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What Everyone Should Know About the Paleo Diet

Updated on June 3, 2017
DeborahNessmith profile image

Deborah is a SAHM and Fitness coach helping other moms get healthy, become confident and learn to love themselves.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet, based on the diet of our early ancestors, is also called the Caveman and Stone Age diet. The only foods eaten are those hunted (meat, fish, and poultry) or gathered (nuts, berries, seeds, fruits, and vegetables).

Sorry, but pasta, cereal, and processed foods are off-limits. This diet focuses on foods found in its most natural form and contains no preservatives or additives. Since boxed items generally contain preservatives, additives and chemicals, it's best to prepare meals from scratch.

Calorie counting isn't necessary, as these foods are generally lower in calories than processed foods. Since the foods on this diet are nutritious and filling, you're able to eat until you're full without feeling guilty.

How does the Paleo Diet work and what can I eat?

It works by stabilizing insulin levels, relieving symptoms of Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and diseases caused by the over consumption of "free" sugar.

When beginning the Paleo diet, gradually eliminate processed foods such as, grains, pasta, and sugars from your diet until you see how your body adjusts to the changes. Since attempting to make all these changes at once may shock your system, it's wise to gradually make small changes to your diet. Cravings for sugary foods will be the most difficult hurdle for your diet, but these cravings will subside within two months.

Foods to Eat:

  • meats: grass-fed instead of grain fed
  • fowl: chicken, duck, turkey (birds that fly or attempt to fly)
  • fish: wild fish is better than farm raised due to mercury levels
  • Eggs
  • vegetables: avoid deep-fried and fried vegetables
  • fruit: has natural sugars, so limit your intake if you are using this diet for weight loss
  • oils: think natural (olive and coconut oils)
  • tubers: sweet potatoes and yams
  • nuts: excludes peanuts
  • Seeds

Foods to Avoid:

  • Cereal
  • grains
  • Legumes (excludes peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils

Making the most of the Paleo Diet:

As with anything in life, you get what you put into it and this diet is no different. Making small changes to your diet and eliminating processed foods from your life, puts you one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. When choosing foods, choose natural foods free of chemicals and preservatives.

All meals are important to our daily functioning, so don't skip meals as this could deplete your energy stores. Consuming the recommended eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day, will keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks to rid you of hunger pains.

The Paleo diet helps the body get the right of amount of nutrients without added chemicals and preservatives. It helps improve your nutrition, by removing calorie packed foods such as, chips, candy, fried foods, and fast food, and replacing these unhealthy foods with alternatives such as, lean proteins, vegetables, whole fruits and fish. Of course, these foods aren't fried or slathered in fattening sauces such as, cheese and cream sauces.

Sample Paleo Diet Menu:

Monday:

Breakfast: Egg omelet loaded with vegetable and cooked in olive oil

Lunch: Leafy green salad loaded with vegetables, topped with a source lean protein source and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Dinner: Spaghetti (use spaghetti squash instead of pasta), topped with spaghetti sauce and meatballs

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Paleo pancakes topped with fresh fruit

Lunch: slow cooker beef with roasted vegetables and avocado

Dinner: huge salad with grilled or pan-fried chicken, homemade dressing, and nuts

Wednesday:

Breakfast: egg muffins with fresh fruit and coconut flakes

Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash and meatballs

Dinner: Tacos with fresh salsa and all the fixings (no tortilla, cheese or sour cream)

Snacks:

Apples with almond butter

Nuts (except peanuts)

Berries

Seeds

The list goes on.

When starting the Paleo diet, the key is to keep it simple. Plan meals that have easy recipes and readily available ingredients.


Benefits of Following the Paleo Diet:

While weight loss is an important part of any diet, here are some other benefits of the Paleo Diet.

  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Controls symptoms of those who suffer from Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and autoimmune disorders
  • Clearer skin and better teeth
  • Decreases waist circumference and body mass
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Balances energy levels throughout the day

Takeaway:

  • The Paleo diet takes you back to the basics and can make losing weight as simple, as changing the way you look at food
  • Following the Paleo Diet has added benefits to weight-loss.
  • Easy to get started and to follow.


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