I have been interested in different ways of eating and diets for years now. Most of the motivation has started with weight loss but it has also now morphed into a desire to live more healthfully. Why abuse your body and feel awful when you can nourish it and feel great? This search has brought me through vegetarianism, the Atkins diet, the Abs diet, Weight Watchers, and others. I’ve never felt at ease with any of these. In August or September of 2011, I really began investigating the Paleo diet. Here is what I found…
So what is Paleo exactly? Yes, at its roots, it’s a way of eating based on the way our ancestors would have eaten not hundreds but thousands of years ago. During the Paleolithic era, these people were called hunter gatherers. These people lived well before the dawn of agriculture. Their food came the game they hunted and the plants they collected. There were no added sugars, no breads as we know them today, no wheat, and no dairy.
These are the building blocks for what is now called the Paleo diet. I hate to call it a diet because you don’t have to eat this way for the sole purpose of losing weight. I promise you if you simply try eating this way, you will simply feel better. Weight loss if often a great byproduct. So, let’s spell this out. The below is the strict definition of Paleo and it is how I would apply the diet for at least the first 30 days.
· Eating meat such as chicken, beef, pork, deep water wild caught fish, and shellfish.
· Eating vegetables. The only vegetables to possibly avoid would be potatoes and sweet potatoes. These can be eaten but if your goal IS to lose weight or body fat, heavy exercise needs to be incorporated. Fruit is included in the diet but in extreme moderation. The fructose in fruit affects the body as any other sugar would. It will NOT aid well in your weight loss efforts if you eat it a lot or in large amounts.
· Eating healthy fats. I know, we’ve been told that this is counter intuitive but I’m here to tell you IT’S NOT TRUE!!! Depriving your body of healthy fats can STALL weight loss. Adding them to your diet can INCREASE weight LOSS! More on this later. Healthy fats include avocado, coconut oil, animal fats (yep!), and olive oil.
PALEO IS NOT…
· Eating added sugars (on a regular basis especially when you are trying to lose weight) OR artificial sweeteners. You thought that Splenda and Equal were safe. Nope!
· Eating grains, wheat, or gluten of any kind. This means no bread as you currently know it. It also means no rice, quinoa, spelt, millet, or any other wheat alternative. More on why later.
· Eating dairy. We all know many people are lactose intolerant. Did you know that many people are also allergic (to some degree) to dairy? Take dairy out of your diet for 30 days and reintroduce it. Let me know what happens. Our bodies were not designed to eat dairy from anything other than our mothers as a baby.
I will expand on each of these points in future posts. For more info, visit the following links. They go more into the science of each point too.