What is Paleo?
The Paleo (short for Paleolithic) Diet is a dietary lifestyle based on the ancestral human diet. Essentially, it focuses on whole foods like meat, vegetables, and fruits while avoiding the foods that were introduced into our diet relatively recently – grains, soy, legumes, and dairy. It also avoids processed foods like sugar and additives.
Many people – myself included – have benefitted greatly from switching to the Paleo diet. There are a ton of examples out there showing that the diet has helped to reverse instances of many disease. The diet also helps in weight loss, improving athletic performance, and getting better sleep. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel from a year ago. Basically – when you eat right, your body simply functions the way it’s supposed to function. It’s not a cure-all, but it is a gimmick-free way of eating and staying healthy.
Here is a Paleo diagram that really makes it easy to understand:
The paleo diet means eating foods that could be found in nature millions of years ago like meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. The foods are high in fats and proteins, low in carbohydrates and free of all the ingredients we can’t pronounce. It resembles the eating habits of our Paleolithic ancestors (the “hunters” and “gathers”), who if were able to avoid illness (due to the lack of modern medicine) lived very long and healthy lives.
- No processed foods – fast food, those things in boxes that have a long list of stuff we don’t know, anything that is not REAL food.
- No refined, artificial & added sugars – or really any sugar that isn’t already naturally in foods (honey & maple syrup can be used if needed)
- No grains – gluten = bad. If you want to bake opt for coconut flour and almond flour. Plenty in the visual recipe index.
- No legumes (yes that includes peanuts & anything soy)
- No white potatoes – they spike your insulin, but sweet potatoes are okay. Sweet Potatoes are NOT potatoes, they don’t even come from the same plant family! Interesting, right?
- Try to avoid dairy – use fermented or raw grass-fed dairy if needed
- No alcohol – although if you absolutely have to there are some “better” ones to consume
- No vegetable oils (that includes canola, peanut, soybean, corn, etc…)
- Yes to healthy fats – animal fat, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, tallow, nut oils, etc…
- Yes to grass fed meats, pastured free-range chicken/eggs, wild fish and fresh organic produce (find your local farmer’s market)
- Sleep! That’s important.
So you aren’t totally sold and you have questions? Check out these Paleo questions.