Paleo 101

The Paleo Diet: Creating your Paleo Plate

To Eat:

Meat: from animals that lived the way nature intended them to live: Grass-fed, free range organic poultry, wild caught fish and game meats.

Vegetables: lots of these, organic is always best.  Include roots and tubers, but load up on the greens.

Fruit: occasionally, unless you have a serious fat loss goal.

Nuts and Seeds: NOT peanuts (they are a legume)

Fats: Good Quality Please! Fatty fish, Grass-fed meats, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil… and again, nuts and seeds in moderation.  Quality over quantity.  Saturated Fat is ESSENTIAL to your survival, your hormones, and your waistline!

Not to Eat:

Grains: Wheat, rye, barley, oats and even gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, and corn.

Beans and Legumes: all beans, including peanuts, garbanzo beans, lentils, peas, etc.

Soy: which is a legume, but needs it’s own category due to the likelihood of indulgence and backwards nutritional philosophies out there. Some fermented soy may be considered safe, like miso, natto, gluten free Tamari Soy Sauce in moderate amounts.

Refined Sugars: includes artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

Vegetable Oils: Canola, Grapeseed, Safflower, Rapeseed, Soy, cottonseed oil

Dairy:  Eggs are NOT dairy (yay for those who tolerate eggs). note*: Sometimes dairy is included in “Primal” diets, by definition. However, as adults, we most likely do not digest or assimilate the dairy proteins well.

Processed food: Artificial additives and preservatives, food dyes, gums, “natural flavorings”, chemicals, especially sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose.

Why Wouldn’t We Eat That Anymore?

 According to research, pre-agricultural humans did not suffer from the modern diseases of the our advanced, civilized world such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, or the long list of autoimmune diseases. Recent studies have shown that the paleo diet and the implementation of the assumed lifestyle conditions of our ancestors (such as food choices, eating times, sleep habits and patterns, movement, rest, and exercise intensity) have resolved numerous diseases. The paleo lifestyle can be an effective answer for weight loss, overall health improvement, increasing longevity, and optimizing athletic performance.

And very importantly, It can also be an answer for people wanting to heal their bodies from leaky gut, digestive problems, skin disorders, blood sugar issues, and autoimmune diseases like celiac disease or Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune thyroid disease).

Personalizing Your Paleo Diet

Our very basic physiological makeup is the same, but we are still individually unique. Each person has personal preferences that fit their lifestyle and cultural background. It’s most important to apply the basics of the Paleo Diet template, and adjust according to your likes, needs, and nutritional requirements. The athlete will have a completely different diet from the sickly, aching Autoimmune patient who can barely get out of bed. 

These “variations” of the Paleo diet below are just ideas, to help you understand that Paleo isn’t a DIET, it’s a lifestyle approach to health and healing. An approach proven to work over and over again.

Here are a few variations that might appeal to you:

1) Low Carb Paleo: Great for those looking to lose weight, manage blood sugar, and reset their hormones.  Not a recommended to stay completely low carb for an extended period of time. Carbs from the appropriate sources every so often are healthy and will assist in avoiding the dreaded fat loss low carb plateau.

2) Primal or Lacto-paleo:  Simply put, it is adding dairy to your Paleo Template. Dairy sources are of utmost importance, raw and grass-fed sources are preferred and easiest to digest for those who choose to add dairy.  This goes for butter as well.  *Most Paleo diets include butter, even if they don’t add in the other dairy items to the diet.  Butter lacks many dairy proteins that cause digestive issues, and has many health benefits, if tolerated.  Do you tolerate it? Leave it out for 30 days, and test it back in to truly see if you do.

3) 80/20 Paleo: This is probably me. At LEAST 80% of my food is Paleo. 20% or less may include gluten-free treats that have grains, non organic/grass-fed meats, or any other combo of non-paleo foods for 20% of the time. I evolved to this 80/20 ONLY AFTER healing my leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, Autoimmunity issues, and thyroid troubles!

4) Paleo for Athletes:

A book I highly recommend if you are an athlete, or very active: Paleo Diets for Athletes, by Dr. Loren Cordain

 

I always recommend you STAY GLUTEN FREE NO MATTER WHAT type of diet you choose.

 

 References:

 

The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance (Revised & Updated Edition)

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