What in the world is a Paleo Diet? I’m sure you’d heard of it, so let’s discuss what people mean when they say “I’m eating Paleo.” Happy Wednesday everyone! The work week is half over. Yay. It’s another day closer to Christmas-which means another four day weekend! Yay! With the holidays upon us, many people give up on their healthy eating and greatly indulge in the holiday goodies (can anyone say RUM CAKE SEASON!!!!). I’m here to tell you, it’s okay to eat what you want, as long as you eat it in moderation! Do you really need all 5 cookies? No. Eat 1 and savor it. When I was young, my dad taught me about the Law of Diminishing Returns. You have 5 cookies. You eat the first cookie and it’s amazing. You eat the second cookie and it’s pretty delicious, but not quite as amazing as the first one. You eat the third cookie and it’s still mouth wateringly good, but again, not quite as good as the first or even the second one. By the time you get to the fifth cookie, you don’t have the same pleasure from it as you did the first one. So why not just stop after the first cookie?
I promised you in Monday’s post that I would be discussing different popular diets. Paleo is the word of the day today. I am a recent studier of Paleo so a great many things I am still learning. Luckily, one of my coworkers has been eating Paleo for two years now and has been a wealth of information. I’d also like to point out, before I begin, that when I say “diet” I don’t mean fad diet or dieting, I mean the food you’re going to eat on a daily basis-your food lifestyle, if you will.
I am going to caveat quickly: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. I am simply researching different diets, discussing them, and sharing with you what I’ve learned and hopefully some fun graphics. I am simply promoting different healthy lifestyle changes and diets.
With that said, let’s figure out what Paleo really means. A little background first: the Paleolithic era was a period of time lasting from about 2.5 million years ago to roughly 10,000 years ago. The Paleolithic era ended with the advent of farming and beginning of widespread agriculture. The Paleo diet basically reverts back to pre-farming/agriculture foods and emphasizes meats, nuts, berries, and wild vegetables. No, this does not mean you have to go out in the wilds and pick your fruits and vegetables. Luckily, grocery stores tend to be well stocked in fresh produce.
The Paleo diet came into being in the 1970’s but only became widespread around 2012. There is not much scientific research or results supporting Paleo as the cure all for human ailments or a guaranteed way to live a healthy, active, long life, but people who follow the Paleo diet for long periods of time say they do feel better and they’re healthier than they’ve ever been. Proponents of the diet claim that humans are not able to properly metabolize grains, legumes, sugars and processed foods and lower their risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes by eating Paleo. Critics of the diet say that Paleolithic humans did eat grains and legumes and eating this way can be time consuming, equate to nutrient deficiencies, and can be socially isolating. I’ll let you decide for yourself it these are true or not, but I’m definitely interested in hearing from anyone who eats follows the diet 100%!
So what foods are allowed and what foods are banned?As this graphic shows, the diet emphasizes healthy quantities of fruits, vegetables, and meats. No dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol, processed foods, and sugars are allowed. Are these the only foods you can eat? Absolutely not. There are so many more! This graphic just shows general foods to help interested parties decide if they want to follow the Paleo lifestyle or not.
There are several websites that offer amazing Paleo recipes as well. This one is a little confusing, but it’s filled with THOUSANDS of recipes for both Paleo and Whole30. Last, this blog has a lot of good Paleo recipes and stories.
One thing I’ve learned about the different diets out there, is that none of them are perfect, but they all promote not only eating healthier, but living a more active life. Like I said previously, losing weight is about burning more calories than you consume and living a healthy lifestyle is about being aware of what you put into your body and being active on a regular basis. There are certainly benefits to the Paleo lifestyle. In order to be successful in this lifestyle, you will have to meal plan and prep ahead of time. It’s the key to not falling off the bandwagon and not cheating. Like I said in the beginning, though, don’t completely deprive yourself. If you’re dying to have that cookie, eat one cookie. A general rule of thumb for a lifestyle change is to follow it 80% of the time minimum. Some people only allow themselves 10% off the bandwagon. It’s up to you how to customize your life.In summary, eat healthy, live healthy! Paleo is one of the options people have found for living a healthier, happier lifestyle and it certainly has its benefits. It’s not as hard as it seems, it just takes some determination and planning ahead.
I’d love to hear feedback and I look forward to our next research post next week!