What is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet, alternatively referred to as the “paleolithic diet”, is a fad diet based on the foods that proponents think Paleolithic humans might likely have eaten, and excluding those foods which proponents think the Paleolithic humans did not eat. Some of the common foods listed in the paleo diet include meat, nuts and berries, while the foods commonly excluded from the paleo list include dairy and dairy products.
To first understand these paleo diet rules, it is important to understand the historical period of the Paleolithic humans. The Paleolithic era is a period lasting around 2.5 million years, and is believed to have come to an end nearly 10,000 years ago with the rise of agriculture. The Paleolithic era was characterized by the use of stone, flint and bone tools, as well as hunting, gathering and fishing.
Conflicting Opinions On Paleo Diet
It is important to understand that these paleo diet rules based on two academically unsupported premises. First, it is believed that Paleolithic humans evolved nutritional needs that were specific to the foods that were available during the Paleolithic era, and also that the modern man has nutritional needs that remain adapted to his Paleolithic ancestors.
-The modern human metabolism has not been fast in adapting to the demands of the many foods that were made available by the advent of agriculture.
-The modern humans are maladapted to eating foods such as grain, dairy and legumes, and in particular the high-calorie processed foods that have gradually become a staple for most modern diets.
-Lastly, the proponents argue that the modern human has been unable to properly metabolize these comparatively new types of foods, which has led to a wide spectrum of health-related conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart conditions.
In a nut shell, the proponents of paleo diet claim that followers of this diet stand a chance of enjoying a healthier and more active life as opposed to those who follow modern-day diets.
On the other hand, critics of the paleo diet beg to differ, citing their own arguments:
-First, they claim the Paleolithic humans did eat grains and legumes, and that humans are more nutritionally flexible than the advocates of this diet claim.
-They also claim that the Paleolithic humans were not genetically adapted to certain local diets, and that very little is known for certain about what the Paleolithic humans ate.
-Lastly, the critics of this diet argue that due to the fact the Paleolithic era was an extremely long one, there was a wide variety of natural items that humans used for sustenance.
In conclusion, the critics of the paleo diet basically argue that while they agree the diet has reasonable degree of nutritional elements and should therefore be recommended, it should not be so sensationalized at the expense of equally beneficial modern-day diets.
Where Do We Stand?
As the proponents and critics of the paleo diet rules and guidelines are having their day, let us focus on the more important question – does this diet have a place in modern society? This question cannot be answered in a flat ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but by going in depth about what this diet can do for everyone.
By now, we all know what we are eating today, thanks to the industrial revolution and corporate farming. After going through all the industrial processes that take out everything that is nutritionally good for our bodies and replacing it with chemicals and unnatural ingredients, what ends up on our tables is nothing but junk – literally! For a very long time, we longed for a diet that provided long lasting solutions to the endemic problem of diseases and other health conditions caused by sedentary lifestyles.
Due to the fact that it is not focused on low fats, low carbs and other diet buzz words, the paleo diet remains the only approach to daily nutrition that works for everyone. This diet is a way of getting back to nature and connecting with our hunting and gathering ancestors, where food was all-natural from seed to your stomach, and enjoying the wholesome foods the body not only craves but also requires to flourish.
Indeed, once you incorporate this diet, you can trust it to wash away and completely detoxify the artificial ingredients and chemicals that characterize modern-day eating habits, and we know what this means to our overall well-being – a higher energy level as well as a brighter mood. What’s more, those who think the paleo diet is simply a fad can now be proven wrong, as there are multiple scientific studies that have now confirmed this is the most effective of all diets there are.
Some of these studies include the one done by S Lindeberg over 12 weeks that revealed a decrease in the level of blood sugar as well as heart disease factors among those who followed the paleo diet. There is also the study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that revealed a substantial weight of loss of participants who practiced this diet in as little as 3 weeks.
Constituent Of A Paleo Diet
Having seen the immense benefits one stands to reap from incorporating the paleo diet plan into our lifestyles, let us now discuss what makes this diet plan the most recommended. The following are some of the foods that constitute the paleo diet:
-Fats-protein-carbohydrate ratio – A paleo diet should be high in fat but moderate in animal protein as well as low to moderate in carbohydrates. However, it is important to note that this diet does not encourage calorie counting or portion control.
