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What is Paleo really all about?
By now, you have probably heard of the Paleo diet. But do you really understand how it all works? I hear a lot of misconceptions about Paleo, and I wanted to clear some of those up.
Paleo Diet Definition and Key Components
Paleo is more than a diet. People talk about “eating Paleo,” But in reality, Paleo is not only a way to eat, but it’s also a way to live. Did you know that being Paleo means that you are dedicated to daily movement, too.
Paleo is somewhat based on the diet followed by our ancestors during the Paleolithic Era.
During that time, of course there were no cars or desk jobs. Whether you were hunting for meat or foraging for vegetables, if you wanted to eat, you had to be moving.
Daily exercise is one of the key components of Paleo, and one that is often ignored.
The part that everyone focuses on is the food. The eating plan itself is actually pretty simple.
The focus of the Paleo diet is not only clean eating.
It is also about clean water, daily movement, and eliminating many of the foods that are part of a standard American diet.
Eating whole foods is a big focus of the Paleo diet.
What to Include on Paleo
- leafy greens,
- fresh vegetables,
- nuts and seeds
- grass-fed beef
- free- range poultry
- wild-caught fish
- low carb fruits
- naturally fermented probiotic rich vegetables
A word on wild caught fish
We know that farm-raised fish create pollution. Fish do poop, after all, and when you have sea pens full of fish, you have fish waste. Because farm-raised fish are raised in close quarters, disease spreads quicker.
That means farm-raised fish is likely full of antibiotics by the time it reaches your table. The same is true of cows raised with common factory ranching methods.
By using food that is closer to what our ancestors ate, we are reducing those issues and putting healthier food into our bodies.
What to Avoid on Paleo
What to avoid on a paleo diet is very simple really. It's mainly these six categories:
- Most Dairy (except for butter)
- Processed Foods
- Refined Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
- Trans Fats and Vegetable Oils (like soy and canola)
The Paleo Diet Rules
There are eight basic ways that you reboot your lifestyle when you adopt Paleo.
- Give up refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Stop drinking caffeine.
- Abstain from alcohol.
- Most people don’t drink enough water, so you will need to increase your water intake, first to one liter per day and gradually to your own personal hydration level. Your pee color can be a good indicator of this. If you have a question check out ways to you know you are hydrated by Livestrong.
- You will need to reduce the frequency of dinners out; it can be challenging to find meals that fit the Paleo lifestyle at restaurants.
- Daily movement will need to be implemented into your life.
- Your sleep patterns will need to be adjusted.
- Finally, you will have to learn how to shop locally and seasonally.
All of these changes may seem overwhelming, but the important thing to remember is that you can transition to Paleo at your own pace.
Paleo Diet Benefits
Most of the food that is available to us at grocery stores is full of pesticides or antibiotics.
By using food that is obtained with more natural methods, we are not only fueling our body with better fuels, we are reducing our carbon footprint.
One of the components of Paleo that is often seen in a negative light is the fact that we give up many types of foods when we adopt the Paleo lifestyle.
While it is true that you give up refined sugar, most dairy, and caffeine, you will find that the health benefits far outweigh the foods that you’re missing out on.
In time, cravings will minimize, and you won’t miss those sugary treats.
Because it’s clean nutrition, you re-train your body and mind to use food for fuel, instead of consuming food for pleasure.
When you are eating food with the nutrition your body needs, your cravings for junk will start to decrease.
If you have strong emotional-food cravings then that is more of a food psychology issue and should be treated by a professional in that field.
Here are a few of the many benefits that have been reported with a Paleo Diet.
- Increased Energy
- Better Blood Sugar Regulation
- Higher Nutrition
- Weight Loss
- Brain Health (Healthy Balance and Source of Fats)
What is Paleo? Not Just Another Fad
Adopting the Paleo diet is a complete lifestyle overhaul. You’re changing how you shop, how you prepare and store food, what you buy, and how you move.
Because you’re making changes to your life at a very fundamental level, Paleo isn’t simply a fad diet like cabbage soup.
Say Bye-Bye to Old Habits
You won’t be perfectly following the diet tomorrow. It can be helpful to have a specific ritual to say “goodbye” to some foods or habits.
For your last cup of coffee with sugar, you could chose a quiet afternoon while the house was empty, so that you can enjoy that last cup, knowing that it was your last.
That is just one way. And it can work as long as you do not adopt the all or nothing or last binge before my "diet" mentality.
That knowledge and mindful experience, along with the idea that you will now be looking at food as fuel. Taking some of the focus from pleasure eating to eating for the best nutrition, may help to re-frame feelings about coffee and some other habits, as well.
Re-Frame Your Thinking
The real key word there is re-frame. When you change the way you think and truly adapt a clean lifestyle like Paleo it does not feel like a diet or deprivation and is sustainable long term.
At times, we all tend to think on a negative scale. I can't have coffee, or I have no time to workout. What if we all made a conscious effort to re-frame everything positively.
I am lucky that I have clean water to drink vs. I can't have caffeine. Or, I am so thankful that I have a job to pay my bills. I can take a walk at lunch to start with.
If you feel like you need some extra tips on working this lifestyle into your busy schedules and budgets, you will want to read our post on healthy meal prep for weight loss on a budget
Paleo Diet Results
The Paleo lifestyle, when done correctly, can be very rewarding for a variety of reasons. Not only does it teach you new methods of preparing and shopping for food, it rewires how your brain perceives food.
You will find that your brain adapts to food as fuel rather than a source of pleasure. This makes it easier to maintain the new lifestyle.
Weight loss results will be different for each person. Typically people will lose weight as they adjust to cleaner eating and more stable blood sugar.
That weight loss then levels off and it will slow down. Eventually you should reach a stable weight that is healthy for you.
So, now when someone asks you, what is Paleo, you can share what you know!
DISCLAIMER-What is Paleo :
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. IT IS BASED ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS. I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR AND WHAT IS WRITTEN SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY DISEASE OR ILLNESS. THE PRODUCT LINKS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE CONSTRUED AS MEDICATIONS OR TREATMENTS AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY SUPPLEMENTS, HERBAL PRODUCTS, OR STARTING ANY EXERCISE OR DIET PROGRAMS.