You may have heard a lot about the Paleo diet. It’s one of the latest crazes, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy. It simply means it’s popular. While we work on fitness at Habitat Health and Fitness in Lakeland, FL, we also emphasize that you have to eat healthy if you want results. You can’t workout at the gym and then eat a whole cake topped with a quart of ice cream every day and expect to lose weight or be healthy at all. Let’s delve into what exactly a Paleo diet is and how it benefits or detracts from your health.
The Paleo diet is based on what man ate in the paleolithic period.
The Paleolithic period began about 2.6 million years ago to approximately 12,000 years ago. That was the period before farming and man was a hunter/gatherer. Consuming most grains didn’t exist, since there was no farming. Legumes and dairy also aren’t part of the diet, since man didn’t raise them. The whole premise of the diet is that the body made changes and evolved without the ability to digest those foods, so to be your healthiest and functioning at optimal level, you shouldn’t eat them either.
Consider the foods that are eliminated from the Paleo diet.
If grain is eliminated from the Paleo diet, then so are foods made with grain. Baked goods, pizza, donuts, bread and many snack foods. Sugar is a processed food, so anything with added sugar is also eliminated. So is oil. Highly processed foods are also eliminated, which makes the diet immediately healthier to eat. Rather than focus on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can. Animal meat is allowed, but the “whole animal” approach is encouraged. That means you eat organs, bone marrow and cartilage.
Vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruit are also part of the diet.
Put yourself into the mindset of what a hunter/gatherer might find as food. Bird eggs, meat and plants were all part of their diets. While oil isn’t part of the diet, foods that contain oils and natural fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds, are. Even though man didn’t ferment foods intentionally, some of them fermented naturally and man found they were okay to drink or eat. Fermented fruits and vegetables that are naturally fermented with no added sugar can be consumed. Food like kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are part of the Paleo diet.
- Unlike early man, you probably won’t be sucking the marrow out of bones, but making a bone broth is beneficial. Bone broth has a high amount of collagen, glycine, glucosamine and chondroitin, the building blocks of the body.
- Besides the diet, living like a caveman and getting plenty of sun and rest is important. Early man walked everywhere, so his body was in frequently in motion. Add those things to your lifestyle.
- Sticking strictly to restrictions of the Paleo diet can be difficult. Use a modified form of the Paleo diet that cuts out processed food, sugar and products made with white flour immediately improves your diet.
- Turn off electronic devices for several hours a day and enjoy the quiet that the caveman experienced. Drink more water. Clean water was a luxury and highly valued in some areas. Simplify life and learn to reduce stress to increase the benefits of healthy living.
For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness