Paleo Diet 101
The Paleo Diet takes concepts from our ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, and mixes it with modern scientific knowledge for a healthy and nutritious diet. The diet is meant to be a lifestyle. It has a huge following that has grown tremendously in the past decade. The Paleo movement had only a small close-knit following until a pair of books were published - The Paleo Solution, written by Robb Wolf, biochemist and The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, former athlete. The two spread the message of the Paleo diet and both books ended up on best-seller lists. There have been numerous successful books since, and with the internet and social media, information about and a following around the Paleo diet, spread across the globe.
Looking back on our ancestors, note that many of the diseases and health conditions we have today did not exist or rarely existed 10 millenniums ago. In the past century, the diabetes and obesity rate has skyrocketed. It seems as though the human race is more sick now than ever. Our health issues are often related to lifestyles and dietary changes. Factors such as the launch of marketable refined, packaged and sugary foods, incorrect dietary guidelines, mass-scale farming and agriculture practices, chronic stress and a cubicle-bound way of life all contribute.
Following the Paleo diet helps us achieve quintessential health by teaching us the core principles that our ancestors went by - such as eating whole, unprocessed foods, exercising consistently, sleeping better and stressing less.
Learning from our Paleolithic era can help us thrive as a human race. Different foods affect different aspects of the body such as digestion, metabolism, systemic inflammation and insulin sensitivity and being mindful of these will give us longer, happier, healthier lives.
The Real Food Pyramid
The paleo diet emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed foods such as free-range poultry, wild fish, grass-fed meat, fruit, berries, nuts and seeds. The paleo diet is specifically designed to avoid foods such as legumes, grains, dairy and refined sugar. While instituting this type of lifestyle you will notice that it helps control insulin sensitivity, increases nutrient absorption, reduces inflammation and repairs gut health. Some people decide to start with the basic infrastructure and then gradually incorporate some rice, dairy and legumes back into their diet depending on how the individual reacts to them.
The Paleo Diet Is Not Just Meat
Some people believe that Paleo is all about meat. In fact, on the Paleo diet, you should consume the same amount of vegetables every day that a vegetarian would. This said, meat is suggested and the quality of the meat consumed is very important. When following this diet, you may also consume healthy dairy products such as butter, some cheeses and full-fat natural yogurt. Fermented dairy products, in particular, have many health benefits.
Paleo Is Not Always Low Carb
A Paleo diet is a healthy alternative to the modern diet, which is often high in carbohydrates and sugar. The Paleo diet eliminates grains and refined sugars, and focuses on eating healthy fats and proteins. This said, on the Paleo diet, you may still enjoy plenty of carbs from vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy. The average daily consumption of carbohydrates on the Paleo diet falls somewhere between 80-100 grams per day. The lower-carb or keto version is under 50 grams per day (that is net carbohydrates without the fiber) and the higher-carb version favored by active, lean individuals or pregnant women is between 100-150 grams. There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to carbohydrate intake on the Paleo diet. At the end of the day, it's all about finding what works best for you and your body.
Paleo is About Healthy Fats
For years, fat has been demonized by the nutritional science community. We have been told that fat is bad for us and that we should avoid it as much as possible. However, recent research has shown that fat is not the enemy it has been made out to be. In fact, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fat helps our bodies absorb vitamins and minerals, and it provides energy and safeguards our organs. The Paleo diet, which is based on the premise of eating like our ancestors did, is a great example of how fat can be part of a healthy diet.
The diet includes an abundance of healthy fats like olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, avocados, butter, ghee, fish oil, grass-fed meat, nuts and seeds. The diet promotes the consumption of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, seafood, fish oil, flaxseeds, pasture-fed chicken eggs, grass-fed meat. It also helps to decrease our intake of the more pro-inflammatory 0mega-6 fatty acids found in refined, seed-derived and manmade oils, grain-fed meat, and some nuts and seeds when consumed in excess. A healthier balance of these essential fatty acids helps to lower systemic inflammation, which is believed to be the culprit of many health issues and autoimmune disease.
Principles Of Paleo
Avoidance of toxins
The Paleo diet calls for reducing stress in your current lifestyle and managing the stress that comes your way. Certain foods, particularly refined sugars, can heighten anxiety levels and thus, by avoiding these, stress can be reduced.
A good night's sleep not only helps us to feel rested and alert during the day, but it also helps to regulate hormones like cortisol. When we don't get enough sleep, our cortisol levels tend to increase, which can lead to a number of problems including weight gain, increased appetite and decreased productivity. By getting enough quality sleep, we can help to keep our cortisol levels in check and avoid these negative effects.
Many people are aware of the Paleo diet and the health benefits that can come from eating like our ancestors. What many people don't realize, however, is that paleo lifestyle also prescribes 8 hours of sleep in a completely dark room. This may not always be achievable, but it makes a big difference to your health and wellbeing. Prioritizing sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise. Fatty acids are essential for good health, and getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to make sure your body can properly absorb them. In addition, sleeping in a dark room helps to reset your body's natural circadian rhythm, which can help improve your mood and overall energy levels.
Another key component of the Paleo diet is regular physical activity. This is because our ancestors were constantly on the move, hunting and gathering food. Today, we can mimic this by engaging in regular exercise, such as walking, hiking and weight lifting. Interval training is also a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your fitness.
Following a Paleo diet is one of the best ways to avoid toxins and promote overall health. The diet focuses on eating healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. This allows the body to get the nutrients it needs while avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants. Every body is so different, so taking the time to discover what works for you is so important. The AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) diet is actually a specific form of the Paleo diet - and while restrictive, it is a great place to start to see what foods work for you. All of the baking mixes we create at EAT G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. are Paleo and AIP compliant - so you can still enjoy yummy stuff as you explore your health journey!