What Is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet, short for paleolithic diet, reflects the diet of early man. Things such as meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds are what can and should be consumed while participating in the paleo diet, while foods like pasta, cereal, and candy should be cut out of your diet. Things like calorie counting and watching portion size are a thing of the past, all that is required of you is to leave processed and sugary foods out of your diet and go natural, the goal is to essentially eat as close as we can to what our long-lost ancestors ate way, way back in the day.
For thousands of years humans managed their hunger through a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, bringing a variety of nuts, fruit, game meat and a variety of wild leafy greens. Within the past several centuries we have taken to the agricultural side of things and farming, in turn mainly consuming grain, corn, rice and so on. The change in the human diet has caused us to become less “healthy” in some people’s eyes as well as in many scientist’s and doctor’s eyes, with recent research and the current goal that many hold to become more like our ancestors it is no wonder that the paleolithic diet has become increasingly popular in recent decades.
What Are the Benefits of The Paleo Diet
If you are looking for a healthy lifestyle change, whether trying to lose weight, gain muscle or just feel “better”, then the paleo diet is right up your alley. Taking on maximum load workouts can be hard with the presence of fatty, sugary and processed foods in your diet, losing weight is just the same. It is necessary to take a step back and help your body feel good and look good, through eating well.
The first thing the paleo diet can do for you is cut out grains, these can be quite harmful to the digestive tract and are simply fillers. When humans consume an excessive amount of grains consistently, the body turns grains, that are made up of carbs, and makes the carbs into sugar. The sugar created by the grains is neither stored as fat or used as energy. Many experts believe that the main reason people are becoming increasingly overweight is due to the overconsumption of grains in our modern society. Overtime, grains have evolved to prevent themselves from being eaten by us by producing harmful lectins. The lectins present within grain are not healthy for our gastrointestinal tract and can cause serious harm, sometimes it may even trigger things like IBS.
If one decides to follow the paleo diet sugar will be completely eradicated from the diet, unless it is sugar that is naturally occurring in fruits in vegetables. Processed sugars are a huge no-no for someone looking to live a healthier lifestyle; sugar causes a massive increase in energy, abruptly causes a crash and turns to fat unless it is used immediately.
Long story short, the paleo diet is a way for us to go back to our roots and treat our gastrointestinal tract as well as our bodies the way they should be treated. Becoming paleo is no difficult feat, it takes cutting processed foods, sugars and grains, all of which can cause many health issues.
What Foods Can You Eat?
As mentioned before, when following the paleo diet, it is important to cut out all processed and sugary foods. Natural fats and sugars are a part of the paleo diet, those can come from a variety of sources, such as; fruits, vegetables, meats, seeds and nuts.
Different kinds of fruits such as pineapple, mango, strawberries, bananas and blackberries are all excellent sources of natural sugar as our bodies do need a balance of sugars, so our blood sugar does not get too low.
There are a variety of ways to prepare fruit, it doesn’t have to be a raw substance, it could very well be something used in a steak dish or sautéed with vegetables for a side dish. If you are attempting to lose weight remain cautious with fruit intake as they tend to be higher in calories!
Veggies are definitely a hit or miss with most, but they tend to be an excellent source of protein, iron and sugar, all of which are necessary to maintain a healthy balance within the body and create energy that lasts without the crash.
Vegetables could be used in salads, roasted in the oven, grilled or sautéed with onions and garlic. If you are in need of new veggies to spice up your paleo meals, go for brussels sprouts, artichokes, swiss chard or parsnips.
Grass-fed meat is a key component in the paleolithic diet. Yes, I said grass-fed, grain-fed and corn-fed meat defeat the purpose of eating paleo. When preparing meat, you can use a variety of veggies, even fruits to flavor it and spice it up. Using berries with venison is a great way to start, even making pork chops with fresh orange juice and slices. There are many different meat types, ranging from poultry (chicken, duck, hen, turkey, etc.) and beef to game meat like rabbit or venison.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds and pumpkin seeds all provide tons of vitamins, fats and minerals that boost your health. The vitamins and minerals present in most seeds and nuts work together to benefit your brain, your overall bodies appearance and most importantly your brain.
A serving size of nuts and seeds is about 1 ounce, this ounce of nuts could be used in dinner dishes or tossed in with dried fruit for a delicious trail mix.