These days, most of the world seems to be trying its hand at getting into shape, eating healthy and staying fit. Many are trying to get to a healthy weight; yet others want to get rid of their respective diseases through what they eat.
For decades, we’ve heard about the Atkins’ diet, the low carb diet, juice cleanses, etc, as ways to get slim and healthy. Of late, provided you haven’t been stranded on a desert island, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet. People all over the world are going nuts over this diet (of which, incidentally, a major part is actual nuts).
Perhaps you’re also irritated by the way the paleo diet shows up in every nook and cranny of the internet. At first glance, it does sound like a needlessly complicated way of life, just like gluten-free or vegan or even vegetarian diets sound to those people who are not following them. However, it never hurts to know just what is happening in the world today, especially if it a new eating trend. If so many people are swearing by the Paleo Diet, let’s read on and see just what the hype is about!
Paleo Diet – The Bare Basics
You must have heard about hunter-gatherer societies in a sociology, history, or anthropology. If not, the name is pretty self-explanatory; people in such societies relied on what they could a) hunt, or b) gather. Simple enough, but now comes the tricky part: a Paleo diet means you think of yourself as part of a hunter-gatherer society, much like the cavemen of yore!
Since the supermarket is not a hunting ground, nor a jungle, you would have to skip any and all processed foods. These include pasta, cereal, candy, chocolate, and whatever a caveman would not have been able to find.
Of course, there are paleo alternatives to most of the things you feel you would miss most, such as spaghetti, tacos, etc. you’ll find some names of paleo-friendly foods later on.
How the Paleo Diet is Different?
If you’re like most people in the Western world, or can simply afford good food, chances are you’ve tried to lose weight at one point or another. You may have tried any of the popular diets or adopted a clean eating routine. One of the most sworn-by methods is that of counting calories.
The Paleo Diet differs from most other conventional diets due to its flexibility in terms of the amount eaten. Whether you try the GM diet, or restricting calories, you have to stop eating at some point. People on a low carb diet frequently complain of getting hungry again and again.
With the Paleo Diet, one doesn’t have to keep track of how many calories they’ve consumed, nor how much of a certain nutrient. One simple has to do away with anything their ancestors (who lived before processing factories and artificial coloring) wouldn’t have eaten. For example, one can eat fruit (preferably local), vegetables, meat (grass-fed), fish, eggs, natural oils, nuts, etc.
The Numberless Benefits
Counting calories is one thing you don’t have to do when you follow the Paleo Diet. If you’ve ever tried to lose (or gain) weight by counting calories, you’d know just how exhausting it is! Even calorie tracking apps can become tiresome to keep up with. So sticking with the Paleo Diet is one way to ensure that your precious time won’t be wasted on your journey to a cleaner, healthier lifestyle.
Plus, the Paleo Diet recognizes that not all calories are created equal. A bundle of vegetables and a chocolate bar contain the same amount of calories, but they are definitely not the same. When processed food goes inside your body, it creates havoc and leads to a lot of illnesses. Calorie counting doesn’t take that into account. The Paleo Diet does.
Removing harmful foods from your diet is what paleo-eating is all about. You can eat till you’re blue in the face (and satisfied), and you won’t have to worry about the calories you’re consuming. As long as the food you’re eating is paleo-friendly, you’re good to go!
Other benefits of the Paleo Diet include building muscle and generally getting into shape. This is because this diet focuses on what our genes are used to. It goes without saying; our bodies are not used to digesting Twinkies or McDonald’s.
Even if you look back to the 70’s or 60’s, you would see that the people back then were usually not overweight, obese, out-of-shape, or generally as unhealthy as they are now. This is because their diets were more natural back then. Now that greedy capitalism has sacrificed its concern for human health in favor of more profit and cheap production, it’s up to you to adopt healthy habits like the Paleo Diet.
Features of a Paleo Diet
- Since most of the Homo-Sapiens’ time was spent as hunter-gatherers, our bodies are more used to digesting the fruits of hunting and gathering, rather than farming. Hence, grains are a no-no within the paleo diet.
- Sugar is also a dangerous element in our everyday diets. The Paleo Diet does away with sugar almost completely. The only sugar one is allowed is the natural one within fruit. This is because sugar causes first a spike and then a crash in your internal system until and unless you utilize the energy immediately.
