If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what paleo is, I’d be a very wealthy girl! I thought I would dedicate an entire section of my website to explaining what it is.
Paleo (pronounced pay-lee-oh), or the paleolithic diet is a nutritional plan that is based on the diet that cavemen were thought to have had. It is thought that our body’s genetics have scarecly changed and are still best suited to the hunter-gatherer style of eating. The paleo diet (and I don’t mean the negative ‘weightloss world’ use of the word diet) consists mainly of meat (grass fed and grain free), fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, fungi and roots. Paleo excludes the consumption of grains, legumes (including peanuts!), potatoes, refined sugar, dairy and processed oils. It is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free in short.
Yes – this means no bread, rice, pasta, corn or wheat as they either contain or are grains. Why no grains? Well as Mark Sisson explains, not only does our body not need them as they hold no nutritional value for us, but our body doesn’t even know how to digest them properly! Ever noticed extreme bloating after eating a grain-filled meal? That’s right, our body has not developed enough to know how to digest grains. The amount of work involved in making a lot of grains edible is also something to be noted – in their natural state, grains actually contain toxic anti-nutrients which actually take nutrients from our body! So by not consuming these, we’re saving our body a whole lot of pointless work.
As mentioned before, paleo excludes dairy. However if you also check out Mark Sisson’s website ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’ (amazing resource) you will stumble across the word ‘primal’. To me there are two “strands” of paleo. There is full paleo, and then there is primal. The difference? Dairy consumption. Primal includes it, and paleo goes without. The basic gist of it is that if your body can handle it then there is no problem with consuming it – however if your body does not like it (like me, boohoo) then paleo is going to be your best friend!
When it comes to paleo for weightloss, it is essentially a low carb, high fat way of eating. It changes your body from burning carbs (AKA sugar) as its main source of energy, to burning fat instead. Yes it’s hard to believe that fat of all things is good for you. I’m not talking burger, fries and donut MAN-MADE fat, I’m talking good fat that comes from animals, avocados and coconuts! So next time you’re picking up your unsweetened greek yoghurt at the supermarket, make sure you get the full fat one instead.
There is so much information out there on the internet about paleo, so I definitely recommend taking the time to go out and research it yourself. This is just a verybrief description on it, so you can get a general idea. As mentioned earlier Mark’s Daily Apple is an amazing resource for learning about paleo/primal and also applying it to your life. Most of us have no idea how good our body is designed to feel, but with paleo I have definitely had a big glimpse at how amazing I can feel!