What Is Paleo?
Let’s keep this brief, shall we? With Paleo, You basically eat what humans ate from an evolutionary perspective in the Paleolithic era, before we became an agriculture society, and before the advent of many modern diseases (diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cancers, etc.) Paleo’s goal is to eliminate foods incompatible with your body, which create inflammation and encourage disease. Rather than think about what you can’t eat, first consider what you CAN eat: an abundance of hearty, delicious, nutritious food! Eat these to satiety (yes satiety), and you’re golden! A 30 day strict introduction period is recommended, with tweaking from there.
The YES List
All Meat (poultry, red meat, seafood, etc.), Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts. Think natural.
The NO List
No grains or legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, etc). No added sugars. Nothing that’s packaged, processed, or contains ingredients that sound like they came from a lab. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably a no.
The MAYBE List
The following foods are typically discouraged in the Paleo diet, and should definitly be avoided during the initial 30 days, but may be reintroduced and sustained if they do not cause problems: Dairy (preferably raw), Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, zuchinni, many peppers, etc), Alcohol (preferably Red Wine)
Non-Paleo foods may encourage gut irritability, increased insulin levels, and systemic inflammation. On the “natural” side of the forbidden is a protein called lectin found in grains (gluten is a type of lectin). A part of the plant’s natural defense mechanism, lectins can cause intestinal damage, leading to an array of nasty problems (indigestion, nausea, etc.). But it doesn’t stop there, lectins can permeate the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, leeching minerals and creating systemic inflammation as the body mounts an immune response. Lectins can also create holes in the digestive tract, allowing bacteria and bits of food to enter the bloodstream, further increasing inflammation and allergies as the body begins attacking itself. Welcome a slew of autoimmune issues! On the non-natural side, processed foods yield this same effect, and create a toxic environment in the body. Sugars wreak havoc on insulin levels. It’s just not good stuff.
Paleo isn’t about restriction or “dieting.” Or being a caveman. It’s simply a way of life which eradicates the bad and keeps the good. Simple and beautiful.