What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo Mom

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What is the Paleo Diet?

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense whole foods diet based on eating a variety of quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. В It improves health by providing balanced and complete nutrition while avoiding most processed and refined foods and empty calories.

Over the past decade, Paleo has grown from a relatively underground movement to a diet that dominates news headlines, bestselling books, and even products in the grocery store. But despite its popularity, the scientific rationale for Paleo remains wildly misunderstood and misrepresented. For example, we might know that grains are a no-go, that vegetables are fantastic, and that dietary fat is nothing to be afra loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>low-fat push from various health authorities), but whyВ are these guidelines in place? Here’s a hint: the answer has little to do with reenacting what our early ancestors ate, and everything to do with what modern science says is best for our bodies!

In short, Paleo is a nutrient-focused whole-foods diet, with the goal to maximize foods that heal and minimize foods that harm. It improves health by providing balanced and complete nutrition while avoiding most processed and refined foods and empty calories. It’s not a way to simply lose pounds quickly (even though, for many people, it has that effect!), and it’s not a fad that dissolves under scientific scrutiny; rather, every Paleo principle is rooted solidly in the latest research and data.

What do you eat on the Paleo Diet?

Following a Paleo diet is actually pretty simple.В В There’s a huge variety of health-promoting foods to choose from, including

At it’s core, the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is a plant-based diet, with two thirds or more of every loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo meal consisting of plant foods and only one third of every plate taken up by animal foods. В Of course, meat consumption is enthusiastically endorsed as well because it provides vital nutrients not obtainable from plant sources. В Sourcing the highest quality food you can is encouraged, meaning choosing grass-fed or pasture-raised meat, wild-caught seafood, and local organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. See The Diet We’re Meant to Eat, Part 3: How Much Meat versus Veggies? and The Importance of Vegetables.

Variety is very important because a variety of different foods supplies a variety of different nutrients. В By focusing on as many different whole foods as possible, it’s easier to achieve sufficient and synergistic quantities of all the nutrients, including potentially some that haven’t been discovered yet. В Easy strategies to increase variety include “eating the rainbow”, meaning that you choose fruits and vegetables of different colors, and “eating snout-to-tail”, meaning you eat every part of the animal, including offal.

For a complete list of loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo foods , click here.

How can the Paleo diet improve health?

Clinical trials demonstrate that a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet prov loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>health benefits , including:

  • reduces loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>heart disease risk by improving loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>cardiovascular disease risk factors (seeВ The Paleo Diet for Cardiovascular Disease)
  • reduces inflammation and restores immune regulation (seeВ The Autoimmune Protocol)
  • reduces cancer risk (seeВ The Link Between Cancer and Autoimmune DiseaseВ andВ The Link Between Meat and Cancer)
  • reverses loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>diabetes by improving blood sugar regulation and restoring insulin sensitivity (seeВ The Paleo Diet for Diabetes)
  • promotes healthy loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>weight loss , reversing obesity and overweight (seeВ Paleo for Weight Loss)
  • improves symptoms of loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>autoimmune diseaseВ (seeВ The Autoimmune Protocol)

By focusing on the most nutrient-dense foods available and by eliminating foods that can contribute to hormone dysregulation, inflammation, and gut dysbiosis (where the bacteria in your gut are the wrong kinds, wrong diversity, wrong numbers, and/or in the wrong part of the gastrointestinal tract), a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet can improve a vast array of health conditions. It’s also great for weight normalization, meaning that overweight and obese people tend to lose weight but underweight people tend to gain weight.

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet provides the foundation for a healthy digestive system. В It supports healthy growth of a diversity of probiotic bacteria in the gut through its focus on prebiotic and probiotic foods and through its avoidance of foods that contribute to gut dysbiosis (where the bacteria in your gut are the wrong kinds, wrong diversity, wrong numbers, and/or in the wrong part of the gastrointestinal tract). В It supports the health of the tissues that form the gut barrier by supplying essential nutrients required for gut barrier integrity and by avoiding foods that are inherently difficult to digest, are known to irritate or damage the tissues that form the gut barrier, or that are known to stimulate the immune system.

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet reduces inflammation and supports normal functioning of the immune system. В Foods that are inherently inflammatory are avoided, removing this unnecessary stimulus for increased inflammation. By providing the essential nutrients that the immune system requires to regulate itself, an overactive immune system can be modulated. В By providing the essential nutrients that the immune system needs to function optimally, a suppressed immune system can recover.

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet supports liver detoxification systems by supporting gut health and by prov loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet supports hormone regulation by focusing on foods that contain the nutrients required for hormone balance and avo loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet , every system in the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>human body is positively affected by this approach to food.

