First of all, what exactly is Paleo diet?
It is a nutritional approach that aims to keep us strong and healthy. It cuts down a diet full of toxins, excessive sugars and chemical preservatives.
Instead, building a healthy Paleo diet requires food which our early ancestors consumed; mainly consisting of meat, fruits and vegetables.
Also keep in mind that the ‘main goal’ of this diet is not to lose weight but to maintain a natural diet that corresponds that of the hunter gatherers of the past. This does not mean that losing weight is impossible if one desires to do so.
What not to eat?
Always remember, no sugars! But isn’t sugar natural?
Yes, it is but it loses its health benefits when it enters in our diet, in concentration or quantity that is not normally found in nature. Therefore, eliminate packaged sweets, soft drinks and juices. Even fruit juices in a box.
Also, most sweet things in nature like fruits come along with high fiber content, water, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. That’s the kind of sweet you should be consuming.
Dairy products are also out. Since we are following a diet consumed by our ancestor’s from way back – back to a time when they were just cavemen, it is believed by many that they did not drink milk beyond infancy.
They were hunter gatherers who did not lug cows along with them. In case you find it hard to cut down dairy, consider raw, full-fat or fermented products.
As with dairy products, it is strongly believed that their bodies were not built for grain consumption. Cut out grains and legumes completely.
Most grains contain lectin and gluten. They include wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, black eyed peas.
Let’s talk about gluten first.
Someone with gluten intolerance can develop various medical conditions over time. They may include: dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and more.
It is being said that more people are becoming intolerant towards it so many Paleo folks tend to stay away from it. As for lectin, they interfere with the repair of our damaged gastro intestinal tract and if not cooked properly can lead to nutritional deficiencies and immune reactions.
Do not forget to cut out all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly hydrogenated oils. This includes margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. Remember that the list is not limited to these only.
To sum it up, stay away from dairy, grains, processed food, sugars, legume, starches and alcohol – all the things the hunter gatherers did not have.
What to eat?
Before we begin, remember that in Paleo diet neither calorie counting nor portion control is encouraged.
To satisfy protein intake, one can have lean proteins.
They help in building up the muscles, bones and strong immune functions. Eat good amount of animal protein; red meat, poultry, eggs and organs like heart, liver and kidney.
It is preferred if you choose pasture-raised and grass-fed meat instead of grain-fed. It’s good if you learn how to cook meat in a broth and stocks.
This way you can cook with the bones. Do not shy away from the fatty cuts and make sure all proteins contain fat.
Be sure to take in saturated oils generously. Like clarified butter, beef tallow, lard and duck fats are good options.
You can also drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil over salads but do not cook them. Also look for monosaturated and Omega 3 fat as they reduce obesity, cancer, heart disease, cognitive decline.
Eat many raw or frozen vegetables. They can be either raw or cooked but not deep fried. Starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams are excellent source of non-toxic carbohydrates. These tubers are also good for right after a work out to replenish the glycogen levels, as they are high in calories.
Fruits and nuts:
As for the fruits, they are a great source of natural sugars in controlled amounts. But if you are trying not to gain weight then stay away from ones with high calories. The same goes for the nuts.
They are good for a snack but they are also high in calories.
On a general note, take moderate amount of fruits and nuts in the Paleo diet. Try eating fruits low on sugar and high in antioxidants like berries and nuts low in Omega 6 and polyunsaturated fat and high in Omega 3 like macadamia nuts.
In case of any autoimmune disorder, obesity or digestive issues try not to eat any nuts or fruits.
Easy Paleo Recipes
One more thing to keep in mind, always choose organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables. There’s a whole list of Paleo recipes you can try out through the Paleo Recipe Team (http://paleorecipeteam.com/cook-book.html).
Not a part of intake, but equally important.
No need to stick to the traditional three square meals per day. Eat only when you are hungry and do not stress about skipping a meal. The whole point of Paleo diet is to stay natural. So do not fret if you think you are losing your appetite.
Secondly, discipline yourself. It is very important that you go to bed on time and wake up early.
Make sure to get a good sleep of seven to eight hours. Also, do not eat right before going to bed. Your body needs to be able to digest well. So make sure the sleeping patterns are controlled as they will have a direct effect on your health.
Moreover, eliminate all stress factors.
There is no room for them! Mental as well as physical health goes side-by-side.
Spend some part of the day outdoors in the sun.
The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. This in turn is very important for calcium’s consumption in our bodies.
Lastly, do not exercise and over-burden yourself.
If you are aiming for weight control, then keep you sessions short and intense and build up your stamina gradually.
Otherwise you will just end up with fatigue and muscular pains. They do not go well with being fresh and natural.