- It goes without saying; processed foods have no place in the Paleo Diet. That includes your packaged chips, bread, cereal, pasta, etc. Since our bodies naturally need less carbs than the amount we’re used to eating, the lack of ‘bad’ carbs isn’t really a problem. The body on a Paleo Diet would simply take the storage and deposits of fat and burn it in the everyday tasks one performs. This process is called ketogenesis. The carbs in a Paleo diet are mostly obtained from fruit, sweet potatoes, and other veggies.
- No dairy is quite an unusual factor of the Paleo diet. However, it stands to reason that as no other animals drink milk beyond infancy, human shouldn’t as well. Hunter-gatherers would have done little else with a cow other than consume its meat. Also, there are an increasing number of lactose-intolerant individuals in the world today. Hence, most Paleo people stay away from dairy.
What’s the Difference Between a Primal And Paleo Diet?
Sometimes, people make the mistake of using Paleo and Primal Diet interchangeably. However, there are quite a few differences in the rules/guidelines and the philosophy behind the two diets. Just a few differences include,
- Dairy: Paleo Diet says no, primal says yes.
- Primal would allow saturated fats, Paleo would not.
- Fatty meats, eggs and ghee are limited in Paleo, while freely consumed in Primal.
- Primal allows soy, Paleo doesn’t.
- Paleo says no to legumes, while Primal allows it occasionally.
Both diets, however, encourage making high-quality, organic vegetables a major part of your diet. Protein from meat is also encouraged, as is regular exercise. You’re probably tired of hearing this by now, but both diets also have their users do away with sugar (other than in fruits), high-fructose corn syrup, processed food, and alcohol. Interestingly, they also do away with corn. That’s right. It’s not meant to be digested, being a grain.
What are Some Popular Paleo Dishes?
Pinky promise; following a Paleo diet is not hard. Meal preparation would make your life so much easier with just a little bit of willpower. Following are the names of a few simple paleo-friendly dishes. A simple Google search would reveal the secrets of these yummy recipes and have you on the healthy Paleo way in no time!
- Omelettes (with meat or vegetable fillings)
- Steak with asparagus.
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Chicken Stir Fry
- Grilled Chicken Salad
- Apples with natural almond or peanut butter
Are there any popular Paleo guides?
You’ll find a wide range of paleo programs and plans that provide everything you need to successfully transform your lifestyle. One of them is 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking that has stellar reviews and is a reliable option for beginners. You can check it out below.
Staying Motivated While On A Paleo Diet
Of course, one has to eat out sometime, whether it’s at a friends’ house or a restaurant. It can be tempting to cheat on your diet. Some may also feel depressed when they can’t have their once-favorite food. But hey, I got you covered. Below are a few tips for staying motivated throughout your paleo journey and make it an exciting one,
- Write down you reasons for going Paleo. Losing weight, building a nice body? Simply feeling better? Remind yourself on these goals; preferably stick them somewhere visible, or even make them your phone background. It is a tried and tested method and has literally brought tremendous results to a lot of individuals. When you constantly remind yourself about your ultimate purpose, and goal as to why you decided to embark on a paleo journey at the first place, is believed to keep one motivated and while he is on it.
- Read inspirational stories of people who have succeeded in achieving their health goals with the Paleo diet. You can find a wide range of fellow paleo diet members on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and connect with them to help you stay on track. The mouth-watering and aesthetically pleasing meals and everyday snacks on these social media platforms will constantly drive you one step closer to your goal.
- It is recommended to read up on the philosophy of this diet; the associated dangers of consuming processed food and sugar and the horrors it brings with it. You would soon be backing away from that cake in no time. Trust me, when I say this, initially it was like really hard for me to even think about adopting a Paleo lifestyle. I can’t imagine living without sugar, candies, and all the junk you can think of. But now that I have made this choice, and witnessing prolific changes not just inside my body but outside too, it really has pumped me to motivate others too who seem to be struggling at the thought of it.
- Plan ahead for any situation. Keep a healthy snack on you, don’t let yourself stay hungry, and meal prep regardless of excuses.
The Paleo Diet makes a whole lot of sense, if you think about it. It’s not just another fad diet; if it were, so many wouldn’t be following it for so long. Plus, it has evolved over the years to become a tad less strict. But its fine to be a little strict if you are capable enough to bring an innumerable range of health benefits with you. A little bit of looking around would make you realize how Paleo users are not all the same; they have adapted the Paleo Diet according to their choices and preferences. If one can do this (staying within limits, of course), then it’s surely worth trying out, for the sake of a healthier and happier life.
Hope you have an exciting Paleo journey!