Nutrition & Fitness
What is Paleo Diet?
It's not just one of the healthy diet plans...ie, one of the ways to lose weight. But it's so much more.
Loren Cordain, PhD, who wrote the book The Paleo Diet, claims that by eating like our prehistoric ancestors, we'll be fitter and less likely to get diseases common to modern life.
(NOTE: If you'd like an easy-to-follow weight loss challenge, check THIS out.)
Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and other major health problems have one common root...unhealthy eating.
When we compare The Paleo Diet to a modern Western diet, the differences are huge. A large portion of the foods typical to a Western diet has only been introduced in the past 100 to 200 years. This includes vegetable oils, refined sugar, and processed foods. (Refined flour only appeared after the invention of steel roller mills in the late 1800s.) Because of how recent these introductions have taken place, our bodies haven’t had ample time to evolve to properly digest these foods.
By eating foods that our body actually needs, the Paleo Diet is considered to be the best weight loss meal plan without having to count calories per day. It's also a natural cleanse and detox and may be the healthiest way to lose weight. It will also greatly reduce your hunger signals. It does this by stabilizing fluctuations in insulin and, therefore, improving your glycemic control, a tremendous benefit for those with diabetes. On the Paleo Diet, you will eat foods with a lower glycemic load which is a measure of how much a meal will impact blood sugar and insulin levels. You will consume a lower overall calorie count while getting the nutrients your body needs. You will also eliminate spikes and dips in your energy levels.
The Paleo Diet is a natural anti-inflammatory. A typical Western diet is very acidic. The high sodium-to-potassium ratio is a contributor to this imbalance. An acidic diet can lead to inflammation and contributes to osteoporosis. Increasing potassium consumption (with vegetables - a staple on the Paleo Diet) can help with osteoporosis. Grains contain many anti-nutrients such as saponins and lectins. These tiny molecules are extremely effective at breaking down our intestinal defense mechanisms, and making you very sick if you consume them raw. Cooking grains eliminates many but not all of these anti-nutrients, which causes an even bigger concern. Over time, the small quantities of anti-nutrients cause chronic inflammation and lead to inflammatory diseases like autoimmune illness and cancer. A Paleo Diet eliminates foods high in these anti-nutrients.
Magnesium is one mineral that most people don't get enough of. Yet Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of energy and protein. Many foods high in magnesium are found in the Paleo Diet.
The Paleo Diet also helps keep your gut healthy. Want to learn more about gut health? Check out 8 Incredibly Important Facts About Gut Health.
Also called the Caveman Diet, Paleolithic diet, Hunter-Gatherer diet, or the Stone Age diet, the Paleo Diet is a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan. Our prehistoric ancestors were also very active because they were hunter-gatherers. They had to find their food! So, they didn't sit around all day posting tweets and commenting on Facebook Posts :) Their normal daily life consisted of a great amount of exercise.
Being a runner and workout fanatic, I have learned over time the benefits of combining exercise with protein. When we exercise, our muscles actually break down. It's the building of the muscles back up that increases muscle strength. Protein is one of the major players in that process. Also, the more muscle we have, the more fat that we burn...because muscle burns fat. So exercise mixed with high-protein contributes to a muscular & lean body. Protein and fiber intake as well as drinking lots of water reduces appetite and keeps you feeling full longer...contributing to weight loss.
“The average U.S. citizen is considerably less fit than the average hunter-gatherer or forager,” says Dr. Loren Cordain, professor emeritus of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. “The lesson to be learned is not from early farmers and their dietary and exercise patterns, but rather from our hunter-gatherer ancestors and their dietary and exercise patterns. These examples represent the norms for our species and the environmental experiences which conditioned our genome.”
Paleo Diet Basics:
Eat: Lean meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (sweet potatoes are okay but not regular potatoes), fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and oils.
Avoid: Processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, potatoes, most dairy products, legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts and peas), artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine, and trans fats.
Learn to think outside the box when making meals. For instance, bake with almond flour and coconut flour and you'll be able to make all kinds of bread and desserts on the Paleo Diet.
Paleo Pancake Recipes: Love pancakes? You still can have them when eating Paleo! Here are 3 ways to make them: Paleo Pancakes
These cavemen apparently ate a whole lot of NUTS and not enough lean meat. LOL!
What to Drink When You're Thirsty:
When it comes to hydration, water should be your go-to beverage. The average person should drink half of your weight in ounces of water every day, especially if you are wanting to lose weight. (Ex. A person that weighs 160 lbs should drink 80 oz of water every day.)
The following drinks aren't exactly Paleo, but most people drink them anyway:
Tea: Tea is very healthy and loaded with antioxidants and various beneficial compounds. Green tea is best.
Coffee: Coffee is actually very high in antioxidants as well. Studies show that it has many health benefits.
These are perfectly fine in small amounts:
Wine: Quality red wine is high in antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.
Dark chocolate: Choose one that has 70% or higher cocoa content. Quality dark chocolate is very nutritious and extremely healthy.
Free sites like Paleo Leap serve up recipes for Paleo Diet followers. Or if you prefer purchasing a cookbook, here are several good ones to choose from: "Make it Paleo", "The Paleo Diet Cookbook," "Everyday Paleo" and "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.
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