I’ve gotten a few requests from folks who wanted to know more about the Paleo Diet. Btw, I just learned that “diet” comes from the Latin “dieta” which means a lifestyle change not the crash diet fads we think “diet” usually means.
So let me start from the beginning in case you’re in the beginning of your own journey. I was looking for a way to eat and live that made more sense. I had been vegetarian before and that just made me feel super bloated and sad. I saw some friends who were doing Crossfit and they talked about being “Paleo”. I was intrigued by the idea because I like challenges. I had a sneaking suspicion I might be addicted to sugar. I had started reading a few articles that said wheat basically equals sugar. So I thought I would give being Paleo a shot. Luckily, I have a super supportive partner-in-crime who was willing to do something offbeat with me. And it changed my life. I didn’t lose 300 pounds, but I have such a healthier relationship with food now. I am more active and realize I enjoy things like hiking. learned to ride a bike. I cook everyday. Do I miss bread? Yeah I do and I will have a bit now and then. But I don’t miss the person I was. Maybe I didn’t lose 300 pounds, but I might have gone that way if I didn’t do something about it. I have lost weight, but I’ve gained so much. I gained knowledge. I gained control over what I eat (now if only I could figure out “how much” hahaha).
Anyway, enough of the story. Here’s the info:
If you want a more thorough idea of the Paleo/Primal Diet then by all means go here:
The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet – okay it explains Paleo through Lego Figurines. LEGOS. I mean…just…YES!!!
Golden Paleo Rule: Eat like a caveman otherwise known as a hunter-gatherer. Therefore, you eat only what you can hunt (meat) or gather (fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds).
Paleopino’s Top 5 Rules:
1. Eliminate added sugars
No high fructose corn syrup, beware fructose, sucrose, etc. This is one of the hardest rules for me to follow. Some Paleo/Primal folks believe that moderate amounts of “naturally occurring” sugars are okay. And occasionally, you’ll see me use things like maple syrup, honey, etc. But, generally,
2. Eliminate grains or legumes.
No wheat. No corn. No soybeans. No beans of any kind. If it grows on a plant and you can’t eat it raw- you can’t eat it. If you have to mill, or husk, or cook it- then its not allowed on the Paleo diet. But why can’t you eat beans? There are many reasons why one would not eat beans on a Paleo Diet. Beans, beans, the musical fruit… Haha. Again, remember the “golden Paleo rule”- you have to farm beans and you have to cook them before you eat them.
3. Eliminate processed foods
This also follows the rule for “clean eating” which is a little less strict. But if it comes out of a box- don’t eat it. If it has ingredients you can’t pronounce- don’t eat it.
I also take this rule 3a- eat WAAAAAAY LESS salt. Usually, this is taken care of by making your own food, but if you must have someone make your food for you- just beware of how much salt intake you’re having.
4. Add more healthy fats
Oh yes, this is the BIG BAD SCARY PALEO RULE that freaks people out. I say, you can’t eat *most* carbs- well you have to replace it with fat. Seriously. I think someone said before that it’s similar to zone. But it doesn’t mean you can have all the fries you want. Beware of trans-fats (vegetable oils and canola oils are NOT OKAY). You’ll see coconut oil a lot in Paleo recipes. Paleo folks love coconut oil. But, again, beware.
5. Be outside more and stop with the extreme cardio, mmkay?
Paleo and Primal is mostly based on the eating. But another part is exercise. Mark Sisson says, “lift heavy things”. Too much cardio causes injury and sometimes some folks don’t even lose weight doing only cardio. Myself, I like a mix of cardio and weight lifting. But feeling strong totally feels good.
BONUS SUCCESS TO THE MAX LEVEL UP RULE
6. Find what you liked in your old diet and try to find a substitute for it. Sometimes, there’s not a sub, if so- tough. Because you’re doing this because you want to be HEALTHY and HAPPY. Life isn’t easy and choosing to be healthy isn’t eat. But is it better? Yes. Yes it is. And there are surprisingly a lot of things you can do to eat Paleo and still aspects of what you used to eat.
The idea here is that sugar and wheat (which eventually transforms into sugar in your body) is bad and is responsible for why people are overweight, tired, and more easily gain weight. You can read more science here.
I’ve been reading more about genetic body types: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorphs. And I have figured out I’m more related to endomorphs. What does that mean? It means I’m more insulin sensitive and carbs are not my friend.
Books to check out:
Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – I think this is the easiest book to understand. Once you read this- you’re set. Also, Mark Sisson talks a lot about make things a habit. Try being Paleo/Primal for 28 days and see how it goes for you!
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – This is where the science gets DEEP. He starts talking about leptin and amino acids and such. It’s actually a pretty good background and I’m very much about knowing the science because knowledge is power.
Website- Primal Blueprint 101 Resources
You’ll often read on Paleo blogs “I used to eat SAD”. What is SAD? Standard American Diet. What I get from this is that Americans have become the poster children for bad eating. Americans pick convenient. They pick cheap. They pick quantity over quality. And while this may be true for a majority of Americans/unhealthy folks- this does not have to be the rule for you. If you’re going Paleo- you’re committing to a better way to eat and, ultimately, a better way of life. I think choosing a salad over a bowlful of pasta today means that in 10 years I won’t be on medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. So many people in my family eat that way and have a lot of health problems.
Is it always fun or easy to be Paleo? HECK NO. But is it worth it not to pay 1,232,786,577 for medical bills. HECK YEAH!