What is Paleo?
The Paleolithic (Paleo for short) diet takes us back to the foods of our primal ancestors. If you think back to Paleolithic times when humans were hunters and gatherers, what types of foods did people eat? Mostly meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Hunters and gatherers were around long before the agricultural revolution and domestication of animals. Therefore, their diet did not consist of grains, dairy, or sugar because these items were simply unavailable. Not only does the Paleo diet discourage grains, dairy, and sugar it also strongly supports high quality animal products and produce (no antibiotics, no hormones, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild caught, and organic).
Who is the Paleo Diet for?
Athletes – The Paleo Diet is a ketogenic diet. This means that it is a high protein, high fat, and low carbohydrate diet. This way of eating forces the body to burn fat rather than sugar for fuel. For someone looking to maintain or build muscle mass and lose body fat (“lean out”), Paleo may provide the perfect combination or protein for muscles and low carbohydrates to decrease fat mass. Many athletes that do Crossfit (a high intensity interval training and strength building program) find Paleo highly effective in boosting their performance.
High Blood Sugar – Because the Paleo diet is low in carbohydrate and high in protein and healthy fats it may benefit those looking to stabilize their blood sugar. Constant high blood sugars can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other detrimental long term effects on the body. A few symptoms of high blood sugar include constant sugar cravings, excessive thirst, irritability, tiredness, and headaches.
Food Allergies – Many people struggle to identify the foods that are negatively affecting them. If you complain of unknown bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headaches, skin conditions, aches and pains then the food you eat might be the culprit. By eliminating some of the major common food allergens (wheat, soy, corn, dairy), the Paleo diet may help you identify which foods are contributing to your symptoms.
Better Food Choices – The Paleo Diet’strict guidelines may help you in making better food choices. The variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds contribute to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals which have countless positive effects on the body. By eliminating grains and dairy from your diet you will automatically steer clear of poor food choices like deep-fried foods, pastries, candy, soda, ice cream and more!
What foods can I eat on the Paleo Diet?
PALEO FRIENDLY FOODS:
- Game meats – venison, elk, goat, moose, boar, ostrich, etc.
- Non-starchy Vegetables
- Nut Butters
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Butter (ideally ghee)
- Mineral/sparkling water
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Most condiments on the Paleo diet should be homemade as store-bought brands tend to have unwanted sugar and oil
The NO NO’s:
- Processed foods
- Processed meats
- Peanut, corn, soybean, safflower, or sunflower oil
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes and winter squashes have their time and place for Paleo athletes.
You will find that there are countless variations of the Paleo diet. Some individuals omit grains and sugar but continue eating dairy while others may incorporate potatoes into their diet for sustained energy during intense workouts. The best Paleo diet is the one that works for you.*
*Consult your physician or a registered dietitian before starting a Paleo diet.