Paleo Diet Basics: Simple, Primitive, Effective
Let’s examine the diet around which our delicious product was originally designed: The Paleo Diet.
This diet is interesting for a few reasons, not the least of which being the origin of its name. The Paleolithic era of Earth’s history lends its name to the diet best known for going back in time, to an era in which canning, processing, and chemically fusing new foods was both unheard of and impossible. The Paleo diet gets its guidelines from the idea that our genetics favor a diet consistent with what cavemen would have eaten. CHOMPS is all about Paleo!
The diet is popular in fitness and nutrition circles because of its simplicity. It just makes sense, from a natural and biological perspective. The idea is that fast foods, and anything pumped out of a factory, are inherently in contrast with what your body is designed to eat. Cut out anything from your diet that you cannot imagine coming across in nature. Eat like a caveman! Processed foods and foods with added sugar are absolutely off limits. Every diet we want to tell you about is somewhat connected. The Paleo diet shares several similarities with the Whole30 diet, as well as the Keto diet. Like these diets, meat is a staple, and carbs are generally to be avoided.
Under a Paleo nutrition plan, avoid
- Cereal Grains
- Added Sugar
- Beans and Legumes
- Processed Foods
- Iodized Table Salt
The below foods are part of the Paleo diet
- Seeds and Grains
Some items on that list probably stood out a bit…
Let’s address those.
One of the advantages of the Paleo diet is that it is less restrictive than Whole30 or the Keto diet. You can eat any and all fruits and vegetables. They are all okay. This is in contrast with the keto diet, which restricts you from eating most fruits and some vegetables. While the Keto diet’s goal is to change the metabolic state of your body, by switching from carb-based to fat-based energy, Paleo only wants to give your existing metabolism better fuel.
Cutting out dairy is likely to be the toughest aspect of the diet for most of us.
We are used to adding cheese on top of practically everything as a culture. If we are ever visited by aliens, they will likely report to the mothership that our species worships cheese.
We even shred cheese on top of our salads! Don’t ruin a good thing. Just eat the salad. Most dressings and condiments are full of processed, empty calories. Once you can learn to eat the way that nature intended, you should start to see your body fat decrease, and your energy levels increase.
The relationship of the Paleo diet to fish is particularly interesting. Fish is, in general, Paleo and is in keeping with the diet. However, there are a few types of fish that live longer and accumulate high levels of mercury in their bloodstream. Some say to avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish for this reason. However, Paleo circles have recently begun to reexamine whether mercury in fish is really cause for concern.
There is a difference between a diet and a lifestyle.
Where the Whole30 program is clearly a short term reset, meant only to be followed for roughly a month, the Paleo program is a lifestyle with no end date. The benefits of following a diet of Paleo foods are tremendous.
For those seeking to lose weight, the Paleo diet is a great way to maintain strength and lean muscle, while reducing fat. The elimination of fast food and processed foods is a dramatic boon to the individual who follows this plan.
Blood glucose levels are also brought under control, as carbohydrates are kept to a minimum, while protein and healthy fats are prioritized. This is beneficial to controlling and avoiding diabetes.
Some who switch to the Paleo lifestyle also report that their quality of sleep improves. A possible reason for this effect is that many of the chemicals found in the foods we eat can override the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps the body send a signal to the brain that it is time for sleep. You don’t always need a prescription! Sometimes, you just need to live a cleaner lifestyle.
Let’s talk about how great it is to stop counting calories.
Portion control is obviously important. Everyone knows that eating 30 pounds of steak is just gratuitous. Let’s keep it within reason. The benefit to sticking to a Paleo diet plan is that you only need to worry about what you eat. You do not need to keep a running Excel document with days of the week and calorie counts and number of meals and fat content and good gosh we are falling asleep just talking about this. Maybe we need some grass-fed beef to recharge. Yawn.
Another benefit that is worth noting is the simplicity of the plan. While other diet plans want you to cut down on a particular vitamin or nutrient or chemical, the Paleo diet is very straightforward in its approach. There are essentially hard lines drawn in the food pyramid. One need only stick to the specific plants and animals on the list in order to reap the health benefits of eating Paleo.
The health benefits that have been reported by the Paleo community are both diverse and numerous.
The diet also addresses the problem of cravings, cheating and binging. Once followed correctly, Paleo nutrition leads to feeling fuller for longer. Foods that are rich in fat slow the metabolism, leading to hunger being satisfied, and adding more time between feeling like you need your next meal.
A great deal of the foods on the list are also anti-inflammatory, which helps negate the inflammatory effects of the diet that the average person follows today. One of the benefits thereof is the potential to avoid certain illness and injury. This is not the only health-and-wellness-related reason that so many people are switching to a Paleo diet. Certain antioxidants and phytonutrients are found in large quantities in the foods that are allowed under the Paleo diet. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding these substances and their disease-preventing properties.
The bottom line here is that a Big Mac is high in just about everything except nutrition. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to your food.
The Paleo diet is flexible and can be combined with several other dieting plans.
You can eat Paleo, while counting your macros. You can begin a Whole30 plan and add just a few extra restrictions to a Paleo diet to maximize the benefits in a one-month period. Just do yourself a favor and cut the cheese.
Your primitive body will thank you.