To some scientists and nutritionists, this is the food that our modern genetic code is built upon. This is the fuel to make our bodies and minds operate at optimal levels. Over the centuries the addition of grains, dairy and processed food has let to the rise of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity.
What foods don’t people on the paleo diet eat? They do not eat grains (rice, corn, wheat, flour, quinoa), dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), beans, white potatoes, processed sugars or any type of processed food.
What do they eat? Meat (chicken, fish, beef, pork) and fresh produce (berries, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, seeds, nuts, mushrooms).
Still confused on what is paleo and what is not? The best way to think of it is if you were stranded on an island, or lost in the wilderness, what would you eat to survive? You won’t have access to dairy or grains. But you will have wildlife and vegetation.
- Less bloating and inflammation
- Meals throughout the day and even energy levels
- More fruits and vegetables in your diet
- More healthy fats (which with exercise means you are using these fats for energy since the paleo diet combined with exercise will deplete fat stores)
- It can be hard to find fresh, healthy and/or organic food in some areas
- Requires time and meal planning (no more McDonald’s on the run)
- Eating a rich and balanced array of food to ensure proper nutrients
- May require more trips to the market for fresh foods
- Withdrawl. You will miss those carbs and sugars…for a little bit
My take on the paleo diet:
I personally took a 30 day paleo challenge in the summer of 2011and it was amazing. My body composition improved, I had even energy levels throughout the day, I was less moody, and my body looked and felt amazing. I’ve since then eaten a regular American diet. The fat crept back. My energy levels spike and crash all day and I look and feel embattled.
In late January 2012, I made the decision to go what I am calling “paleo lite” – I plan on sticking to the paleo diet for nearly 100 percent of what I eat. And if the occasion arises for a special treat, I will enjoy a moderate portion and move on. In today’s world, going 100 percent paleo is a true challenge. And I’m not about to tell my mom, grandma or friends who enjoy cooking I will never, ever try their dishes. Instead, I’ll have a little to enjoy their work, but not worry because my body has a steady supply of good nutrients (But I will warn you, if you stick to paleo hard core, you will actually lose the cravings and
taste for most of what we eat everyday. And your stomach may not quite enjoy it either).
And yes, I’ve gotten the stares and “what?” comments when I eat out. Chipotle – no rice please (I swear the woman behind me about had a fit). Deagan’s, my favorite neighborhood pub, no bun or cheese on the hamburger. Bottom line is you can still go out, but with modification and adjustment.
Interested in learning more? Check out the following websites or books (Well Fed is amazing and really breaks it down). They offer some great information, suggestions and recipes. If anything, I challenge you to try the paleo diet for four weeks and see how you feel and notice the difference how your body operates on real food verses processed food.