Paleo - What's That?

Paleo (pale -e -o) or Paleolithic is based on the caveman diet - sort of.  We are not going out hunting with a club or gathering other than with a shopping basket, but we do want to get back to the basics of eating unprocessed/minimally processed food.*

What do you eat on Paleo?  Lots of good things.  Whether your budget allows organic and pasture fed/finished meat sources or not, buy the freshest food your budget will allow of the following foods:
  • Protein sources - beef, chicken, pork (bacon too), seafood, fish and eggs
  • Vegetables - all kinds except corn and white potatoes (except as a treat occasionally) - green vegetables are especially good
  • Fruit - all kinds, though if you have a fructose intolerance you might want to limit the fruit to once a day
  • Beverages - water, of course, kombucha (I now make my own and will share how to do that in a future blog), coffee, tea
  • Oils/fats - butter (yes!), coconut oil, tallow, bacon fat, olive oil, nut oils, avocados - all good natural unprocessed or minimally processed fats
  • Baking - almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, dark chocolate
  • Sweeteners - maple syrup, honey, date sugar, dates, sulphate-free raisins, cranberries, and Stevia (the Paleo community is divided on this one).
  • Seeds/nuts - sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds and all nut butters without added sugar (read the label).  While seeds and nuts are a good source of fat, these are best eaten in small amounts as well.
What foods are not going to make you feel good?
  • Grains - the grains we have now in our stores do not remotely resemble the grains that were originally planted 10,000+ years ago.  Most grains have some form of gluten in them and, while everyone does not have celiac disease, a lot of people are gluten sensitive and don't know it, but their stomach and skin do.
  • Legumes - beans are a relatively "new" food and hard to digest for most people.  Hard to digest translates into inflammation.  Inflammation is responsible for all sorts of body/mind issues.
  • Bad fats/oils:  canola oil, safflower oil, peanut oil (peanuts are legumes) - all highly processed oils.
  • Sugar - cane, beet, artificial - Splenda, aspartame, malitol - any artificial sweetener is bad - if you need something sweet, use the more natural sweeteners.
  • Any and all processed foods - if read the label and it has a long list of chemicals and additives - step away!
OMG - does that mean I will never be able to have a drink or eat out again???  Nope, it does not mean that at all.  I believe that if you follow the Paleo lifestyle 90% of the time and then eat whatever you want (knowing you are going to feel crummy after!) 10% of the time, you are doing fine.  I started out probably being 75/25 and then found I didn't want the food that gave me stomach aches, mood swings, insomnia, rashes, bloating and fat, without much effort.  It may work for you too.

For the science behind why eating this way is better for your, I highly recommend Mark's Daily Apple - he explains the science really well and then tells you to make up your own mind, based on how you feel.  As far as I am concerned, that's good advice!

Another good source of information on all things Paleo is Robb Wolf, who wrote The Paleo Solution and a few other books. 

*I just want to remind you that I am not a medical professional, all my information is based on reading every out there on the Paleo lifestyle and what it has done for me.  Talk to your doctor, but listen to your body too.

If you like the concept but are sure what to eat to get started, see my menu tab for what I eat.

If you are looking for a complete list what up can and "can't" eat, try Ultimate Paleo Guide.

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