What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is called the “caveman diet” for a good reason. The underlying premise is that if a caveman didn’t eat it, neither should you.

Meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, veggies, and seeds get a big thumbs up, but you’ll have to give up pasta, cereal, and candy. The good news is that this means no calorie counting. The bad news is that it may be hard for you to give up food that you may be leaning on as a major part of your every day diet.

Maybe I shouldn’t say diet…it’s not really a “diet”. It’s just a way to eat that a lot of people seem to thrive on and may be something you’d like to try. So…why not?

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You may be thinking that this must be hard, and I won’t lie – it’s not easy, especially at first. But…nothing worth doing is easy, or at least, that’s what they say. You’ll have to leave old habits and unhealthy ways behind, and that can be challenging.

Watch this short video as an introduction to Paleo. (Its’ only 3 minutes.) :

Now, I’m not a scientist. Not even close. What I have noticed in our society is that, in general, we don’t move as much as we used to and we eat a lot more junk. Instead of filling up on meat, vegetables and seasonal fruits, we’ve are “dependent” upon grains – bread, pasta, rice, corn, and so on – as the base of our diet. Even our food pyramid recommends 6-11 servings of grains a day!

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The Paleo Diet does away with the big no-no. The thing almost all of us are addicted to: SUGAR. (Sugar found naturally in fruit is okay.) Sugar causes an energy spike and then crashes your system, as we’ve all experienced at one time or another. In addition, sugar turns to fat unless it’s used immediately. It just messes us all up!

Paleo is no grains, no sugar, no processed foods. Many studies have shown that an incredible number of diseases and lifestyle issues can be reversed with these three simple changes.

You may be wondering what to do when you drastically cut carbs? Won’t you be tired? Will you be okay? Is this healthy?

Well, first of all, you don’t NOT eat carbs. Veggies and fruit ARE carbs and you probably aren’t eating as many as you should. When you cut out all of the unnecessary carbs – pasta, rice, cereal, then your body can switch from burning carbs to burning fat. This is called ketogenesis and it’s awesome!

One of the big questions is about dairy. Some that eat paleo avoid it like the plague, and some include it without a problem. It’s up to you. If you don’t feel 100%, cut it out, and see how you feel. If you add it back in and start to feel bad, you may consider trying to do without it.

By now, you’re probably wondering what to eat at your next meal. Here’s a short list:

  • Meat – GRASS-FED*, not grain-fed. Grain causes the same problem in animals as they do in humans.
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey…things with wings that (try to) fly.
  • Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
  • Eggs – Look for omega-3 enriched cage free eggs.
  • Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
  • Fruits – Have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack, but don’t eat bags and bags of them.
  • Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs, so these are good for right after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels.

Now here’s a confession: I don’t eat like this ALL the time. I try to stay with it as much as I can, but I do enjoy a glass of wine and a pizza with friends. It’s okay to relax a bit every once in a while. As long as the majority of your meals are healthy and increase your level of health, not deplete it, you should be fine.

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Author: Jen Adair

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