A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE PALEO DIET
The Paleo Diet is an effort to eat like we used to back in the day…WAY back in the day. If a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you.
This means anything we could hunt or find – meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds. Sorry, the pasta, cereal, and candy will have to go!
You see, we don’t count calories.
We don’t like keeping track or obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient we’ve had. Not only do we hate counting calories, but we know that calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal – 400 calories of Doritos do NOT affect your body in the same way as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein. (who’d of thought?)
Fortunately, if you can expand your horizons and remove certain types of food from your diet, you can stop worrying about counting calories FOREVER. The great thing is it doesn’t require you to count a single calorie AND it allows you to eat as much as you want. Oh, and it will help you lose weight, build muscle, and get in the best shape of your life.
We know, it sounds like a another ‘diet’ ploy, but it’s actually quite legit. You see, tens of thousands of years ago, before Nike, McDonalds, and Jenny Craig, our ancient ancestors thrived as hunter-gatherers. Although it’s been a really long time, our genetics haven’t changed that much since then.
-The average Homo Sapien back then: tall, muscular, agile, athletic, and incredibly versatile.
-The average Homo Sapien now: overweight, out of shape, stressed out, unhappy, sleep deprived and dying from a myriad of preventable diseases.
So what the hell happened? Agriculture! A few thousand years ago humans discovered farming, the agricultural revolution took off, and we advanced from hunter-gatherers to farmers. We settled down, formed societies, and the human race progressed to what we are today.
The problem is, our bodies never adjusted properly to eating all the grains that we we’re now farming. As Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100 meter football field. The first 99.5 meters are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half a meter represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
So, instead of loading up on meat, vegetables and seasonal fruits, we’ve become a species “dependent” upon grains – bread, pasta, rice, corn, and so on. The government continues to recommend 6-11 servings of grains a day, and people continue to get fatter and fatter by the day.
66% of us are overweight, 33% are considered obese, and those numbers are only getting worse!
Clearly something’s not right. The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.
Okay, so if we cut out the grains, almost all processed foods, and dairy, you’re left with only things that occur naturally:
- Meat - GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. Grain causes the same problem in animals as they do in humans.
- Poultry - Chicken, duck, hen, turkey…things with wings that fly (or try to).
- Fish - Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
- Eggs - Look for Omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Vegetables - As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
- Oils - Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
- Fruits - Have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Nuts - High in calories, so they’re good for a snack, but don’t eat bags and bags of them.
- Tubers - Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs, so these are good for right after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels.
Steak with asparagus and sweet potato fries, grilled chicken salad, massive omelets that will fill you up for the whole morning, apples dipped in almond butter, and so on. Pick any of the things from that list, and eat as much as you want of them (with the noted exceptions). You’ll feel better and be healthier.