What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is a way of eating (I don’t like the word diet) that replicates how we used to eat in the wild as hunter-gatherers. The Paleo Diet consists of food that is found in nature and only in nature. In a nutshell it is: Meat, leaves, and berries.
Potatoes, tubers, nuts, seeds, and other natural food are also OK on the diet but they are not recommend in large quantities because they were not found in abundance in nature and thus humans did not consume large amounts of them as apart of their diet.
Foods excluded from the Paleo Diet include grains, legumes, dairy, refined salt and sugar, processed oils, and all other processed and artificial ingredients. If you read the label of any typical junk food item you will find many of these ingredients:
Brownie = Grains, Dairy, Refined salt/sugar, processed oil
Candy = Refined salt/sugar, artificial colorings and chemicals
Bread = Grains, Refined salt/sugar, processed oil, artificial colorings and chemicals
Pasta = Grains, Refined salt/sugar, processed oil, artificial colorings and chemicals
Most Restaurant Food = Grains, legumes, Refined salt/sugar, processed oil, artificial colorings and chemicals
So Do I Starve Myself?
Most people I talk to about the Paleo Diet always seem taken aback by the amount of options that aren’t ‘OK’ to eat. Especially considering most Americans have a food pyramid and eating plan that is completely backwards. I then show them meals I make at home on a regular basis (and some meals at restaurants) and they realize that you can eat some pretty damn good food. The key is to be picky.
OK I See What I Should Eat, But Why?
Because America is fat and getting fatter. Because it is chronically sick, depressed, stressed, overworked, and missing out on life (and most likely so are you) There is BIG BUSINESS in making us fat and keeping us fat. From a conspiracy point of view, think of what happens when you get fat: You eat more calories to stay fat and typically eat even more to get fatter.
What better business model than: sell food to people, get them hooked on it, and sell them more and more and more. McDonald’s is the largest fast-food chain in the world and they got that way doing this exact formula and using low quality processed crap as the medium to get millions addicted. The major food corporations Kraft, Monsanto, Tyson, Purdue, and a few others are evil conglomerates that spend billions of dollars lobbing in Washington to ensure lax food regulations and public misinformation through funding (and not funding) of specific studies. Sorry I could go on and on about this as it pisses me off but let’s save that for another day and keep it simple. Cheap food is not cheap at all. You pay more in the grocery store or you pay much more in the hospital.
Cheap food kills the environment and it kills us.
The Why for Paleo is simple: because it works. Human beings are made to eat certain foods and not eat certain foods. Just like the animal kingdom, animals have a specific diet and we are no different. We refer to an animal’s diet as a means of classifying them such as carnivore, herbivore, etc. Humans are mostly carnivore (meat eater) and slightly herbivore (plant eater). Some P-proponent researchers argue that plant foods don’t provide enough calories or nutrition to even warrant inclusion in our diets but I won’t go down that rabbit hole. The point is that we are made to eat and thrive on NATURAL FOODS found in NATURE.
When you process food through heat, chemical, or other means you are removing the nature. Some foods, such as grains, are not meant to be consumed in their raw state and must undergo major heat processing to be edible to humans. This is a sign we are NOT MEANT TO EAT THEM! Perhaps that is why gluten and grains cause SO many gut and health issues.
Let’s recap so you can keep up:
No Processed anything – Grains, Legumes, Flour, Rye, Barley, Candy, Cake, Battered, Fried, etc
All Natural Nothing Added – Meat, Seafood, Veggies, Fruit, Potatoes, Yams, Nuts/seeds
Benefits Of Paleo
You will lose weight. I have seen hundreds of clients in my gym adopt the Paleo Diet way of eating and one thing always holds true: they lose weight, lean up, get ripped, get stronger, feel better, sleep better, increase energy, have better sex, cure disease (not joking).
There are thousands of success stories online as well all saying the same thing. I hate the word diet because I feel this is a lifestyle and not some passing fad in an attempt to lose weight fast. The benefits improve everything in your life and can help you live longer to boot.
I’ve also taken the journey myself starting at the typical bodybuilding protocol of whey protein, chicken breasts, sandwiches and whatnot. I thought I was eating healthy but had no clue the damage I was doing to my health. I also couldn’t get rid of the fat around my mid-section and low handles. It was very frustrating to train in the gym for 3-4 hours and still not have that ‘ripped’ six-pack look I really wanted.
I can tell you from personal experience, from reading thousands of books, articles forums, and from testing my own personal experience over the past 8 years that the Paleo or Primal way of eating is the answer. Plain and simple. If you want to be ripped, improve your blood lipid, or just feel better and look a little better, I absolutely 100% fully back and recommend the Paleo Diet.
Paleo or Primal?
To further explain my personal eating style I would have to cite Mark Sisson at MarksDailyApple.com. Mark is the man and he is my go-to source on all things primal, Paleo, or whatever. I use some of his supplement products and have all of his books.
Mark has a common sense modern approach to evolutionary fitness. He recommends products such as pastured butter (Kerry Gold is my favorite), red wine, pastured dairy, and has other more ‘open’ recommendations to food choices. Many traditional Paleo die-hards are what we call ‘strict-Paleo’ and shun all modern food and even recommend lean meats. For most people, going strict Paleo would be too difficult to sustain and they would ultimately fall off the wagon. I see this ALL the time at my gym and I have learned it is better to simplify diet for people. The more difficult to understand or implement the less likely one will make real, lasting changes.
For these reasons, and some of the other common sense points Mark discusses, I eat and recommend the Primal way of eating rather than a Strict-Paleo diet. This means I can enjoy some high-quality dairy products from time to time such as dark chocolate, Kerry Gold butter, and the occasional rice product.
As long as you are staying away from the processed foods and cooking more often you will see results. The more you avoid eating out and the processed crap the more you will see your results. The less you do the less results you will see.
You are not seeking perfection. The key is steady habit-forming action on a day-to-day basis. The better you get at making proper food decisions, the easier it gets. The better you get at cooking, the easier it gets. The more you learn and remember, the easier it gets.
Get Started Today!
I hope this will motivate you to make some changes in your diet. You don’t have to go all-out to benefit from eating better. If you are reading this article it is likely you care about your health and the fat hanging around your love-handles. So why not start NOW! Start making changes today:
- Raid your pantry and throw away the processed crap.
- Start saying ‘NO’ to bread when eating out.
- Start ordering meat entrees instead of pasta or other fried junk.
- Stop drinking sugar-filled toxins.
With each small change you make you will see a small change in your body and health. When you start seeing changes I promise you will want to see more. Just remember to take it slow and be patient. Each smart decision you make will repay you dividends in the future. Just as every bad decision you make will have a negative consequence later on.