The Paleo diet that has been around for decades, has become incredibly popular over the last few years. In 2013, I was very strict Paleo – and had great results. I was healthier, my anxiety was down, I lost weight, and just felt really great and energetic.
I think now is a great time for me to commit to getting back into it. I figured that perhaps, maybe, others are looking for something to occupy their time while social distancing. This will help keep you get healthy, and if you don’t know how to cook – following this diet is a great way to learn! The great thing about Paleo, is that it’s actually pretty simple, once you get the basics down.
The food pyramid for Paleo is an inverted version of the one that is usually recommended. The majority of your daily caloric intake is from meat, eggs, and seafood. That’s followed by fats from plan foods, fruits and vegetables, and then nuts and seeds. It’s a high protein, low carb diet. So now that everyone is stuck inside, you’re probably doing a lot of eating and snacking – mostly out of boredom. If you start to eat Paleo, the meals and snacks will help you feel fuller faster and longer. When you cut out the sugars and gluten, you also will feel less sluggish, but it may take a few days, I promise.
The Paleo diet consists of 2 parts – I think the major part that anyone needs to focus on is the half where you eliminate foods. The foods that get eliminated are responsible for slowing your metabolism, welcome problems with your blood sugar and fat storage, and also, slow digestion. On the list of eliminated foods – processed foods, alcohol, grains, legumes, and sugar. I know that this sounds scary, considering we are stuck in our houses for a few weeks, but I promise if you go the Paleo way, you’ll have time to enjoy other things. You can even order some really great Paleo books off Amazon and get some research done. You won’t be tempted to get half price appetizers at Applebee’s or late night Dairy Queen, because most of those places aren’t open. Now if it seems steep to give up all those things at once, try doing them one at a time. Personally, I just did it all at once, and then my time was preoccupied with doing research and finding recipes to follow – and I learned how to cook. It was tedious at first, and it took a long time, but now, it’s second nature when I actually do stick to it.
So first let’s talk about what’s not allowed. Number one – processed foods. This includes fast food, frozen meals, and store bought treats. Resist the urge. Next is alcohol. Cavemen didn’t have it, plus it’s empty calories and way too much sugar. The lack of nutritional value makes this a big NO. Okay, I know you’re probably cursing me out right now…but try it for at least 30 days. After the 30 days, you can try to introduce “paleo approved” alcohol, like ciders. Anything that includes grains – big NO. Grains are agricultural products, and this is embarking on a pre-agricultural diet. Next up, legumes…such as, beans, peas, soy – agricultural – off limits. Biggest one, SUGAR. The Paleo diet, if adhered to, can have a big impact on lowering blood sugar levels, and decrease your risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Don’t use artificial sweeteners either. If you must, in moderation, you can use real maple syrup and honey.
It sounds like a lot, but once you adjust, it really turns out to not be so bad.
You’re probably thinking, “what else could possibly be left to eat?” Well the answer is…a lot. Let’s start with meat, eggs, and seafood. That category alone has a lot of stuff. When picking these foods, the only criteria is high quality. Next is fats from plant sources. Olive oil and avocados are high on the list. Grass-fed butter is next. Yes, it’s dairy, but in moderation, could provide some health benefits. All nuts are allowed, with the exception of peanuts Peanuts are a legume. You can have fruits and veggies, but you should only have sweet potatoes in moderation. White potatoes are a no go because they actually cause digestive issues.
The paleo diet works, as long as you adhere to the rules for at least 30 days (that will show you how good it makes you feel). This is a quick breakdown, but if you check my older blogs, I go more in depth.
“Just because you are struggling, does not mean you are failing.”