What is Paleo?
What exactly is the paleo diet? Many people ask that questions and I never know exactly how to answer except saying… No processed food, no grains, lots of veggies, lean meats, and some fruit and nuts. That’s the basics of it but here is a more in depth description I saw from some random website. (I copy/pasted all this so sorry oh’copywrite laws…)
The Paleo diet is eons old (although proponents would rather refer to it as a lifestyle, since the word “diet” has so many loaded connotations). It’s essentially all about eating the foods that have been available to humans for most of our evolutionary history: meats raised on their natural forage, seafood, eggs, fibrous vegetables and greens, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and some fruit — all things that would have been recognizable as food to our most primitive ancestors. It’s about “focusing your choices on real, whole foods that are more nutritionally dense and less detrimental to your health,” says Cain Credicott, Bend resident and author/publisher of Paleo Magazine.
Under the Paleo plan, you obviously must avoid sugar, processed foods and most conventional dairy products. But the plan also excludes all grains and legumes, which seems contrary to what you might think. Whole grains and legumes, such as beans, are supposed to be healthful, right? Well, Paleo proponents say that these foods are relatively new to the human species and that we are generally quite ill-suited to consume them. According to local author Nora Gedgaudas in “Primal Body, Primal Mind” (Healing Arts Press, 2011), “Grains and legumes contain phytic acid, which can result in mineral depletion and even severe deficiencies in some individuals who over-consume them. In addition, they contain antigenic substances such as gluten and lectins that trigger inflammatory states.” In other words, grains and legumes can irritate the gut (leaky gut syndrome) and cause a constant state of inflammation throughout the body, putting one at risk for many chronic illnesses.
Avoiding foods such as whole wheat, rice and soy is definitely the hardest part of the diet, but advocates say the benefits present themselves almost immediately. “I’ve been eating Paleo on and off for three years,” says Gregory Gourdet, executive chef at Departure and an avid marathoner. “When I tried it I felt like I got immediate results. I lost a lot of weight. I increased my muscle mass. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in physically.”
So there you go!!
p.s. The hardest part for me is quitting the sugar. The non bloated, feel good tummy has made it very easy to ditch pasta, bread, rice, and dairy, but sugar has been my rough patch. So I just try to do the best I can and if I screw up, then I just work harder the next day, either by eating super clean or working out a little more. But overall, I feel great, my workouts are better, my skin is soft and clear, and I look forward to what creative meal I can come up with or find next!