-Invest in saturated fats – The paleo diet encourages the intake of saturated fats such as coconut oil or butter or clarified butter. In addition, lard, duck fat and beef tallow are also encouraged, but only if these come from healthy animals that are naturally bred, as opposed to the genetic breeds. A point of advice to the lovers of avocado, macadamia and olive oils – these oils are good source of fats only if used in salads or drizzled over foods as opposed to used for cooking.
-Eat good amounts of animal proteins – This diet also encourages intake of animal proteins, though the key phrase here is good amount. In addition to quantity, due consideration should be given to the preparation of these proteins, so that they do not lose their much-needed nutritional value. Examples of animal proteins include; poultry, red meat, organs such as liver, kidney and heart, eggs, pork, wild caught fish as well as shell fish.
-Eat fresh as well as frozen vegetables – Whether frozen or fresh, vegetables are highly encouraged, and should always be eaten either cooked or even raw but served with fat. The starchy vegetables like yams or sweet potatoes are highly recommended due to the fact that they contain non-toxic carbohydrates.
-Moderate fruit and nut intake – Fruits and nuts should be taken in moderate levels. When going for fruits, aim for those that are high in antioxidants but low in sugar such as berries. On the other hand, always go for nuts that are low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fats but high in omega-3, such as macadamia nuts. All in all, you can cut off nuts and fruits altogether in case you have digestive complications, an autoimmune disease or are on a quick weight loss plan.
-Cut out legumes and cereal grains- When it is about legumes such as beans and peas or cereal grains such as wheat, barley, rye, corn, oats and brown rice, the paleo diet recommends a total cut off.
-Reduce sugar intake – If at all possible, you should eliminate added sugar that comes through packaged juices and sweets as well as soft drinks.
-Eliminate dairy – Lastly, the paleo diet recommends total elimination of dairy products apart from heavy cream or butter. It however makes allowance for raw, full fat or fermented dairy.
Other foods that should be cut off from a paleo diet include refined sugar, salt and alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
Friendly Lifestyle To A Paleo Diet
In addition to the foods recommended by rules of the paleo diet, there are those lifestyle activities that are considered friendly to the diet. This is because these activities, together with the diet, contribute to the natural goals at which the diet is aimed. Some of these activities include the following:
-Healthy eating habits – The paleo diet recommends that everyone should have healthy eating habits which include eating when hungry. In addition, you should not miss any of the major daily meals, as the body requires an uninterrupted flow of nutrients from the paleo diet in order to achieve the primary goals of the diet.
-Sleep well – Sleeping is a way of eliminating external stressors, and the body is able to take time to metabolize all the nutrients from the paleo diet and release them without undue interruption from external causes of stress. As a general rule, sleep at least 8 hours a day, by going to bed when it gets dark and waking up without the aid of an alarm.
-Moderate your workouts – If you wish to have the paleo diet work for you, moderate your exercise by keeping your training sessions as short and as intense as possible. In addition, the sessions should be a few times a week and far between.
Importance Of The Paleo Diet
When many people hear the word diet, what usually springs to mind is weight loss. Well, no diet knows how to put the subject of weight loss in perspective than the paleo diet. While this diet offers no calorie restrictions, those who have taken to the diet tell countless stories of quick and easy loss of extra pounds. This is naturally so, because the foods contained in this diet are rich in nutrients such as protein and fibers, a combination of which will fill you up faster and therefore makes you eat less, not to mention the fact that they sustain your energy levels for much longer.
Weight loss is not enough, as scientific research shows that the healthy fats derived from sea foods that also characterize the paleo diet are known to manage a wide spectrum of lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes, not to mention their ability to enhance cognitive skills.
Additional benefits that may be derived from this diet include: improved quality of sleep characterized by less sleep interruptions and ease of falling to sleep, stability of blood sugar level, stronger bones and brighter teeth due to the many bone-strengthening minerals obtained from this diet, clear and healthy skin, a balanced energy level during the day and when engaging in energy-intensive tasks and reduced level of muscle spasms and allergic reactions.
Perhaps the most notable importance of the rules for paleo diet is the psychological benefits it offers. In addition to looking and feeling better physically, your friends will easily notice a difference in your general state of mind. As you walk with more energy and a radiant skin, everyone will notice the change in you and want to be part of the story. If this is not the best confidence booster, then I don’t know what is.
