What’s this Paleo nonsense you speak of?
So ‘Paleo’ is actually short for Paleolithic. Refers to the Paleolithic era. Think like scary caveman stuff. You might remember that from high school history.
Random fact: The Paleolithic era was a period lasting around 2-2.5 million years. It ended about 10,000 years ago when farming pretty much started.
The Paleolithic era was an era of hunting, fishing, and the gathering of plant foods. The Paleo style of eating is based on what our ancient ancestors might likely have eaten before the invention of the McDonald’s drive thru. Paleo foods consist of meat, nuts and in season fruits and vegetables. It excludes certain foods such as dairy, legumes and anything processed (ie. found in a wrapper)
So what happened?
The problem is our bodies never adjusted to eating all the grains that we we’re now producing. Instead of loading up on meat, fruits and vegetables, we’ve become a species dependent upon grains. Things such as wonder bread, pasta, rice, corn, and so on.
Governments continue to recommend 6-8 servings of grains a day (adults, Canada), but people continue to get bigger and bigger. Something’s wrong here.
Fact: Close to 70% of us are overweight, just over 35% are considered obese, and those numbers keep climbing! What gives????
Jesus not another diet!
I hate the word diet. Can’t stand it. They don’t work. Period!
Oxford says A Diet: is a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
Most diets are stupid. They only work for the people selling them and lining their pockets with your hard-earned money. Geez do I come across as opinionated or what? It’s because I lost 100 lbs and I never followed no diet, took no pills or had some crazy surgery with medical terms I can’t even pronounce. You don’t need a diet to lose weight or improve your life. You need a lifestyle change. I like to refer to the Paleo diet as a type of lifestyle or style of eating. I’ve mentioned this in another post but CrossFit has done a fantastic job of putting the Paleo style of eating into perspective:
“In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect.”
That’s it. Pretty simple isn’t it. No counting calories. No entering your food in a computer or some table that calculates daily values ect. Just eating real delicious food. With Paleo you can eat what you want, when you want, and as much of it as you like. Eat a huge breakfast, skip lunch, then have dinner. Eat a small breakfast, two snacks, and then no dinner. Do whatever floats your boat or fits your hectic schedule. I like this kind of stress-free eating.
So what does Paleo food consist of?
Not an extensive list but here’s the basics:
- Oils such as olive and coconut
- Game meats
- Organ meats
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach ect.
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Nuts (preferably raw and not salted and flavored)
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut
- Tubers in moderation such as sweet potatoes and yams
- The big one: processed foods. Pretty much anything sold in a wrapper or a box.
- Added sugars such as soda, candy bars ect.
- Grains such as wheat, rye, barley (ie. toast, pasta, buns), oats, brown rice ect.
- Legumes such as peanuts, beans ect.
- Dairy such as milk, cottage cheese, yogurt ect.
So, no grains, no sugar, no processed foods. Got it? Many studies have shown that an incredible number of diseases and lifestyle issues can be reversed with these three simple changes.
No dairy…come again?
The no dairy is usually a big surprise to people looking into the Paleo style of eating. Dairy is inflammatory. Without going all science on you a lot of us in this world have some form of lactose intolerance. Not everyone but a lot of people do. Either you can’t have it altogether or it gives you some form of discomfort. As with grains, legumes and others, our bodies weren’t designed for massive dairy consumption.
No other animal in the entire world still drinks milk beyond infancy.
Think about that. Our ancient ancestors consumed milk as babies and then that was it. Plus there wasn’t too many cows to milk at the time either!
Well there has to be some scientific reason why this style of eating is better than what we were brought up to believe. The big engine driving the Paleo movement is the belief that our current diets might be the reason for modern health problems. Stuff like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and mental illness. Doctors, scientists, and researchers are starting to come around to the benefits of Paleo.
More and more people are adopting the Paleo style of eating. They are reporting significant improvements in their general health, body composition, and energy levels. Lucky for you I’m not good at explaining science stuff. But these guys are. They have years of experience and lots of lower case and upper case letters behind their names. These guys are a great place to learn about the science behind the paleo style of eating and most of them include lots of simple recipes too. These guys have done extensive research over the years and have interviewed countless professionals. If you have the time give their websites a look.
Dr. William Davis (although not a strict Paleo advocate, this cardiologist is very passionate about eliminating grains and other forms of processed foods from your diet. He has hundreds of patients that are living better lives because of his eating philosophies. Plus he’s one of those real doctors)
A quick google search and you will find tons of website’s, articles, companies ect that are against this style of eating. It’s because the Paleo eating style goes against the grain. See what I did there? Against the grain? Okay bad joke moving on it goes against conventional wisdom. The food industry hates this style of eating. Just think about it. If everyone would start eating more meats and vegetables and dump all the processed foods, say goodbye to companies like Nestle, General Mills, Kellogg’s and PepsiCo. By the way these named companies are some of the largest and most profitable food companies in the world. They pay lots of money to make people believe they should continue to consume their products.
One of the biggest Paleo counter arguments is that humans evolved and adapted. At the time meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables was all the was available to our ancient ancestors. As time went on, new ways of growing and producing foods were created and our bodies adapted. Another argument is that the cavemen had short lifespans. We live way longer now. This may be true but only because nowadays we don’t have to deal with the dangers of living back then.
If we could somehow go back in time and give those hunter gatherers access to modern technology and medicine, I bet their lifespan would surpass ours.
These are some of my favourite Paleo blogs packed with awesome delicious recipes. These all have free recipes and lots of information so go ahead and give them a try:
If you’d like to expand your Paleo palate these are some of my favourite Paleo cookbooks and are worth every penny:
So what’s Joe’s take on Paleo?
So I tried to keep this article as unbiased as possible, but I just can’t help myself. I just can’t hide the fact that this type of eating works for my body. I’m not a 100% Paleo purest nor do I ever want to be. I’m of the 80% camp. With the lifestyle I lead it would be too hard to be 100% Paleo. Hey we’re all human. I do enjoy the occasional indulgence every now and then. I try my best to stick to Paleo foods but when faced with limited food options I try to make the best decisions possible.
For me Paleo isn’t just about the food I eat, it’s about how it makes me feel. I started noticing benefits almost immediately when I started eating this way. I won’t go into too much detail about the personal benefits I’ve experience since switching to Paleo. This article isn’t about me but I’ll save that for another post. Regardless of whether grains should be vilified, I love this style of eating because I know it WORKS. I know people who have lost incredible amounts of weight and changed their lives because of it.
So how about it? Feel like trying it out for 2 weeks? Hell you don’t even need to spend any additional money. Visit one of the FREE websites I’ve listed above. Some of them even include free meal plans and shopping lists. How much easier can it get? Hell, I don’t even think you’ll need to wait 2 weeks before you start noticing the benefits of eating Paleo!!!
Regardless of how you feel about grains, we can all agree that eating more natural foods and less processed foods is better for you. I hope you found this article interesting and are motivated to give Paleo a try.
Anyone out here love or hate Paleo? Swear by it? Did I offend anyone? I respect everyone’s opinion. Comments, good and bad are always welcomed and appreciated.
Keep the blue side up.
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