitive guides to everything Paleo!

Kelly Bejelly

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

Thank you Louise! I really appreciate your comment since you are part of the Paleo community. I just wanted to make sure I didn't make a mess of the description.

HilLesha

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

I honestly didn't heard anything about the paleo diet until I started visiting your blog, so I got curious one day and googled it. However, you explained it more thoroughly than the web-site I went to. It sounds like a really good diet, but the only thing is that I don't like meat that much (chicken every now and then, but I mostly eat meat alternatives) since it makes me sick for some reason.

Kelly Bejelly

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

Thank you Hilesha! I really appreciate your feedback.

Donna

Tuesday 4th of September 2012

Thanks for clarifying things! I'll definitely check out Mark's daily apple!

Jenn @therebelchick

Tuesday 4th of September 2012

I knew the basic reasoning behind Paleo - only natural food that cavemen had access too - but this really made the whole Paleo way of eating make more sense to me!

Kelly Bejelly

Wednesday 5th of September 2012

Thanks Jen :P I was trying to just create a simple answer to this question.