My family and I have been eating Paleo for two years now. I blog about new recipes I’ve created, helpful articles to get people on track, and how to raise healthy, Paleo kids. But, maybe, you’re reading this and you have heard this word, “Paleo”, pronounced “Pay – LE – O”, but you’re just not sure what it’s all about. Maybe you’re intrigued by it. Maybe you’re turned off by it. There is so much information flying around the internet, especially in the “Paleo world”. It’s extremely hard to figure out what is right and what is not, but when it comes to Paleo, I have learned that what may be right for me, is not right for you.
So, as best as I can, I am going to share with you what Paleo is and why you should consider eating Paleo:
1) Paleo is not a low fat diet. If you are eating Paleo foods, then you are, naturally, eating a diet that is high in fat. Don’t get scared away! Studies have shown that a diet high in healthy fats is the way our bodies are designed to function. Take a look at this article explaining cholesterol and fat and this article which takes the fear out of fats for you! As we start to see, saturated fat is NOT bad for you. Eating Paleo encourages you to eat saturated fats in the form of coconut oil and butter, and Ghee. These fats are great for cooking at high temperatures with. Olive oil is, also, a great fat to use in salads and to drizzle over foods, but not for cooking. It shouldn’t be heated up above it’s smokes point (which is 325degrees). When oil gets heated beyond its smoke point, it starts to break down chemically. It loses most of its antioxidants, releases toxic chemicals in the form of smoke, and becomes filled with carcinogenic free radicals. SCARY.
2) Paleo encourages the consumption of generous amounts of animal protein. This includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organ meat, wild caught fish and shellfish. Since I started eating Paleo 2 years ago, I have become more aware of my source for meat. Paleo encourages you to source out the best and most healthiest cuts of meats. Buying locally raised, sustainable meat from nearby farmers is the best way to ensure that the quality of your meat is good. The nutrition of your food greatly increases when you source your meat appropriately.
3) Paleo encourages the consumption of fresh vegetables either raw or cooked and served with fat. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes are also a great source of non toxic carbohydrates.
4) Paleo encourages a moderate (to low) amount of fruits and nuts (organic is preferred) . If you have autoimmune issues, or are trying to lose weight, or have digestive issues, then you should consider cutting out fruits and nuts altogether. I really recommend this book for anyone suffering with an autoimmune disease. It has over 100 recipes that are egg, dairy, wheat, nightshade, and nut free. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, you, definitely, want to avoid these foods.
5) Paleo encourages you to cut out all grains, beans, and legumes from your diet. This includes, wheat, oats, corn, rice, soy, beans, and barley. This is the hard one for most people to overcome. But after 2 years of eliminating them from my diet, I, honestly, don’t even miss this stuff. The reason why Paleo encourages you to eliminate these foods is because these foods are toxic to our bodies…especially the modern forms of them. The wheat of today is not the wheat that was consumed thousands of years ago. We are eating a genetically modified form of wheat that has absolutely no nutrition in it for our body. Beans should be excluded because they are also toxic, unless properely prepared. Beans (and wheat) should be soaked for hours, even days, in water to release the phytic acid (an anti-nutrient) in them. Beans are even toxic in their raw form; a defense mechanism to protect themselves from birds chowing down on them. And even after soaking them for hours and days, they still don’t compare nutritionally to a steamy pile of vegetables cooked in a healthy oil. So, best to leave the beans (and the gas!) and choose something your body can handle a little bit better.
6) Paleo encourages you to cut out all vegetable and hydrogenated oils including margarines, crisco, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil. These oils are terrible for you because they are taken out of their raw state and are injected with a catalyst. This catalyst is usually a metal of nickel, platinum, or aluminum. The oil now resembles something that is “plastic” not oil and your body, especially your blood, starts to become thicker along with it. Your heart has to work harder to pump your thicker blood through your system.
7) Paleo encourages you to eliminate white sugar, soft drinks and processed foods. We all know that these foods are subpar to the foods we get on the “outside” of the grocery store (meat and veggies). Processed foods are loaded with things like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings and flavors, and other forms of chemicals that are terrible for our body.
8) Paleo encourages you to eliminate dairy (other than butter) for a month and to see how your body does without it. Some people are unaware that they may have a dairy allergy, or they just feel better without it. If you can’t live without dairy, then you should consider raw dairy, full-fat, and/or fermented dairy. We consume raw dairy in our house. We have our own dairy goats and we drink their fresh, raw milk. Read here why raw milk is good for you and why my Paleo family drinks it.
9) Paleo encourages you to eat only when you’re hungry and not to stress if you skip a meal. You don’t have to eat 3 square meals a day. The reason behind this is because this is what how our ancestors used to eat. They would have to wait for the hunt and kill to eat or when food/harvest was available to them.
10) Paleo encourages you to enjoy life, exercise by doing something you enjoy, and to eliminate external stress. It stresses the importance of sleep.
Personally, Paleo has liberated me! I don’t have to count calories. I don’t have to starve myself. I eat when I’m hungry, but I make sure I grab something that is going to nourish my body. I have lost 65lbs eating Paleo. My husband has been able to come off his statin drugs. My kids are growing strong and are rarely sick. Not only has Paleo changed my life physically, but mentally as well. I have more clarity when I am eating Paleo because I don’t go through having sugar cravings, sugar crashes, or out of control binges.
Why not give Paleo a try? Try it for a month and see how you feel! I guarantee you at the end of the month you will feel amazing! If you are unsure what to cook or where to start to look for good Paleo recipes, I encourage you to take a look at these Paleo Meal Plans.