Are you trying to get healthy and maybe lose some weight? Maybe you've heard of half a dozen diet plans, but none seem like the right fit for you. Fret not. I am here to explain the basics of the paleo lifestyle, which is a fantastic and healthy way to go about life. It just might be the perfect choice for you, so read on for a solid introduction.
Forget about Processed Foods
The paleo lifestyle is all about eating the way "primal people" ate years and years ago before processed foods came into existence. People who eat paleo resist processed foods. That means muffins, ice cream, sodas, crackers, cereals, and other foods that have many, many ingredients are out of the picture. Processed foods tend to have ingredients that are harmful for your body, such as preservatives and high sugar content. Paleo is all about simplifying meals and snacks to only incorporate whole foods.
Examples of Paleo and Non-Paleo Foods
Paleo-friendly foods are whole fruits and vegetables such as apples, peaches, pears, berries, carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli. Meats, fish, nuts, and seeds are also allowed. Healthy cooking oils such as coconut oil are great, as are herbs and spices to flavor your food such as basil, oregano, and rosemary. Try to buy organic produce and meat if possible. Non-paleo foods are, as stated above, anything that is processed as well as anything that contains gluten, dairy, or legumes. So typical bread and baked goods, cheese and yogurt, and peanuts and beans are out. Gluten and dairy are avoided mostly for the sugar content and additives, and legumes are avoided because they contain protease inhibitors and anti-nutrients, which can prevent you from getting nutrition from your food.
Simply eating whole cucumbers and apples can get old fast, so it's best to learn to prepare some paleo-friendly recipes that are interesting and delicious. A good place to start is a smoothie. Blend together frozen fruit and water and voila! You have a delicious meal or snack. Add bananas or pineapple for natural sweetness. If you crave bread, try baking using almond flour and instead of sugar, sweeten with honey. There are plenty of excellent recipes online for paleo baking. I especially like the recipes for paleo pancakes which use bananas and honey for sweetness, and almond flour for the base. Make a stir fry with chicken or shrimp and fresh vegetables cooked in coconut oil. Grill salmon and have a side of steamed vegetables. You can be as creative as you would like to be when cooking paleo. Just stay within the basic guidelines outlined above.
Primal people hunted and gathered for their food, which means that they exercised a lot by default. Adopting a primal lifestyle not only means eating whole, unprocessed foods, but it also means exercising regularly. Many paleo people participate in an exercise program called Crossfit, which tries to mimic the movements of primal people. That is something worth checking out. At the very least simply increase your daily activity if you want to adopt a paleo lifestyle. Take a walk or jog everyday or lift weights at the gym regularly. Maybe find an active hobby you enjoy such as basketball or swimming. If you follow a paleo lifestyle for a few months, you will no doubt be healthier and fitter. Good luck on your journey.