What is Paleo, Anyway?

By on December 13, 2014
Some rights reserved by Martin Cathrae

Some rights reserved by Martin Cathrae

Talking to my dad is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. We discuss all that’s happened the past year, the things we’ve watched on television (this year was a big Breaking Bad year for both of us), the places I’ve traveled, and our running accomplishments. (We’re both avid runners: we discuss everything from shoe brands to our favorite running music.)

But when I mentioned Paleo diet to him, he wasn’t really sure about it. “What is Paleo, anyway?” was his question, his eyes narrowed.

So: I’m here to answer it. After all, people talk about Paleo so much these days with a laissez-faire attitude—like it’s just a fad diet, one that will be immediately replaced in the coming years with, I don’t know, a diet completely consisting of kale.

But it’s not. The Paleo diet is a lifestyle, rather. It consists of whole, natural foods that promote weight loss, graceful aging, and continued health through old age. In fact, people from all walks of life have turned to the Paleo diet to reverse serious diseases, like depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, and so many others.

Look to the following elements of the Paleo diet to answer the “What is Paleo?” question for good.

What is Paleo Element 1: The Paleo Diet Looks to Grass-Fed Meats, Fish, and Eggs for Adequate Protein Intake.

It’s essential that you intake enough natural, organic meats, fish, and eggs in order to build muscle and rev your metabolism. The Paleo diet turns to:

beef

chicken

turkey

lamb

eggs

sardines

tuna

salmon

shark

Note that the Paleo diet turns to hard evidence about red meat and refutes past-thought understanding of it. Red meat is actually good for you, and saturated fat does not contribute to creating saturated fat blockages in your bloodstream. (Many people believe that eating saturated fat builds saturated fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream, ultimately resulting in heart disease and heart attack. This is simply not true. In fact, blocked arteries are generally the result of too many carbohydrates and refined sugars.)

Further note that grass-fed beef actually contains about three times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Omega-3 fatty acids, also found in great formation in fish like salmon and tuna, is essential for your brain, heart, and lung development. It refutes Alzheimer’s and it can reverse the effects of heart disease.

What is Paleo Element 2: The Paleo Diet Turns to Vegetables and Fruits for enhanced nutrition.

There aren’t many vegetables or fruits NOT on the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet allows you to eat anything your ancient, Paleolithic ancestors ate back in the hunter-gatherer days, and that includes nearly everything—except super starchy vegetables, like potatoes. (Sorry, mashed potato lovers.)

Especially eat:

Brussels sprouts

broccoli

spinach

kale

carrots

zucchini

eggplant

onion

green pepper

red pepper

chili pepper

Try to limit starchier vegetables (that are still allowed) like sweet potatoes, yams, and beets.

Note further that fruits contain a good deal of fructose, which is a natural formation of sugar. Too much of it will ramp up your blood glucose levels and hinder your ability to lose weight.

What is Paleo Element 3: The Paleo Diet Turns to Nuts and Seeds for Heart Snacks and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Delicious nuts and seeds, like:

almonds

walnuts

pecans

macadamia nuts

sunflower seeds

pumpkin seeds

pine nuts

–are essential for the Paleo diet snacker. They are pulsing with good fats, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for brain and heart development. Make sure not to eat too many of them, of course, because nuts and seeds can be incredibly caloric.

But think about it! Seeds are ultimately poised to grow into an entire BEING! Therefore, they have all the nutrients they require to build into something grand. They can pass those nutrients on to you to make you stronger and healthier.

What is Paleo Element 4: The Paleo Diet Turns to Healthy Oils

For cooking and salad dressing, Paleo dieters utilize the following oils:

olive oil

walnut oil

macadamia oil

coconut oil

avocado oil

What is Paleo Element 5: The Paleo Dieter DOES NOT EAT The Following Foods

When on the Paleo diet, make sure to avoid the following foods. They’ve been the ultimate reason (in the years after that fateful day, the agricultural revolution) that our society has become obese; that our bodies are turning toward cancer and disease; and that we, as a world, have depleted into various mental diseases.

Grains, like quinoa and rice

dairy, like cheese, milk, and yogurt

legumes, like beans and peanuts

all processed foods

all refined sugars

all fast food

Did you know that back in 1960, only 10% of Americans were obese? In the years since then, that number has escalated. Now, one-third of all Americans are obese. What happened? The Paleo diet turns back to what we used to know about food. It brings better nutrition, greater strength for our muscles, and greater minerals to fuel brain health.

With the Paleo diet lifestyle, we can truly become the best versions of ourselves. We can lose weight. We can become more motivated. (Note that it’s been proven that eating healthier forces you to look at other aspects of your life and try harder for everything else, as well. Therefore, just choosing a healthy salad for lunch can motivate you to study harder after dinner or go to the gym.)

Essentially, this “What is Paleo?” question you’re asking is one of the best questions you can ask, ever. It opens a world of better health and enriched dietary comprehension.

If you need help kick-starting your Paleo diet, look to my 7-Day Diet Plan for assistance!

Meg

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About Megan White

Megan White is a Paleo diet food fanatic running around the world, searching for the most nutritional tasty treats in every country she can find. Follow her on her journey as she dodges sugar cravings, works to better her mind and body, and picks up some creative Paleo diet recipes along the way.

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