The paleo diet inspires images of cavemen on the hunt. But it’s not about dragging your meat home. Paleo is about a return to the roots of what your body needs. It’s a template on eating healthy and re-introducing the best food for your body.
The focus is on whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich food. It is about locally-sourced, grass-fed meat, and good oils such as coconut oil, full-fat butter, olive and avocado oils. It means fresh vegetables cooked or raw and high-starch vegetables such as sweet potato. All of these should be eaten in abundance to provide the basic, dense nutrients your body needs.
What aren’t you eating? Beans, processed foods, legumes, and dairy. This means getting rid of processed sugar and junk such as pop, neon orange cheese slices and peanut butter. Paleo is meant to eliminate what has slowly crept into eating habits.
The paleo diet removes high processed seed oils and legumes such as beans and peanuts. But it’s about moderation. Nuts and seeds can provide beneficial protein and and good fats, while fruit is a good source of natural sugar.
Many paleo eaters will start out strict and slowly integrate foods that can work for them over time. To start, eliminate all grains, all legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans), all soy products and dairy. Kick out sugar, all sugar, that means maple syrup and honey. After 30 days many paleo eaters will restart certain grains, and even try out some dark chocolate every once in a while.
While all paleo diets keep out dairy, legumes and restrict grain –– and grain products –– the philosophy of moderation over restriction can make the paleo diet a much easier and healthy lifestyle choice to maintain. Once you find the right balance recipes and eating schedules that work for you will fall into place.
Living paleo is a wholistic approach. Take a look at stressors in life. Follow natural body rhythms. Eat when you’re hungry and go to bed when it’s dark.
The focus is on local and natural. Find local sources of grass-fed, pasture raised meat and locally grown produce. It’s good for the local economy as well.
The paleo method can help with weight loss, but the back to basics approach is more about a long-term healthy eating habit.