Most of the modern foods available on the market today are loaded with artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and other unhealthy ingredients considered harmful to the human body. This diet, along with a sedentary lifestyle, is one of the main causes of a number of health conditions today. The paleo diet is one of the most effective, time-tested diets, but many Americans are still relatively unfamiliar with it. We'd like to run you through Paleo 101, and give you the main paleo diet rules you should know about.
For starters, what is the paleo diet? Sometimes called the Stone Age diet or caveman diet, paleo aims to reduce the risk of health deterioration by removing modern food from our diet and replacing it with the natural, wholesome food our ancestors from the Stone Age consumed.
To put it simply, the paleo diet’s philosophy is this: if our hunter gatherer ancestors did not eat it, we shouldn’t either. Here are five things you should keep in mind about this lifestyle.
1. Dairy is Not Included in the Paleo Diet
Before the agricultural revolution, humans only consumed milk during infancy. This is one of the reasons why milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy foods are not part of the paleo diet. Cows produce milk for their young. Humans are (obviously) not calves and therefore do not need the milk produced by cows or other animals.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, research has found around 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Are you consuming a lot of dairy? It could be negatively impacting your wellness.
2. Protein Intake is Vital
Our Paleolithic ancestors hunted animals for food. This means they ate plenty of protein – which is one of the essentials of the paleo diet. Protein also provides plenty of benefits, especially in maintaining and growing muscle, and limiting body fat. Plus, protein improves metabolism, preserves lean tissue, and makes you feel full.
This macronutrient is an important component in every cell in our body. We need to eat plenty of protein since our body requires large amounts of it. Furthermore, our body does not store protein, making it all the more important to eat substantial amounts daily.
(Psst! Check out this blog to learn even more about protein.)
3. Fruits and Vegetables Are Abundant
Vegetables like broccoli, kale, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are important in the paleo diet. Vegetables are full of healthy vitamins and supply our bodies with the necessary micronutrients to properly function. Vegetable intake helps reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, and obesity.
4. Refined Carbohydrates Are Eliminated
Not all carbs are created equal. We need carbohydrates in our bodies, but the quality of the carbs we consume matters. Refined carbohydrates are processed carbohydrates. Although they fill you up, the natural nutrients they contained have already been removed or altered. This means they don’t really contribute to your overall health (they're empty calories), and could even harm you.
5. Sugar Should Come From Natural Sources
There are two types of sugar: natural and added. Added sugars are found in most processed foods and are considered empty calories. The paleo diet only uses sugar from natural sources like fruit and honey, which contain fructose.
When you consume fructose, you take in other important nutrients like fiber. The nutrients found in natural sources help stabilize your blood sugar levels and make you feel full for a longer period of time.
The Benefits of a Paleo Diet
We've already covered many of the paleo diet benefits, but here are a few more.
You Know You’re Eating Clean Food
You only consume clean, healthy food without preservatives or other added chemicals that may be harmful to your body.
You Get More Iron
Iron is needed for your body to produce red blood cells, which are responsible for the efficient transport of oxygen. The paleo diet promotes the consumption of lean, red meat, which helps in the production of iron.
You Feel Full Longer
The foods included in the paleo diet are rich in healthy fats and protein, which help boost metabolism. These foods will make you feel satiated for a long period and will help you lose weight, since you will have fewer cravings for quick snacks which are often unhealthy.
You Receive Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The paleo diet encourages you to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are full of nutrients and anti-inflammatory benefits that may reduce health issues.
If you're struggling to meet your health and fitness goals, don't feel all that great, and know it's time for change, the paleo diet may be exactly what you need. Check out our menu and the delicious foods we can prepare for you. We cook using only fresh, healthy, and natural ingredients. Start eating clean today and feel the difference.