A diet that’s notВ a D iet

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is also the first time a set of diet principles has been compiled using modern scientific health and nutrition research. В While the initial insight leading to the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet was gleaned from studies of Paleolithic man and both modern and historically-studied loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>hunter-gatherers , the core support for this way of eating comes from contemporary biology, physiology, and biochemistry. There are thousands of scientific studies that each evaluate how components in foods interact with the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>human body to promote or undermine health. В These are the studies used to form the basic tenets of the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet , which you can read about in detail in Paleo Principles, the most comprehensive Paleo guidebook every created.

There are no hard and fast rules about when to eat, how much protein versus fat versus carbohydrates to eat (Paleo is not a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>low-carb diet , see Carbs Vs. Protein Vs. Fat: Insight from loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Hunter-Gatherers ), and there’s even some foods (like high quality dairy, white loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>rice and potatoes) which some people choose to include in their diets whereas others do not. This means that’s there’s room to experiment so you can figure out not just what makes you healthiest but also what makes you happiest and fits into your schedule and budget.

Best of all, the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is not a diet in the sense of some hard thing that you do that requires a great deal of willpower and self-deprivation until you reach some goal. It’s a way of life. В Because the focus is loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>long-term loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>goodВ health , the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet allows for imperfection but educates you so that you can make the best choices possible.

Sustainability is an important tenet of the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet , meaning that this is a way of eating and living that you can commit to and maintain for your entire life. В This means that you have the flexibility to experiment with your own body to discover what is optimal versus what is tolerable, to find what works best for you and fits into your life for the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>long term . For some people, flexibility is achieved by following an 80/20 rule (or a 90/10) rule, which means that 80% (or 90%) of your diet are healthy loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo foods and the other 20% (or 10%) are not. В Many people find that they are healthiest when their 20% (or 10%) continues to avo loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>wheat , soy, peanuts, pasteurized industrially-produced dairy, and loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>processed food chemicals.

What don’t you eat on the Paleo diet?

The foods that are eliminated in a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet are the ones that provide our bodies with very little nutrition (especially for the amount of energy they contain), and that are difficult to digest (which can cause gut health problems and contribute to gut dysbiosis), and have the ability to stimulate inflammation or mess around with important hormones.

Generally, a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet excludes:

  • grainsВ andВ pseudograinsВ ( loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>cereal grains include loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>wheat , barley, rye, and loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>corn ; pseudograins include quinoa, and buckwheat)
  • legumes (legumes with edible pods like green beans are fine)
  • dairy (especially pasteurized industrially-produced)
  • refined and loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>processed foods (including refined seed oils, aka loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>vegetable oils , like canola oil and safflower oil; loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>refined sugars ; loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>artificial sweeteners ; and chemical additives, emulsifiers and preservatives)
  • loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>junk food and fast food

There are many foods that can be additionally problematic, especially for those with chronic health conditions, typically referred to as “gray-area” foods (see the Autoimmune Protocol).

There are also many foods that might be tolerated and reintroduced to your diet after an elimination phase. В This is generally referred to as the “shades of Paleo”. В Some people enjoy white loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>rice in their diets. В Others include good quality (i.e., grass-fed) loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>dairy products , which is generally considered fine with the caveat that a large percentage of people are sensitive or intolerant (and might not know it). В The best way to know whether or not these foods work for you is to cut them out completely for a few weeks and then reintroduce one at a time and see how you feel.

What a loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is NOT:

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet , while sometimes referred to as “the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>caveman diet “, is not a historical reenactment of our paleolithic ancestors from the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Stone Age . В It’s not an all-meat or meat-heavy diet as it is sometimes portrayed, and in fact, the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet puts great emphasis on eating tons of veggies (8+ servings per day, see The Importance of Vegetables and The Link Between Meat and Cancer?). В The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is not zero-carb, low-carb or ketogenic diet (see How Many Carbs Should You Eat? and Adverse Reactions to Ketogenic Diets). В Healthy sources of Paleo carbohydrates include fruit ( loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>apples , bananas, melons, berries, citrus, plantains… see Why Fruit is a Good Source of Carbohydrates) and root vegetables ( loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>sweet potatoes , squash, parsnips, yucca…).

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is notВ a dogmatic approach to eating with no flexibility, room to cheat, or ability to self-experiment. In fact, a key tenet of the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is recognizing bioindiv loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>don’t need to be perfect. loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>ice cream , that’s okay! see Making Healthy Choices: What’s Your Currency?).

The loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo diet is also not just a diet. В Most people refer to it as the loading. ” data-placement=”top” data-boundary=”window”>Paleo lifestyle or Paleo template to emphasize that this is a way of living, not a diet that you go on for a few months to lose some weight for a wedding, and that it incorporates equal focus on lifestyle factors (like sleep, stress management, activity and community; read more here), sustainability, regenerative farming practices, and environmental protection.

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