I have been interested in different ways of eating and diets for years now. Most of the motivation has started with weight loss but it has also now morphed into a desire to live more healthfully. Why abuse your body and feel awful when you can nourish it and feel great? This search has brought me through vegetarianism, the Atkins diet, the Abs diet, Weight Watchers, and others. I’ve never felt at ease with any of these. In August or September of 2011, I really began investigating the Paleo diet. Here is what I found…
So what is Paleo exactly? Yes, at its roots, it’s a way of eating based on the way our ancestors would have eaten not hundreds but thousands of years ago. During the Paleolithic era, these people were called hunter gatherers. These people lived well before the dawn of agriculture. Their food came the game they hunted and the plants they collected. There were no added sugars, no breads as we know them today, no wheat, and no dairy.
These are the building blocks for what is now called the Paleo diet. I hate to call it a diet because you don’t have to eat this way for the sole purpose of losing weight. I promise you if you simply try eating this way, you will simply feel better. Weight loss if often a great byproduct. So, let’s spell this out. The below is the strict definition of Paleo and it is how I would apply the diet for at least the first 30 days.
- · Eating meat such as chicken, beef, pork, deep water wild caught fish, and shellfish.
- · Eating vegetables. The only vegetables to possibly avoid would be potatoes and sweet potatoes. These can be eaten but if your goal IS to lose weight or body fat, heavy exercise needs to be incorporated. Fruit is included in the diet but in extreme moderation. The fructose in fruit affects the body as any other sugar would. It will NOT aid well in your weight loss efforts if you eat it a lot or in large amounts.
- · Eating healthy fats. I know, we’ve been told that this is counter intuitive but I’m here to tell you IT’S NOT TRUE!!! Depriving your body of healthy fats can STALL weight loss. Adding them to your diet can INCREASE weight LOSS! More on this later. Healthy fats include avocado, coconut oil, animal fats (yep!), and olive oil.
PALEO IS NOT…
- · Eating added sugars (on a regular basis especially when you are trying to lose weight) OR artificial sweeteners. You thought that Splenda and Equal were safe. Nope!
- · Eating grains, wheat, or gluten of any kind. This means no bread as you currently know it. It also means no rice, quinoa, spelt, millet, or any other wheat alternative. More on why later.
- · Eating dairy. We all know many people are lactose intolerant. Did you know that many people are also allergic (to some degree) to dairy? Take dairy out of your diet for 30 days and reintroduce it. Let me know what happens. Our bodies were not designed to eat dairy from anything other than our mothers as a baby.
I will expand on each of these points in future posts. For more info, visit the following links. They go more into the science of each point too.
The term "Paleo Perfection" has been circulating for some time now. Those of you new to this lifestyle may not have heard of it but you will. Having been practicing this way of eating and living OFF AND ON for two years now, I've come to know exactly what this means and what it can create. Learning about a new way to take care of yourself can be exciting even thrilling. You want to shout it from the roof tops. You want to inform everyone around you especially those dealing with health concerns that leave them frustrated and confused. Believe me...I've been there. Ok sometimes I'm still there. It kills me when I feel I know some of the answers to help someone's suffering and I can't pass that along.
This is what this whole concept is about. As with any knowledge regarding the prevention of health issues (no matter who is delivering that info), it can't be given to someone who is not interested or ready. Just stop. It will do far more harm than good. Let those around you know that you are interested in this stuff, that you research/practice this stuff, and when they're ready they'll come to you. The Paleo Diet (just like any other diet) has become a sort of religion for many. They practice, they preach, they deliver the sermon, they uphold the religious leaders, and unfortunately they condemn. Though I may disagree with someone else's way of eating or lifestyle dogma, why fight them? I'll engage in a civil discussion with anyone but attacking is unnecessary.
With this said, there is now a term called the "Paleo Police." Can you believe it?? We say this about people who blast Paleo followers when they do, say, or eat something that strays from the "original Paleo template." Hello!! The template was created to begin this lifestyle...not to sustain it for all time you crazy beans! (lol note the legume ref)
The more I learn, the more I regret beginning with the name Frugal Paleo. Not because it's no longer what I believe in but only because of the crazy it drums up. However, I still love it so we'll see what happens. What has been your experience so far with Paleo and the dogma that often surrounds it? Are you new to the "diet" or a veteran?