Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is paleo?

I realize I haven't really explained what exactly I'm talking about here when I use the term 'paleo.' Most readers probably already know, but in case someone stumbles across my blog who isn't familiar with it, here is a quick rundown.

The paleo diet is:
  • Focused on healthy, real food (eggs, vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds).
  • Free of grains, legumes, dairy and refined sugar.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Disease-fighting.
  • A prescription for beautiful, glowing skin.
  • Nutrient-rich.
  • Allergy-reducing.
  • Great for digestion.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Delicious.
  • Suitable for the whole family.
  • Sustainable (in that you can do it long term).
  • Sustainable (as in green).
  • The diet our bodies were designed to consume.
  • A sure-fire way to shed extra pounds and reduce body fat.
  • Great for athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even just leisurely folks who want to be a little more active.
  • Did I mention delicious?
The paleo diet is not:
  • Atkins.
  • Deprivation.
  • A fad.
  • Low in fiber, calcium or any other dietary essentials.
  • A cult.
  • Endorsed by mainstream dietitians.
  • Endorsed by the FDA/USDA.
  • Boring.
  • Something that requires calorie counting.
  • Low fat.
  • A quick fix.
  • Impossible.
I know this might sound kinda out there to some, but the thing is -- it works. It really, really works. On the paleo diet, you will feel better and you will achieve your goals.

But what about the evidence? Aren't we supposed to follow the food pyramid, to snack on low-fat dairy, to include high-fiber whole grains in our diet? Well, lots of people think so. If that is where you stand right now and you need scientific evidence, I suggest consulting the experts. Robb Wolf is pretty much the go-to guy on the topic and his book, The Paleo Solution, explains it all. He also has a really interesting podcast (you can find it on iTunes). There are lots of other great sources, too, but Robb Wolf is just very approachable and very real and he says things in a way that makes sense (and he doesn't sugar-coat anything) -- so this is a good first stop.

Sometimes, though, it is not scientific evidence that seals the deal -- it is anecdotal evidence. I'm at a point where I understand the science behind it, but that isn't what keeps me going. It is the fact that I am stronger and leaner than ever before. My allergies have improved. I sleep better. I have fewer headaches. I never have that icky, bloaty feeling.

I also give paleo at least partial credit for my ability to get pregnant so fast. Not that everyone on paleo is going to conceive at lightening speed -- some people have fertility-related issues that have nothing to do with diet -- but word on the street is that paleo seems to help a lot. This is what Robb Wolf had to say about it on a recent podcast ...

"If you want to get pregnant, you work out at a smart level, make sure your sleep is good, make sure your vitamin D is good, and then eat paleo. Control that insulin level, control inflammation. And people get pregnant at shocking rates."

As someone who got pregnant shockingly fast, I think there might be something to this.

So, there you have it ... a quick overview of paleo. I'm happy to answer questions if anyone wants to know more. And for others in the paleo community, what else should beginners know about paleo? Any great links or books you recommend?

1 comment:

  1. 15 lbs and a noticeable shift in where the weight is on my body makes me agree with you and support the paleo lifestyle! Good review. I'll be back to read more!

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