All in all, the paleo diet is a must-try for all. We can go over and over the benefits but the truth of the matter is, the nutritional benefits outweigh any other diet we know. In addition, the paleo diet is also easy to follow because unlike other nutrition plans, this diet requires no special ingredients or weird recipes. It involves simple natural food items that everyone can identify. The paleo diet is also the only diet we know that does not require supplementary efforts of exercise plans to work out. Remember, you will certainly have to do some workouts to keep up with the usual requirements of healthy living, but the success of this diet is not pinned to some daily routine of workouts.
Lastly, this is a diet for all regardless of age or gender. The young need it more for the energy to go about their physically-demanding tasks while the old need it to help them fight the many lifestyle-related conditions that are mostly associated with old age.
The Paleo Diet Made Easy
By now, many people will have heard something or other about the amazing nutritional plan known as the Paleo diet. Generally speaking this is a good thing, but many individuals who would like to try the Paleo diet complain that there is almost too much information about it. Because of this, people may not know exactly where or how to begin applying this plan, and they are losing out on valuable health benefits in the meantime.
Luckily, readers on this site will not have to worry about suffering from this issue. As a matter of fact, this article is about ways in which people can easily begin eating Paleo – as soon as they are done reading it!
The key to this effort will be instructing individuals on what to eat, and what not to eat. By understanding the distinction between the proper foods and the unhealthy ones, people will be able to quickly and easily learn the basics, and internalize the vital information that is encoded in the amazing Paleo diet.
PALEO DIET RULES
A great way to begin the discussion about why only grass fed and pasture raised beef should be consumed is to describe the many problems with Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) meat.
This kind of meat is derived from farm animals that have been brought up in the factory farm system. These warehouses for cows are well known for their horrifying and inhumane living conditions. Other than the obvious ethical issues associated with this barbaric form of farming, there are many human health issues and dangers involved as well.
For beginners, these kinds of farms have horrible safety and hygiene records. Manure regularly causes outbreaks of E.coli diseases as the contaminated waste products are flushed into rivers and lakes.
The method of feeding these animals is possibly an even bigger problem. They are basically using waste products from the agricultural industry. These unbelievable products include meat that is unfit for human consumption, plastic, cow manure, even the meat of other dead cows. In addition to this, they’re injected with any number of hormones as well as growth agents in order to maximize their weight.Unfortunately, these chemicals are toxic to not only the cow, but also to anyone that consumes its meat.
But there’s more. Cows that are injected with antibiotics turn into virtual microbe laboratories. Even though many germs may be killed by a given antibiotic, always a percentage that survive. The survivors then pass down these traits t
o the new generation of microbes, and over time this leads to strains of bacteria and germs that are impervious to antibiotics.
These antibiotic-resistant pathogens then are able to be passed from the meat to the individuals who end up consuming it. For example, a kind of drug resistant E-coli from chickens that are raised on factory farms is causing an alarming number of urinary tract infections in women. Many of these infections are failing to respond to traditional treatments of antibiotics.
Another shocking additive to the diets of farm animals is the dangerous chemical known as arsenic. Even though it is known to cause cancer in humans, it is said to chickens and pigs routinely in order to improve the color of their meat and cause them to grow much faster than normal. Asking to be imagined anyone that eats the meat of these tainted creatures is in for trouble later on down the road.
There is much more information on this topic available to those that want to dig deeper, but one thing is for certain; individuals pursuing the Paleo diet – and anyone who is interested in staying healthy – would do well to avoid meat that is not marked as pasture raised and grass fed.
2. BE SURE TO ONLY USE NON-TOXIC CARBOHYDRATES
Individuals that are pursuing the benefits related to the Paleo diet should put serious thought into only consuming carbohydrates that are non-toxic in nature.
Known as safe starches, the Paleo diet is chock-full of these nutritional powerhouses. Some commonly available forms of these include lotus root, squashes, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes.
3. BE SMART ABOUT GRAINS
Most people around the world have been raised on one kind of grain or another for most of their lives. As it turns out, this a big problem. Although eating a wheat sandwich will not kill anyone, there is much to be said about avoiding certain kinds of grains. A great way to understand some of the things wrong with some grains is to take a closer look at the story of wheat.
