I will start with saying I am no expert. I have just started my journey and are simply documenting the process so this will be an account of what I understand so far.
Paleo is a way of eating that mirrors that of the Paleolithic people, those that were of the hunters and gatherers, about 10,000 B.C. These people did not have farms or processing plants and were healthier for it. They lived off of the land hunting and gathering food and getting lots of exercise while doing so. There can be many arguments about what they actually had access to. As an overall rule of thumb, I simply ask myself if someone from this time would/could have eaten this. If probably not, then it is a no-no for me too.
Paleo eating consists of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. Pretty easy really. I prefer to think of it this way rather than, “I cannot eat gluten, wheat, corn, dairy, grains, legumes or sugar.” One thing I loved about “The Maker’s Diet” and now the Paleo eating is it is about what your body needs to be healthy, not what you have to cut out to be skinnier. What a great way to start this new journey and way of thinking.
Paleo loves coconut, and so do our bodies. To cook with, it is best to use coconut oil, coconut butter, grass-fed butter and extra-virgin olive oil. We will go into why it is grass-fed here in a minute. These fats are healthy and better for you than our usual choices with a traditional American diet. Healthy fats are good. This is a little scary for those of you eating everything diet and full of artificial sweeteners trying to avoid all fat at all costs. Truth is, our body needs healthy fats and will function better with them.
Paleo also loves bacon…..and so do I!!! This is HUGE for my husband. We have scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast all the time so nothing has changed for us there. Nitrite and Nitrate-free is best but in our small town, I have yet to find one place in town that has it. This is very frustrating for my “all or nothing” way of going at my food life but I am hanging in there.
Lean meats are encouraged and grass-fed is preferred. Why? Well if you can’t eat grains because of them simply causing inflammation in the body, why would you eat something that ate those grains and was inflamed by them. You would still be getting grains. So, finding a farmer who grass-feeds is top choice or ordering online is definitely an option. ( I will be adding a source for this to my “Things I Recommend” soon.)
Eating organic is always the best option. Sad thing is that the standards even for organic these days is not upheld to super high standards. So just do what you can to avoid any pesticides, hormones and preservatives and you will be doing your body a huge favor.
Grains and legumes are not your only source of fiber, contrary to what the commercials tell you about eating whole grain cereal so you will buy it for your kids. Vegetables are far more nutrient rich and supply the fiber you need to have a healthy digestive system without all the inflammation and love handles that come along with “whole grains”. Protein in meat is much more nutritious than legumes. Basically, contrary to what the government would have you think, you will not fall dead without those grains and legumes. In fact, you just might be healthy, thin and off your meds.
Fruit, well eat what you love and eat seasonal. Try to find local farmer’s markets to get the freshest produce available and clean it the best you can. It will taste so much better too. Shoot, start a garden if you so desire! This is one of my personal goals for sure. I think I will start with one thing at a time with my husband though. Afterall, we are only in week 3.
Herbs and spices are what make your food life enjoyable!!!! Use them all, grow them in your yard, experiment and enjoy. (Sea salt is preferred.)
The science behind how your body digests different foods, especially the ones you “can’t have” on Paleo, is just mind-blowing. I felt like an idiot reading all of it because I was doing that to my body everyday. I felt disgusting……but excited! I have the knowledge now that makes me understand why my body is not functioning great. I mean, are love handles, a big stomach and big thighs and arms really what I thought a body should look like. When you hear how our body digests sugars, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, etc…it will make more sense why your body looks like it does and why you feel like you do. I personally thought, “How has my body lasted this long? I can’t believe my liver and pancreas haven’t quit on me already.”
Now with knowledge, comes a conscious. I felt like an idiot first, then I felt like if I were to continue to feed my body this garbage our government deems as “food suitable for consumption”, I will be choosing to kill myself slowly with food. How could I eat that everyday knowing my insulin is going to spike and make my body go into crazy mode. I am not saying I will never have another grain of sugar, but eating a diet full of junk everyday is definitely no longer my choice. This brings me to a great read. I am learning so much from this book that I recommend it to anyone starting a Paleo lifestyle. I am still reading so it does not have to be something you finish before you start. But, BUY IT! “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf. The Kindle version can be purchased by clicking here.
Lastly, there are many forms of this eating lifestyle. While for some dairy is a major gut irritant, for others, on occasion is ok. So, adopting a 90% Paleo, 10% other way of eating is great for some while others adopt 80%-20% and others 95%-5%. This Paleo “community” is very big on doing what works for you. Listen to your body. Go clean for 30 days then ease certain foods in to allow your body to tell you what it likes and dislikes. This frankly lets you cut out all the fluff so that you can actually hear what your body is trying to say about one food type at a time.
Then, enjoy life, food and the way you feel!!