What is Paleo and why might it be what your body needs?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Paleo” by now. Most people have heard of it, but many are not quite sure what it is. I’m here to tell you all about Paleo and why it is hands-down the ultimate way to eat and to live.
To explain – picture yourself as a cavewoman millions of years ago. There was no such thing as cooking, let alone electricity to do it. So what would you eat? The answer is: anything that you can find.
Cavemen and women ate anything they could find in an effort to survive: fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and greens made up the majority of their diet. Eating certainly wasn’t a hobby such as what it has been made into today, but a means for survival – a means to nourish the body and thank it for all it does.
You’re probably thinking – That’s a great history lesson you’re teaching, but what does that have to do with me? My answer is: It has a lot to do with you, especially if you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, get happier and live longer.
You can do a Google search for Paleo studies in your spare time and learn about the massive effects a Paleo lifestyle has on a person’s health, but I’ll give you the rundown: it kills depression, slows down or prevents diseases and autoimmune disorders, gives you a boatload of natural energy and provides your body with every nutrient it needs. And that’s not even all.
As a matter of fact, Paleo is so popular these days that millions of people follow it as a lifestyle, including Hollywood stars Jessica Biel and Megan Fox. But why?
Before I get into the benefits, let’s state the hard, cold reality of Paleo – there are NO grains allowed, NO sugar allowed, NO processed foods allowed and for the most part, NO dairy allowed.
Wait, what did she just say? Yep, you heard it right. Your favorite grains – cereal, rice, oatmeal, crackers, quinoa, bread, pasta, etc., etc. – aren’t typically in a Paleo lifestyle, and there’s a very good reason for it. Neither are your sugary treats, prepackaged meats or yogurt.
Before you ditch this article altogether and tell yourself there’s no way you can do that, listen up. Trust me, your health is in jeopardy if you don’t.
How Glucose Harms the Body
The glucose, or sugar, consumed through grains by the majority of Americans is the first reason grains aren’t allowed.
But why? Grains contain glucose that when consumed, and not used right away for energy, turns into fat. You can see this example in action by just looking around you at the obesity epidemic. Put simply – eating grains make us gain fat, and being overweight is harmful to every system and cell in your body.
The second-way people consume glucose is pretty much straight-up. In their coffee, in their baked goods, in their pantry, in their fridge, and probably most other places you look.
We all know that too much sugar is bad. And quite frankly, I hate to break it to you but any sugar that is not natural – such as what is present in fruits and vegetables – is bad.
Sugar doesn’t just make you fat; processed sugar harms nearly every component of your body. It spikes your blood sugar, harms your liver and causes insulin dependence, and those factors are just the tip of the iceberg.
Lectins, Glutens…Oh, My!
The second thing we should discuss are the two other things found in grains that also put your health in jeopardy. These evil little things are called lectins and glutens, which pose a serious risk to our bodies.
Gluten is a protein that an overwhelming majority of Americans are sensitive to and leads to a solid number of diseases and disorders. I’m sure your eyes and ears have been inundated with the term “gluten-free”, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about.
Grains also contain lectins, but we should probably just call them what they are – TOXINS, which are not meant to be consumed by the human body. What do toxins do? Prevent your body from doing its job.
What about Dairy?
I know you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about dairy. As part of a Paleo lifestyle, you likely wouldn’t be consuming dairy (many don’t). But don’t worry, dairy isn’t as important as the dairy industry makes it out to be.
Can you drink it? Yes, you can, although many people have an extreme sensitivity to dairy and it causes health problems for many. Do you have to have it to be healthy and is it considered in the Paleo diet? No on both accounts.
I do want to mention raw milk and how some Paleo experts suggest it is a benefit to a Paleo diet. Raw dairy contains the enzymes needed to digest it, while pasteurized dairy does not. Therefore, some people that are sensitive to pasteurized dairy and whose body does not contain the enzyme, lactase, to help digest it, may do better on raw milk – if that’s what they choose.
What Can I Eat?
Here is a basic list with what you should and shouldn’t be eating in your Paleo diet. However, for more advice on this, please contact me.
- Grass-produced meats
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
What’s Important to You?
By going grain-free and only consuming natural foods, you’re preventing all of these toxins from entering your body, thereby boosting your health immediately, draining your body of toxins and boosting your immune system so that illness and disease stands no chance against your body!
Going Paleo is a personal choice that only you can make. But before you eat that next French fry or chug down that soda, be mindful of what it’s doing to your body – creating a perfect environment for disease to enter and thrive.
Have questions or need advice on your health? Please leave a comment below.
Want to learn more about living Paleo? My ’14 Day Paleo Clean Eating Program’ provides everything you need to adopt a Paleo lifestyle.
To your healthy life!
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Nourish Whole Self, LLC