In terms of the size of crop yields, wheat is third on the list behind rice and corn. This is largely because it is able to survive extreme climates. It has been extremely useful to humans over the ages because it can be stored for many years either as kernels or as flowers. It is very easy to transport, is also high in carbohydrates, and is believed by many to contain many valuable nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals.
As can be seen, wheat has been very useful to humanity. That said, it’s like modern wheat is making many people sick. Why is that?
The answer can be found in the practice of modern industrial milling. This involves the use of steel roller mills, allows the kernel to be separated into different components. At the same time, this eliminates some of the most vital nutrients found in the grain. These include vitamins, minerals, and more. This means that the white flower which is the end result of the milling process is basically empty of nutrients. Manufacturers know this, and replace the natural nutrients with man-made versions that just don’t measure up. The Weston Price foundation estimates that over 20 nutrients that are vital to life are lost during the industrial wheat milling process.
However, this does not even scratch the surface in terms of the genetically modified organism situation. Well, that is another subject for another time, because should be obvious by this point; individuals that are interested in healthier lives for themselves and their families would be wise to take their wheat intake with a grain of salt!
4. LIPIDS ARE GOOD
That has been given a bad rap over the ages, body actually needs some kinds of fat in order to stay alive. These include monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oil. These so-called good lipids not only provide valuable nutrients to the body, lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and trans fats.
And that’s pretty much it. The Paleo Diet is about calorie counting or portion size; is about remembering a simple ratio. It should be about 50% green leafy vegetables, 25% proteins, 15 or so percent of fats, and about 10% of complex unprocessed carbohydrates. There are many ways of finding the right mix of these nutrients, but if individuals make sure to remember the information presented in this article, they will not only know what to eat starting today; they will know what not to eat as well. At the end of the day, this may be the most important thing.
Great for Weight Loss Too
For much of human history, most of the population had no problem with obesity and weight gain. On the contrary, for many millions of years it is likely that most of the human race lived on what would basically be described today as a subsistence diet.This means that rather than struggle to lose weight, most of our ancestors actually probably had to struggle to maintain healthy weight.
Fast forward to the last 30 years of human history. Modern science and technology have been able to produce an overabundance of food for one of the first times in human history. Not only that, many of these foods go through significant levels of processing that adds a host of unhealthy products to this food. These include things like bleached white sugar, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial flavors, and artificial colors, to name just a few.
When you take this movement away from eating foods that are tailored to our bodies and you combine it with the sedentary lifestyle that many people lead today, the product is a rate of obesity that is unparalleled in any other time and place in human history. This trend towards unhealthy weight gain brings with it a large number of health issues which are in many cases quite preventable.
Many people recognize the gravity of the situation, and try different things to reduce their weight and achieve better overall health. Unfortunately, many of the diet and fitness schemes that are found online today may work for short time, but lack the nutrition and lifestyle fundamentals to truly bring about lasting change. The good news is, there is a tried and tested solution to this widespread healthcare problem.
It is called the Paleo diet, and it has helped literally millions of people around the world to take back control of their diets, their weight, and their health. This article will take a closer look at some of the interesting and eye opening ways that this fitness regimen can truly change lives for the better.
HOW WEIGHT GAIN AND WEIGHT LOSS REALLY WORK
Many people are under the impression that weight gain and weight loss are all about the amount of calories that are taken in every day. For example, they may feel that since eating 8 pieces of bleached Wonder Bread has caused them to gain weight, if they only eat four pieces of white bread they will lose weight and gain muscle.
This is a very simple example, but it still gets to the root of the issue; many people still believe that if you’ve seen one calorie, you’ve seen them all. The problem is, this understanding is far from the truth, and probably has caused more frustration in terms of dietary and fitness failure then it should have.
The reality of the situation is that different foods provide different kinds of calories and different types of nutrients. As most people already know, different kinds of nutrients are used in different ways by the body. This concept is known to nutritionists as nutrient partitioning, and it will be discussed in greater detail in the next section.
WHAT IS NUTRIENT PARTITIONING?
Nutrient partitioning is basically a fancy way of describing how the human body treats different nutrients. For example, if someone eats a muffin, is it more likely to be stored as fat or will it be burned as energy? If it is burned as energy, what will the quality of that energy be? Will it provide a ton of carbohydrates, protein, or fiber?
