WHAT IS PALEO AND WHY PALEO ?
As the name suggests, Paleo stands for Paleolithic. In other words it’s a the diet that the caveman would have been on. Philosophy behind Paleo is as simple as the cavemen that used to be on this diet… Just eat whatever mother nature intended you to eat. I am a strong believer of a human-nature connection. Nature offers us everything we need to stay active and healthy.There is no need for human made chemically enhanced, genetically modified food to keep us alive.
But, as much as it sounds great and simple, it is not. We are literally surrounded with disease manufacturing food which makes obtaining a real piece of healthy product very hard and expensive nowadays. And please, let’s not start on how we need all this space and food modification to keep people from being hungry. Will Allen already proved that abundance of healthy organically grown food is too threatening to the powers that control our food supply.
It’s also not manufacturing expenses that make many people budget super tight to afford organic/grass fed food. Let’s be real here, all that counts for big food manufacturers is the scale of food production which makes more and more money, with our well-being and health being secondary to it. Cooking practices, production practices, processing of our food- all these degrade the nutritional content of our daily diet, and have an influence on how we feel and look. That’s why Paleo ideology can be of such a benefit to us and make a huge difference to all negative effects of our modern diet.
HOW STRICT DOES PALEO HAVE TO BE ?
Again what seems to be simple, might not be so obvious for an average consumer. Paleo leaves out any food processed by a man. It means that food like potatoes, rice, or oats are out of the menu. Is strict approach necessary ? Even though you’ll find super strict followers, the diet itself is modernized and can’t be taken literally. Unless you don’t mind hunting your neighbour’s cat and eating grass. We are not all exactly can leave close to nature. Also, the so called strict followers many times contradict Paleo’s own theory.
What true Paleo followers seem to ignore, is that many of the fresh fruits and vegetables forming the basis of the Paleo Diet, were also created by the same agricultural process that produced cereal grains, so often crossed off the Paleo menu. Yes thanks to extensive program of genetic manipulations today’s grain barely resembles the original form it used to have, so it might be a good idea to leave some of them out. For example as much as corn can sound sweet and healthy, GMO obliterated any remnants of healthy corn from the face of the earth.
It might cross me out from the Paleo membership club, but I will still enjoy food like brown rice, oats or legumes . They can still have a lot of health benefits and as long as you are not affected by allergies and intolerances to some of the ingredients they contain, there’s nothing wrong with them. The whole story on caveman not eating legumes and unhealthy effects on human body is simply not true and debatable. The most important thing is that Paleo ideology seems to work. Even with a couple divergences it can be a healthy, balanced diet that does not require from you to count calories or restrict carbohydrates to lose weight.
WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN NOT EAT IN PALEO
You need to pick up the foods that resemble what they look like in nature. This means that you will primarily eat lean meat, fish, plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. You will need to pick meat that is lean, this diet is reliant on it. Today meat isn’t as lean as it used to be thousands years ago. Animals are given very little room to move and often are stuffed with unnatural modified food that results in fattier meat. So choose lean parts, It is important. The only dairy product in this diet is an egg. It wasn’t very easy for a caveman to grab a wild animal and extract milk from it. Neither Cavemen grew crops, they didn’t know how to process it. Salt was not on the menu and only sugar they had was honey. In other words, cereal grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and any food that is processed or very high in salt are No!!!
- Fish and Seafood
- Nuts and Seeds
- Healthy Fats and Oils
- SeaSalt and Spices
- Honey, Maple Syrop
- Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Processed Salt
- Vegetable Oils
- Trans Fats
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Highly Processed Foods
PROVEN HEALTH BENEFITS OF PALEO DIET
- Decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
- Increased immune function
- Improved general feeling of well being
- Improved lipid profiles
- Healthier gut flora
- Better absorption of nutrients from food
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Reduced allergies
- Improvements in respiratory problems such as asthma
- Increased and more stable energy levels
- Healthier looking hair and skin
- Increased mental alertness
- Improvements in those suffering depression or anxieties
- Decreased gas, bloating
- Sustained weight loss
- Muscle growth and increased fitness
- Improved glucose tolerance; increased insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin secretion
LET’S DEBUNK A COUPLE OF MISSUNDERSTANDINGS
Meat Dilemma: Sceptics will shout- risk of kidney disease, osteoporosis, cancer, l-carnitine linked to heart attacks. On the other hand you will read studies clearly citing reduction in the risk of cardiovascular conditions in groups that have been following Paleo diet. Conclusive research also indicate that cavemen did not suffer from kidney diseases, heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems (apart from blood loss:) This simple assumption can answer your meat dilemma.
Cavemen did not: Eat processed meat – Toss it in flower and deep fry it – Eat animals fed on genetically modified food, injected with steroids, hormones and antibiotics – Eat genetically modified animals etc. The list of practices associated with meat production goes on and on. Also, people associated with cardiovascular conditions and meat, usually lead sedentary life style and consume very little fibre, green vegetables and other healthy food that we need to eat along the meat to facilitate healthy absorption of nutrients from it. As I mentioned before this diet might need extra cost and effort to obtain healthy ingredients, including meat from healthily bred animals.
Calcium & Vitamin D Deficiency: Some People say that Paleo diet falls short on calcium and vitamin D because it excludes dairy products. Fish, leafy green veggies, wall nuts, hazel nuts, all can provide more than enough vitamin D and calcium. For milk lovers there are some great alternatives to milk, for example: hemp-milk. In fact calcium balance is more important here than amount of it. Processed food like soft drinks use the calcium in their digestion, so if you tend to eat or drink a lot of junk, you will need more calcium. By simply excluding the processed food from your diet, your calcium requirements will be much lower. Also, let’s not forget about sunlight which is the main source of vitamin D. Spend more time outdoor.
How Often Should You Eat In Paleo ?
Some followers suggest the hunter gatherer food consumption model in which you pick at and bite on food all day along, the others might prefer their meals with longer breaks between them. Intermittent fasting dietary scheduling could be a logical extension of Paleo. Caveman didn’t have a luxury of eating his/her meals every two hours. There doesn’t seem to be any rules on this one. In my opinion it would really depend on kind of lifestyle and fitness goals, if you have any. For example for someone who is looking for fat loss and have high blood sugar levels, it could make sense to eat multiple small meals, 4 or 6 a day, this could reduce the insulin spikes, keep the blood sugar levels stable, and help lose fat. For body weight maintenance you can eat as often as you want. Athletes might have to eat within a few hours before training session and an hour or so after. They also might like their carbs to protein ratio 4:1 if the session is very intensive.