What We Eat, What We Don’t: The Paleo Diet, Simply Explained
If we continue eating and moving (or not moving) in ways which promote inflammation, which trap the metabolism in a sugar burning state and which keep the central nervous system in a constant state of stress then we can’t hope to be and stay well. As mentioned in previous posts, there’s very little in contemporary life which promotes optimal gene expression. On the contrary, so many of our dietary and behavioural habits lead us directly towards disease. These days, we have to do something if we want to be a healthy human. It’s not going to happen on its own. The Paleo Diet and Lifestyle is an easy-to-follow blueprint for how to live well.
How to Be a Healthy Human
What came naturally to our ancestors, we now have to learn and practice. We actually have to learn how to eat, move, sleep, connect and use our minds in ways that are healthy. Depending on your current health situation, there may be many old habits that you’ll need to let go of, many new ones that you’ll need to embrace. The journey towards health isn’t complicated, but it does require persistence.
The best way to start is by being attentive to what you put into your mouth.
Yes Foods, No Foods, Sometimes and Maybe: The Paleo Diet Explained
The point of eating is to get the right balance of nutrients into your body so that you can thrive. Over and above that, all other reasons are emotive, and that’s fine. Human beings are emotional, social creatures. All families and cultures have rites, rituals and customs of which food plays an integral part. By no means does the Paleo Diet seek to limit the joy. What it focuses on is leveraging nutritional density to the point that there’s very little space for anti-nutrients and foods which compromise our health and wellness.
What we put into our mouths has an enormous influence on everything that happens in our body and mind. Food and “food-like substances” can strengthen muscles and bones or weaken and confuse the immune system. They can support a healthy intestine or damage its delicate lining. Food can regulate our hormones and keep us relaxed, happy and fertile, or wreck havok our metabolism and prevent us from burning fat.
But there’s no use denying it: unhealthy eating habits can be difficult to break. The more you understand the “why” behind the recommendations of the Paleo Diet, the more motivated you’ll be to change.
In upcoming posts I’ll provide a clear explanation as to why we avoid certain foods and give priority to others. But in a nutshell, the Paleo Diet works like this:
What We Eat
We eat real, fresh food that comes from the sea and the land. We eat a lot of vegetables and salad and moderate amounts of quality protein that is sourced from animals: meat, fish, fowl and eggs. We eat healthy fats such as olives, avocados and coconut in many forms. Nuts and seeds play a part, as does seasonal fruit. Coffee, dark chocolate and red wine are all approved, in moderation.
We care about where our food comes from, and given the restraints of our budgets and geography, we do our best to source food which has been raised and grown as ethically and as naturally as possible.
We also acknowledge that food isn’t as nutritious as it used to be, that it’s not always easy to find pasture raised meat or wild-caught fish and that sometimes it’s difficult to receive adequate exposure to the sun. In some cases, especially with regards collagen, Vitamin D and Omega 3, supplements may be useful.
With regards to the good stuff – wine, chocolate and cake, we’re not obsessive, but we don’t go overboard. We like our treats made with Paleo compliant ingredients, and some of us like a drop of wine. When it comes to socialising, we partake and celebrate… but in ways which allow us to keep partying for the rest of our lives.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet consists of:
- Quality Protein: Meat, poultry, game, fish, seafood, eggs
- Healthy Fats: Macadamia nuts, coconut (coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut chips, coconut flakes, dessicated coconut), olives, olive oil, extravirgin olive oil, butter, avocado, saturated animal fats such as lard and bacon, fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon, nuts and seeds in moderation, dark chocolate 85% minimum cacao.
- Plants: Vegetables of all kinds, salads of all kinds, a little fruit (best eaten together with a meal.)
- Tubers: Potato (best consumed cold), sweet potatoes, cassava (manioca). For those who have the objective of losing weight, tubers should be avoided or consumed in moderation.
- In Moderation: Coffee and tea, Paleo Sweets and Treats, wine, a little rice.
- For the Dairy Tolerant, In Moderation: Unsweetened dairy products with a high fat content such as butter, cream, yogurt and cheese.
These foods provide all the nutrients and energy you need for a long and vital life. Whatever your issues, these foods will heal and restore your health. Depending on where you’re starting from, they might not eliminate your disease or condition, but they will certainly allow you to reach your personal health potential. These are the foods that humans have always eaten. They optimize the expression of your DNA.
What We Don’t Eat
Off the menu are all those food and food-like substances which we aren’t designed to eat and which therefore inflict subtle or severe damage to the gut, disrupt our hormonal balance, activate the immune system, create psychological dependence and which cause or contribute to Chronic Systemic Inflammation, directly or indirectly.
These foods are:
- Cereals and Grains
- Refined Seed Oils and Trans Fats
- Refined Sugar and Sweeteners
- Alcohol – A little in moderation is okay. Red wine is the best choice.
- Dairy – For those who are dairy tolerant, high fat dairy in moderation is okay.
Simple, right? You’re probably shaking with horror, but let me reassure you: in essence – and with practice – it is simple. But because the foods and ingredients on the “No” list include our most loved meals, our favorite snacks, the tastes of our childhood and the foods that we’re most addicted to, it’s important to understand the “why” behind the recommendations.
When you see how many of these foods are causing you to eat more and store fat, how they’re promoting inflammation and weakening your immune system, how they’re leading you towards Lifestyle Disease and are keeping you stressed, you’ll be motivated to make the adjustments that are necessary for good health and a vital life.
If you would love this information in an easy PDF Printable form, just add your details to the sign-up below. Along with the E-Book, “Health is Easy”, I send out several useful Printables to help you get clear and focused on what you need. If it all seems a bit daunting, you can always enquire about my 5 Star program, the Paleo Reset 31.
Health, Freedom, Passion. Download Now your Free E-Book and Guide to the Paleo Reset 31, “Health is Easy”, plus PDF Printables and lots of motivation.
Healthy Brain, Smart Brain: Level Up Your Intelligence – Why we need to keep the grey matter active and in good shape.
Culture, Nature, Spirit, Self: The Layers of Human Relationship – “Connection” is the 5th Element of my program, and it doesn’t refer only to other humans.
Sun Blocked: Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficient Sun Exposure – You can take it as a supplement, and when necessary do, but for optimal synthesis we need sunlight.