The Paleo diet’s popularity has grown in the 4-5 years, mostly because of the sudden awareness of its benefits, and the evident results. It has ushered in a new era of healthy eating like no other, and has woken up people’s desire for healthier eating and lifestyle.
This is a good thing seeing as the last 3 decades saw a huge growth in the number of processed foods and their subsequent consumption.
More people prefer processed, fast and junk foods to healthier options such as vegetables, fruits, home cooked meals and whole fiber foods. Many would prefer to order a pizza, stop by at the nearest McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts for their foods than spend time making their foods.
This is not surprising really seeing as those companies solve a major problem –time saving. But, the question is, is the convenience of the fast food worth the harm it does to your body in the medium and long term?
As you probably know, junk foods have been linked to everything from obesity to heart disease. Is this worth the time saved? This is an important question to ask in the face of a growing global epidemic, with fast foods at the center of it all.
Paleo diet provides a gamut of health benefits that fast foods cannot. So, if you’re looking to join the paleo “gang”, then this guide should provide you with all the information you’ll need to start.
The Paleo diet is a specific eating plan that mimics what our ancestors ate when all they had was fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts and meat. It’s called the caveman’s diet because it was all they had and what they ate that helped them stay strong, and lean.
Courtesy of this, it has become one of the best affordable weight loss diets available to the common man. That combined with its ability to keep you full for longer and suppress your appetite, means that you get to maintain your target weight after getting rid of the excess weight.
While it has been around for decades –initially called the Stone Age Diet by Walter Voegtlin- and further promoted and popularized by Dr. Loren Cordain, the paleo diet has gone on to help so many people enjoy slimmer bodies, pack on lean muscle and become the best physical versions of themselves.
Many adherents of the paleo diet routinely cite its flexibility and easy access to their target foods as one of the reasons it’s so easy to adopt. If you’re looking to lose weight sand eat healthier, paleo diet is one of the best diet plans to check out.
Paleo diet works well because these are the foods that our bodies were originally meant to eat. There’s a reason you eat processed foods and feel slower right after. That’s because our bodies aren’t built for processed foods. Hence, it requires a lot more “resources” to become digested. This is in contrast to paleo diet which fills you with energy, focus and mental clarity.
It’s difficult to be on a paleo diet plan and feel bloated, excessively full or have mental fog. These foods are designed to optimize our bodies’ functions and provide adequate nutrition to our organs, resulting in better health and little or no fat deposits.
Processed foods have been linked to a myriad of chronic diseases, including but not limited to heart disease, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, systemic inflammation and irritable bowel syndrome. Ditching processed foods for a paleo diet plan can do wonders for your health, correcting, and even reversing some of the damages done by those health conditions.
The Paleo diet is a primarily protein rich, low carb, high fat diet. That said, it still excludes some food sources like dairy products and legumes. Which is why there’s so much controversy about the diet.
Many nutritional experts believe you should eat a reasonable amount of legumes and some dairy few times a week. But with paleo diet, you would have to skip these foods because they tend to cause stomach upset in certain people –may be because of the lectins in legumes and lactose in dairy.
As stated earlier, the Paleo diet is rich in proteins and iron. In fact, the bulk of your meals will include proteins, whether plant or animal proteins.
Plant proteins are usually present in the form of seeds, nuts and grains, while animal is usually from wild caught fish and other seafood, free range chickens, beef and other meat sources.
Iron deficiency which affects about 25 percent of the world’s population. In the US, estimates have showed that 2% of American adult males, 9-12% of non-hispanic white women, 20% of black or Mexican-American women tend to have iron deficiencies.
A lack of this micronutrient leads to anemia, extreme fatigue and tiredness, brain fog, persistent dizziness and headaches, brittle nails, cold hands and feet among others. Interestingly, it appears people who are obese tend to have a shortage of iron too.
So, opting for a paleo diet plan does wonders for your iron levels too, thanks to the meat and fish. The same goes for protein which is crucial to your overall health. Proteins help with growth, tissue and cell regeneration, repairs injuries, builds muscle, aids healing and keeps your bones strong.
The more protein you eat, the less fat you’ll add, resulting in your body converting your current fat reserves into energy.
High blood sugar levels are usually a product of excessive carbohydrate or refined sugar intake. This is pretty common in the average American meal. The paleo diet on the other hand, focuses more on a low carb diet.
While carbs are not completely eliminated from your diet, there’s a limit to the kinds of carbs you can add to your diet. For instance, cereal grains are a definite no-no in the paleo diet.
As a result, you’re less likely to experience the blood sugar spikes that come from eating carbs like that. This, combined with the slow digesting high protein and fatty foods ensures that your blood sugar levels stay normal and stable.
Little wonder many diabetics are switching to the paleo diet instead of adhering to their regular doctor recommended diabetes diet. In fact, a recent study was carried out on 24 diabetic subjects.
