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The Paleo Diet 101: What It Is And Why You Should Try It
When we think about a diet, we think about summer vacation or, maybe, wearing a nice bikini soon.
Also, a lot of times thoughts of dieting come to us somewhere at the beginning of the year. We all would like to start the new year strong and healthy. We all promise to ourselves, that we will nourish our body and do exercises right after the holidays pass.
Does it sound familiar to you?
Here we will look at one of the most popular diet – the Paleo Diet and what is the Paleo Diet about.
There are so many diets that you can follow. But one of the minuses for most of them is that they provide you with the temporary solution (e.g. weight loss).
Once you reached your goal (most of the times, sexy beach body), the diet instructions will not specify what should you do next. And most of the time you will come back to the same eating habits that you had prior to the dieting. And this ‘circle’ will continue once or even more frequently through the year.
So what is the Paleo Diet about and how is it is different from any other diet you have tried?
Why it gets more and more popular and a lot of people stick to it even when they reach their weight goals?
What makes this diet so special?
A Grasp Of The Paleo Diet
The word “Paleo” is short from “Paleolithic”. The paleo diet is sometimes referred to as “primal”, “grain-free”, “whole food” and “ancestral” diet (1). However, the name is not as important as the principles underlying the paleo diet:
- Eat whole foods and
- Avoid processed and refined foods.
The whole idea of the paleo diet is to follow the foods that our ancestors used to eat thousands of years ago. Of course, it does not mean, that we need to re-create the Stone Age environment in order for us to follow the diet.
What it means is that originally our bodies were designed to eat whole foods, meaning to eat foods in a form provided by nature. If the food is not in its natural form, our bodies simply have a hard time to digest it.
Processed foods – like grains, most of the pasteurized dairy products, factory-made seed oils (like canola, corn, soybean), refined or artificial sugar – passed through factory before it is actually can be consumed by us. Being processed most of the time the food loses its health benefits.
The processed food is definitely eatable but why should we eat it?
Foods To Eat & To Avoid
Instead, what should we eat in order for us to feel and look healthy (including, looking shaped)?
The paleo diet equips us with the certain guidelines regarding what food is recommended to eat and what food is better to avoid. Below is the list of foods that should be consumed every single day and foods that should be avoided (2).
Foods to Eat:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Healthy Fats
Foods to Avoid:
- Processed Foods
Understanding what we should and should not eat does not mean that we have to eliminate all the foods from the avoid list right away. Instead, a gradual decrease in the consumption of these foods, one at a time (for example, eliminating one food per week), will help to clean your body with minimum effort.
Does Eating Paleo Really Mean You’re Dieting?
The paleo diet becomes more and more popular in social media and on bookstore shelves due to the increase of people who started following the diet. But why the amount of the paleo diet followers increase in such progression?
The answer is simple. The paleo diet is not just a diet. It is a change in your whole mindset. The paleo diet helps you to re-assess what you are eating and how you are nourishing your body. It helps you to clean and energize your body.
Even if you are thinking to give it a try just because you heard that you will lose weight very fast being on it. It is totally fine. Give it a try and you will see that not only unwanted inches will be gone but your overall health will be improving.
Improve Your Health With The Paleo Diet
As mentioned earlier eating clean helps to decrease or even eliminate certain health conditions. Particularly, the paleo diet helps to improve digestion and stabilize blood sugar and here is how:
- Digestion. Did you know that our immune system depends on the health of the guts? Apparently, 60-80% of the immune system is within the gut. Therefore, if your digestive system is irritated, it sets the stage for autoimmune conditions and disrupted immune function. It can result in numerous conditions including seasonal allergies and a number of other inflammatory conditions (like eczema and psoriasis). Eliminating foods that cause inflammation and irritation, helps to heal the guts and promote overall health increase.
- Blood sugar. If your blood sugar is not balanced you are often tired, hungry and snacking every 2-3 hours, feeling weak and shaky. Consuming the right amount of protein, good carbs, and healthy fats will help you to maintain well-balanced blood sugar and empower you for the rest of the day.
Things To Remember About The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet definitely will improve your digestion system, stabilize your blood sugar, so you will feel more energized and happy. If you would like to know all the benefits the paleo diet offers, I recommend you to read this book.
However, the paleo diet guidelines are just guidelines and need to be adjusted based on your own needs.
Also, eating paleo does not mean to cut down on all the avoid food list. Following the paleo diet is more of an intuitive eating and learning to listen to your body’s needs.
It is occasionally acceptable to eat full-fat raw dairy, starchy veggies, and natural sugars. However, if you are looking to feel maximum health benefits, acting a strict paleo with only whole foods and minimum treats will be your best bet for success.
The first step to the healthy eating is to start reading labels. Once you understand what you are eating you can slowly start eliminating foods that do not provide you with any benefits (for example, sugar).
Eliminating certain foods does not need to be done all at once. Start with eliminating one group of foods at a time during one week and then move to the next one the following week.
I made my choice towards a healthy lifestyle, what about you?