What is Paleo?
- Grass-produced meats
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
The Paleo diet has become increasingly popular as more and more people discover the amazing health benefits that come from eating an ancestral diet based on real, whole, unprocessed foods.
The Paleo diet consists mainly of plenty of organic vegetables, locally raised meat, eggs, seafood and some fruit and nuts. Think of what our ancestors would eat before we had grocery stores filled to the brim with anti-food products made to look like real food.
Significant research has shown that our modern diet is causing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Our food chain is broken. We no longer depend on small local farms to provide our food. We live in a culture that is rampant with highly processed and highly chemicalized foods. We depend on conglomerate farms to mass produce our vegetables, fruits and meats. So, even the foods considered healthy become a threat.
The Paleo approach to eating takes out the mass production of ingredients. It’s getting back, as close as we are able, to the way our ancestors ate as hunter/gatherers. It eliminates harmful, processed foods from your diet, it’s knowing about where your food comes from. It’s getting back to a local ecosystem for food. It’s taking back your health. It’s reading labels so you’re not fooled by a marketing spin on a buzz word, which all of our branding folks are becoming super hip to! The quality of your food, its source, is just as important as eliminating processed foods from your diet because, if you aren’t eating healthfully raised foods you are missing a very important piece to the Paleo puzzle.
- Higher protein intake – Protein comprises 15 % of the calories in the average western diet, which is considerably lower than the average values of 19-35 % found in hunter-gatherer diets. Meat, seafood, and other animal products represent the staple foods of modern day Paleo diets.
- Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index – Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables represent the main carbohydrate source and will provide for 35-45 % of your daily calories. Almost all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.
- Higher fiber intake – Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what we’re told, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more than refined grains.
- Moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats – It is not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, but rather the type of fat. Cut the trans fats and the Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in your diet and increase the healthful monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats that were the mainstays of Stone Age diets. Recent large population studies known as meta analyses show that saturated fats have little or no adverse effects upon cardiovascular disease risk.
- Higher potassium and lower sodium intake – Unprocessed, fresh foods naturally contain 5 to 10 times more potassium than sodium, and Stone Age bodies were adapted to this ratio. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Low potassium is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke – the same problems linked to excessive dietary sodium. Today, the average American consumes about twice as much sodium as potassium.
- Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid – After digestion, all foods present either a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys. Acid producers are meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt. Alkaline-yielding foods are fruits and veggies. A lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, and increased risk for kidney stones, and may aggravate asthma and exercise-induced asthma.
- Higher intake of, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals – Whole grains are not a good substitute for lean meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not well absorbed by the body.