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So you want to know about The paleo lifestyle? First of all I will call it a lifestyle as I don’t see it as a diet, it’s ultimately how we would have eaten 10,000 years ago before agriculture. What’s different about being paleo or primal is it’s more than just the way that you eat it’s also the way that you live your life.
Being paleo/primal is becoming more and more popular and just recently even celebs are releasing their inner caveman such as Kylie Minogue. There’s a lot of mixed review around the paleo lifestyle and many call it just a fad, but I ask this, how can it be a fad when 1. You eat and live this way for the rest of your life and 2. It’s the same way we ate thousands of years ago and our bodies have evolved to live like? Yep sure sounds like a fad to me *note the sarcasm*
So what does it involve you ask? Well I will break it down for you starting with foods, then exercise.
So with foods it really isn’t that complex there’s no grains, no sugars, no vegetable oils and no legumes. Try and eat lots of veggies and moderate amounts of meats. Then there’s the grey areas of paleo/primal eating, dairy, coffee, nuts/seeds and chocolate. Pretty simple right?
Let’s break it down a bit more;
– Red meats
– Organ meats
Ideally the meats would have been grass-fed and/or organic, this ensures that there is minimal contamination from whatever drugs or additives the animals have been in contact with if they were mass produced meats from your local supermarket. Not only this but grass-fed meats have the highest nutrients available.
– Sweet potatoes
Look to adjust your carb intake accordingly to your activity levels, having a low carb intake for long periods of time can have damaging effects. With your fruits just have them in moderation, to much can have negative effects as well due to the sugar content. Recent studies are also showing that small amount of white potato and wild rice have positive effects on the health and are now becoming part of a paleo eaters food source.
– Olive oil
– Coconut oil
– Grass-fed butter + Ghee
– Grass-fed meat
– Egg yolk
Eat plenty of fats from good sources of food, despite people saying “but eating fat will make me fat” This is only true if you’re eating crazy amounts of fat everyday that equates to more calories than you need. Just stay away from the bad fats such as sunflower oil, seed oils, canola oil and soy bean oil.
The Grey Areas:
I refer to two things, paleo and primal with the main difference that in primal it’s more relaxed about eating dairy but it still needs to be good sources of dairy, such as full fat, grass-fed dairy. Nuts and seeds are ok in paleo but the reason they fall in the grey area is because some should be avoided such as peanuts, these actually fall under legumes. Eat most nuts and seeds but as some contain anti-nutrients then use them as more of a snacking option than a main food source.Coffee has been a big one in terms or is it/isn’t it, for me I drink coffee a lot as I don’t find it has an impact on my sleeping patterns and I believe there are good health benefits from it. I will leave it up to you if you want to continue drinking coffee, as long as it’s not effecting your sleep or health then it should be fine. Then there’s dark chocolate, there’s good health benefits to eating chocolate but if you need to indulge it needs to be the dark organic chocolate that 70% cocoa and above, plus don’t eat too much as once again it has a high sugar content.
What to Avoid:
avoid grains as they can irritate the gut, prevent the absorption of nutrients and cause inflammation, rice is the only exception to this. Some proteins in grains can cause problems too such as Gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
Sugar has negative effects to your health in many ways, it can cause diabetes, increased weight, damage to the liver, effects mood and is bad for your teeth. Now if that’s not enough reasons to ditch sugar then I don’t know what is, some sugars found in food are ok for consumption such as fruit and vegetables but with fruits as I mentioned before needs to be kept under control.
Vegetable seed oil;
Vegetable oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, corn oil… the list is quite big, these need to be avoided as they’re bad fats that can cause inflammation. They are found in pre-packaged and restaurant foods so keep your eyes out for that.
Although legumes aren’t the worst type of food that you can consume if you prepare them right, such as soaking them, a lot of them are eating in ways that are bad for you. They’re full of anti-nutrients and and gut irritants, they’re found in forms of beans, soy and peanuts.
What About the Lifestyle?
As I mentioned before being paleo/primal is more than just how you eat, it’s how you live as well. Let’s take a look at how you should look to live as well
Your body was designed to lift, pull and push things. If you look at your muscular structure you will see that the body was meant for these things, so it’s important to exercise regularly to keep body fat minimal and the muscles working the way that they should. Take walks when you can, occasionally sprint and lift heavy things, keep challenging your body and reap the rewards of a healthy you.
Although too much sun is bad for you, moderate amounts is good, it helps create much needed vitamin D so spend some time outdoors on a regular basis. Mark Sisson says to have ‘play’ time every day, what better way to have fun and play than outdoors. If you can’t get outside enough then consider taking some vitamin D supplements.
Sleep is very important to your health, it allows your body to rest and repair after the stresses of every day life. In modern days a large percentage of people do not get adequate sleep, so ensure this is high on your agenda of things to change. Try and use minimal amounts of technology near to bed time, sleep in a dark room and if you can, allow to be woken up by natural sunlight rather than alarm (I know that this is going to be difficult for most) If you wanted you can look into purchasing a daylight alarm.
It’s very important that you take some time to yourself to relax, stress is running high in most peoples lives due to various factors but any Doctor will tell you that stress is becoming an ever increasing problem in today’s society. Your mental health is as equally important as your physical health so don’t take it lightly, look to meditate or learn ways to wind down at the end of the day. You could set up a routine of meditation with no technology 1 hour before bed, then you will be settled enough to have a good nights rest as well.
So there you have it, the paleo/primal lifestyle. Love your body and enjoy your life, as I always say, learn from the past, live for the future.