What is a Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is more than just a fad diet, it is a lifestyle, a healthy holistic approach to life and it’s been around for many years.  It is based on the food humans’ ancient ancestors might have eaten; real, whole and unprocessed healthy foods.

PALEO DIETAnd what would that be?

The Paleo Diet

All the basic foods that were available 200,000 years ago (agriculture only came 10,000 years ago – could that be the fad?).  We, humans, have biologically adapted ourselves to whole nutrient-dense foods.  There is evidence that we farming started and agriculture began, that people became weaker and sicker.  And I’m not even talking about today’s diet where everything is super-sized, deep-fried and sterilized.

With a Paleo Diet, you never have to count calories or control your portions.  The diet is high in healthy fats and moderate in carbohydrates and animal proteins.  It does not include any grains, gluten, dairy, corn, legumes, soy or sugar.

Here are the foods that a paleo diet includes:Paleo pyramid_560_292

Grass-fed Meat (cattle, pork, wild game, lamb, bison,goats), chicken (duck, goose, turkey and other poultry), eggs, wild-caught fish and seafood.

Vegetables with their great content of minerals and vitamins.  They should represent at least half of what’s in your plate.  Try to find a local farm or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get organic products. Cooked or raw, you can never eat too many of them.  Even the starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams are great with their good source of vitamins, minerals and carbs.

Fruits and Berries, full of antioxidant, are the foods that will bring you most of your carbs in this diet.

Healthy Fats are important in a paleo diet.  They consist of animal fats (beef, pork and duck), avocado oil, butter (grass-fed or clarified butter), coconut oil, red palm oil, cocoa butter, macadamia nut oil and olive oil.  It’s the main source of energy for paleo dieters.

Nuts and Seeds are the gems of this diet.  They are high in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6.  Very rich, they need to be eaten with moderation, especially if you have digestive problems or are trying to loose weight faster. (almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds)

 

Paleo lifestyle 560_292Next is my version of what the paleo lifestyle is, in addition to food.   

Make sure you exercise and move like hunter-gatherers did. Get some sun and play outside will ensure you keep a good mood and health.

As we are creatures of habit, to connect with a community of like-minded people will help in maintaining a healthy life.  It can also provide quality support in times of need.

Lack of sleep is directly associated with stress and weight gain.  Make sure you prioritize sleep in order to better manage your stress.

 

Laugh and have fun.  I don’t know if cavemen were telling jokes at night around the camp fire but, for me, this is part of a balanced life.

Meditate every day if possible.  I could talk for hours about meditation benefits but this is, after all, a food website!

Remember not to take too far this paleo lifestyle at first.  Start implementing one small step at a time.  For example, cut down dairy products by starting with milk & yogurt.  Then, address something else.  The paleo diet is no one cookie cutter or a dietary description.  It’s more like a template that you adapt to your reality.  You need to listen to the messages your body is sending you.  For instance, some people are allergic to nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes) and need to avoid them completely.  Be aware of what is a fit for you or not.

Also, have fun implementing this big change into your life.  Discover new flavors, engage your palate, be inspired by what we cook at The Gourmet Confession and smile!

Have I convinced you to give it a try?  Good!  Start by commenting below and let us know what are the questions you might have or your greatest challenge in transitioning to a more healthy way of eating.  Happy sharing!