One group was placed on the paleo diet for 2 weeks, while the second was placed on the conventional diabetes diet. At the end of the study, researchers found that the paleo diet group experienced improved and more stable blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity better than the second group placed on the traditional diabetes diet.
This means that it just might be one of the best diets for diabetics who aren’t getting any improvement while being on the conventional diabetes diet.
Anyway, while paleo diet does help normalize your blood sugar levels, the onus still lies on you to take good care of your health by being proactive. Eat healthy, workout, drink more water and cut out all the junk foods, drinks and sedentary lifestyle.
Since obesity is primarily caused by carbs and calories, it makes sense that once you start eating less calories, you will start shedding some of that excess weight. This is why paleo diet is effective.
The good news is that unlike other diets that require you to eat tasteless or downright nasty meals, this one doesn’t. Thankfully, there are so many recipes for delicious paleo diet meals that would have you forgetting all the carb loaded foods you used to eat.
Paleo diet helps you lose weight by providing you with healthy protein and fat rich alternatives that taste just as good, if not better.
With the proteins, fats, veggies and fruits, not only would your body start converting all excess fat into energy, these foods will further speed up the process, thanks to their metabolism revving properties.
This, combined with their high fiber content gets you full quickly and keeps you full for longer, which means you get to eat less food and less frequently. As a result, your weight loss will be accelerated and sustained.
Once this starts, the tissue building proteins will help you build firm, lean muscles. However, this is contingent on you working out, lifting weights and doing some cardio. If you don’t work out, you may lose weight, but those muscles won’t form themselves.
Inflammation is a natural byproduct of bodily activities and your immune system’s action. While it’s healthy in small bits and infrequently, it becomes a problem when it’s chronic.
This is because chronic inflammation has been linked to serious health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, joint pains and arthritis.
The food groups and types –mostly in the form of omega-3 sources, fruits and veggies- in your paleo diet are often rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
This way, your cells and organs can be consistently rejuvenated, while your body gets rid of free radicals more effectively and the inflammations reduced to a bare minimum.
Weight loss and stable blood sugar levels are easy and possible if you can control what you eat and when you eat. Paleo diet provides you with the opportunity to do both. For instance, it helps you with the best food types for your situation, and courtesy of the food types, you’re able to go longer in between meals.
As earlier stated, these foods are very rich in slow-digesting fibers and fat, which keep you feeling full for a lot longer than most processed foods would.
The proteins also tend to reduce the rate at which the body secretes ghrelin –the hormone that signals your brain that you’re hungry-, which means you don’t get hungry as often as you would have without the diet.
This combined with the fact that proteins can raise your metabolism and reduce how much calories you consume, ensures you never have to worry about eating more than you should or eating too much for that matter.
And unlike processed foods that digest very quickly and cause blood sugar spikes, the foods in paleo diet don’t. Their digestion rate is gradual and slow, which means you won’t get to feel too hungry. This way, even when you’re hungry, you won’t be famished and wanting to eat everything in sight.
The average processed food does substantial damage to your gut. It could be in the form of gut bacteria imbalance or adverse interactions with good gut bacteria, resulting in the bacteria and gut cells attacking one another.
A situation that triggers an immediate defense from the immune system, leading to various symptoms.
Paleo diet foods aid gut health, which is why many adopters report improved gut health, infrequent instances of irritable bowel syndrome, and fewer episodes of ulcerative colitis.
The paleo diet heals your gut, improves your well-being, increases the population of good gut bacteria, and aids the immune system.
The average American who eats processed foods is malnourished. Not in the third world sense, but in the sense that they don’t get adequate nutrition from their foods.
Sure, they eat and feel full, but that’s just about it. Critical nutrient, vitamins and minerals are completely lacking in the refined grains and junk foods, even when they are advertised as containing these.
With the paleo diet, you get a lot of nutrient rich foods that will provide the requisite amount of micro and macronutrients.
As a result, you’re bound to enjoy better health, increased productivity, fewer instances of mental fog, less reliance on stimulants and medications, better energy, as well as improved cognitive function.
For instance, eating more beef and steak will deliver more iron to your body, while chia seeds, flax seeds, and wild caught fish will deliver more omega-3s. With the paleo diet therefore, you will have your nutrient needs covered and taken care of.
As with all things, starting is often the most difficult thing to do. Most new adoptees struggle with the best foods to start with.
Since the difficult thing for many people is finding the best paleo foods possible, here’s a list of some of the best paleo foods you should eat on a daily basis. We’ve mentioned some of them before, but figured a more comprehensive list is in order:
A key aspect of successfully implementing the paleo diet is knowing what not to eat. This is just as important as knowing what to eat. So, skip foods like:
There you have it… everything you need to know to start the paleo diet. Let’s know if we missed anything in the comments and we’ll be sure to update this guide