The answers to all these questions will help to determine where and how the body uses the nutrients that are inherent to any specific food type. In addition to the quality of the food itself, the personal circumstances of the person eating the food must be considered as well. This depends on many different factors, and these include genetics as well as the overall lifestyle of the individual. For example, if two people where to eat an English muffin, one might quickly burn it off as energy. The other, however, may just as quickly store it away in the form of body fat.
This phenomenon is due to the bodies so-called ‘set point’ for fat and muscle. Every individual is unique, and their bodies are pre-programmed to be composed of a certain ratio of muscle, tissue, and fat. Because of this, people will usually stay within 10 or 15 pounds of this set points, be it above or below. If they get too far below this set point, their metabolisms will usually try to adjust to gain more weight.
It will do this by lowering the amount of energy that it spends and by storing extra energy in the form of fat. If the same individual was to gain too much weight and end up too far above their natural set point, the body would act in reverse to bring the weight down. This could include things like reduced appetite, and burning more food as glucose rather than transforming it to fat.
But there is more to the set point that needs to be understood. The body also has a nutrient set point. If the body is getting more macronutrients that it needs, it will commonly eliminate them excess to maintain a balance. On the other hand, if the body is not getting the macronutrients that it requires for day-to-day operations, then it will try to get more of them, even if the food involved has nutrient deficiencies. Practically speaking, this means that individuals that are nutrient deficient will eat more of the unhealthy foods that they are used to in an effort to make ends meet in terms of nutrition. This too can make it difficult for individuals seeking higher levels of health and fitness to achieve this through diet.
This confluence of nutritional problems makes it clear why so many people have trouble losing and keeping off excess weight. There is just too much to keep track of when normal fad diets are being followed. In addition to this, many of these weight loss plans are based on willpower, and this means that people are constantly fighting against their own bodies. The best and most effective diets work with the body rather than against it, and this is how the Paleo diet works.
PALEO DIET WEIGHT LOSS
- MAKE SURE TO EAT FOODS THAT ARE DENSE IN NUTRIENTS
Eating the proper Paleo diet uses a large variety of nutrient dense food sources such as seafood, liver, avocados. The great thing about this is that the Paleo diet does all the work for the person. By simply sticking to the food list, individuals will be receiving all of the nutritional substances that their bodies need – automatically. One of the most valuable benefits of this is the fact that it eliminates nutrient deficiency based cravings, and makes it easy for the body to begin to quickly lose excess weight.
2. FOOD REWARD ISSUES WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST
Many modern foods that are thoroughly processed taste great, and offer the brain an overdose of food based pleasure. This is why it is so easy to just keep reaching into that bag of chips until it is completely gone. The Paleo diet stops this damaging trend in its tracks. It offers foods that are naturally delicious, yet nutritious and filling. For example, a person who has just finished a plate of scrambled eggs infused with spinach and cheese will not only be happy with the taste and texture of the meal, but will also feel pleasantly full.
In addition to all this, their body will be getting a host of essential macronutrients. So, in one fell swoop, it has satisfied taste cravings, hunger pangs, and provided the body with high-quality fuel. Strong stuff indeed!
3. NUTRITION PARTITIONING TAKES CARE OF ITSELF
Readers will recall that nutrition partitioning determines how a specific calorie is used. In many cases, an excess of carbohydrates can make nutrition partitioning work against the dieter. The Paleo diet inherently does away with this problem. This diet preaches the use of high levels of green leafy vegetables and protein, and low levels of carbohydrates and fats. Since the body will be getting most of its calories from the healthiest foods, it will be automatically partitioning these nutrients in the healthiest ways possible.
4. NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT COUNTING CALORIES AGAIN
Since the Paleo diet is based on portion size, individuals will never have to worry about counting calories ever again. Simply by sticking to the foods in the list and by making sure to eat the foods in the proper proportion, hunger will be suppressed and nutritional needs will be met.
As can be seen, the Paleo diet offers an amazingly easy way to get healthy and lose weight. Individuals that want to quickly change their lives for the better will be doing themselves and their families a huge favor by giving the Paleo Diet a try. They will surely never regret the decision.