This week we have been speaking all about the lifestyle of Paleo. This blogpost contains a lot of the research you need to know about it. I would encourage you to spend the time reading it if you are interested in the diet. If you are not interested I would still encourage you to read it because then you will understand what it means when people say that are eating the paleo way.
My research comes from the book called: “Paleo for Beginners. Essentials To Get Started” (Chatham, 2013)
Here you go…
What is the Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet has become incredibly popular in the past few years, leading many people to assume that it’s a new way of eating. In reality, the Paleo diet has been around for almost forty years.
There are several versions of the Paleo diet around today; these versions generally differ in terms of how strictly you choose to follow the eating patterns of our Paleolithic ancestors (Paleo eating is known as eating like the cavemen used to).
What the paleo diet looks like
Basically your meats, eggs, and seafood make up the majority of your day’s calories, followed by fats from plant foods, fruits and vegetables, and then nuts and seeds. The Paleo diet is a high-protein/ low-carbohydrate diet.
What Is Not on Your Paleo Plate?
The Paleo diet is effective not only because of what you eat, but also because of what you don’t eat. Changing the components and proportions of your diet is only half the Paleo plan. The other half involves getting rid of foods that can slow your metabolism, encourage blood sugar problems and fat storage, and slow digestion. These eliminated foods include processed foods, alcohol, grains, legumes and sugar.
It is meant to decrease long-term health problems, which is not such a bad thing.
What Is on Your Paleo Plate?
1. Meats, Eggs and Seafood
This food group is where you will get most of your calories. All meat, fish, shellfish, mollusks and eggs are allowed, but there are some guidelines for choosing the right foods for the best results. The most important thing is that these foods are of high quality and are prepared with Paleo-approved ingredients.
2. Fats from plant sources
These sources include olives and olive oil, avocadoes (which are a fruit but serve as a fat), and nuts and seeds. Since butter is a dairy product and does not improve your heart health, it should be avoided when cooking or preparing foods; use pure olive oil for cooking and grape-seed oil or extra virgin olive oil for uncooked dressings.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds were a big part of the cavemen diet. All nuts are allowed, with the exception of peanuts, which are a legume. Seeds are allowed, including flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and others. If you are frightened by the idea of giving up pasta and rice, the good news is that quinoa is allowed. Not only is quinoa a seed, but it also makes a great substitute for rice, pasta, oats, barley and other grain foods.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
The fruits allowed on the Paleo diet are those that would have been readily available (rummaged) in the pre-agricultural era. These rummaged fruits include berries, such as cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Tree fruits are also a mainstay of the Paleo diet; they include citrus fruits, apples, peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and pears.
Some condiments are allowed, but they should be limited to those that do not contain sugar or any of the forbidden ingredients. Ketchup, for example, is not allowed; mustard, on the other hand, is made from seeds and usually does not contain added sugar. In general, try to rely on herbs and spices rather than condiments.
Allowed beverages include pure fruit and vegetable juices, but they should be unsweetened versions and consumed in moderation. Water should be your primary beverage. Tea and coffee are acceptable on the Paleo diet, as long as you use almond milk to lighten them, rather than dairy milk.
**I mentioned in the beginning that the Paleo diet varies slightly depending on how strict you want to be. For example, some people still choose to drink milk in their coffee and that is fine. Some people may choose to eat legumes once a week for example instead of completely eliminating them from their diet, and that is fine. It needs to work for your lifestyle and family.
How Does Paleo Work?
This is so important! You must only pursue a new lifestyle if you have done your research and believe in it.
You may be wondering: How can I lose weight if I am still eating meats, fats and high-carb fruits and veggies? The answer: The foods you will be eating on the Paleo diet are the ones that our bodies have been programmed to eat for tens of thousands of years. The foods you will be eliminating from your diet are foods we have only been eating for the last one percent of recorded human history; foods that, according to the Paleo diet, are ones that we are not (yet) genetically adapted to eat.
These “new” foods slow digestion and metabolism, wreak havoc with our hormones, and cause our bodies to both overeat and store excess fat. ~ Doesn’t this kind of information just make you want to eat differently?
If history serves as a guide, your body needs the good fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbs it gets from meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. But our bodies do not need modern grains, legumes or sugars. If you examine the health of the few cultures that still follow this type of diet, you will see that they are healthier, leaner and tend to live longer than those of us who eat diets heavy in sugar, grains and processed foods.
We love the paleo recipes that we have made so far, and find that the foods are so much richer in taste, nutrients and knowing that we are not consuming ingredients that are going to cause damage to our health later on in life brings us so much joy and happiness. Quite honestly though, when looking at the pictures, it is not exactly difficult to eat this food! It all looks so gorgeous! ~ Steph and Andrew