By Maddie Santiago
There are so many different diets and ways of eating today. With all these choices, have you ever wondered about going Paleo? The Paleo diet is based on the fact that humans are hunter-gatherers. What are humans supposed to eat? It is meant to be the most natural way of eating for a human being.
What do you eat on the Paleo diet?
Basically, if you can’t hunt or gather for it, you don’t eat it. This means no cereal grains or legumes like wheat, oats, barley, corn, rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, or black eyed peas. Cut out hydrogenated oils like margarine, soybean oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Added sugars and processed foods are not Paleo either. Other than butter, dairy should be avoided as well.
Paleo is meant to be the most natural for human beings. Think about it like this, cows are supposed to eat grass and they are much healthier when they do, but in today’s world they usually get fed corn because it’s a cheaper way to keep them fat. Is this what’s happening for humans too?! Just about everything in the grocery store is made out of corn, preservatives, and other added chemicals…
Focus on eating whole, real, natural foods! The Paleo diet consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts and animal proteins including red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, fish and shellfish. Paleo is a high-fat diet, so saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, and ghee (or clarified butter) are important. And don’t be afraid of eating fatty cuts of meat. This may seem contrary to a lot of health advice you hear. The truth is, you can live without dairy, but your body needs good fats to survive!
When it comes to eating meat, choosing meats from grass-fed and environmentally-conscious farms and opt for wild caught fish. Especially in America, there are no seasons at the grocery store. This isn’t very natural. Try to eat what’s in season and local when possible. Shopping at farmer’s markets can make this easier.
Also, eating small meals throughout the day isn’t necessary. Humans aren’t grazers! Eating healthy, nutritious foods in the Paleo diet will leave you feeling fuller longer and not so hungry all the time. So eat when you feel hungry and don’t worry if you skip a meal. Listen and be in tune with your body- do what feels most natural.
Paleo is more than a diet- it’s a lifestyle!
Being Paleo is all about being in tune with the earth. Eating local, seasonal and responsibly raised foods. Going outside and being with nature. Exercise is important too, but the Paleo way is different than traditional exercise. Avoid doing the same strenuous workout every day. Short and intense workouts are better, think back to the hunter gatherer days! Get out and take a hike, rock climb, and take the stairs. Do what you like. Live an active lifestyle, but don’t over-exercise. Listen to your body, if you feel tired then take a break and relax. Minimize stress and make sure to get enough sleep. Try going to sleep when it gets dark and waking up without an alarm, the more natural the better!
Paleo can help stabilize blood sugar, leave you feeling fuller longer, keep you energized, and detox your body. The high amount of anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. By following the Paleo diet, you eat only whole and natural foods, so you also cut out added chemicals, empty calories, preservatives, and processed “foods”.
Many diets are all or nothing, but Paleo can be catered to you. Some people use the 80/20 rule, eat 80% Paleo, but sometimes eat some potatoes and cheese. This is totally okay and you are still Paleo. To me, going Paleo is one of the most natural and healthy things you can do for your body. So why not try adding a Paleo meal to your rotation, there are some delicious recipes out there.