With all the “diets,” health trends, and more these days, you never know what you should eat or why. Among those diets and trends is Paleo, and in this piece we will dive into all things Paleo: what it is, and what you can eat.
What is Paleo?
Paleo is a way of eating according to the Paleolithic era. To that end, what was available to people back then is what people (who eat Paleo) eat now. This is anything that came from the earth and could essentially be picked, hunted, or gathered.
Paleo followers eat this way for several reasons. For some, it’s the desire to get back to the basics of eating. Whole foods are an important part of consumption for everyone, and this is a sure-fire way to do it.
Another reason people eat Paleo is to adopt a regimen of consuming vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. Paleo is based on the theory of whole, real food. By filling your diet with real foods, you will inevitably cut back on chemicals, sugar, and other additives and preservatives found in prepackaged and processed foods.
What do you eat?
Nuts, berries, lean meats, seafood, seeds, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits are staples of the Paleo way of eating. This means no dairy, nothing processed, no added sugar, and no alcohol. (Well, technically tequila is from the agave plant, so there’s that.) This also excludes prepackaged foods and almost anything you find in the “aisles” at the store.
There are a couple foods you would think are Paleo that are in fact no-nos. For instance, peas are not Paleo. They are considered a legume technically making them a no-no. Also, peanuts are a legume and are not Paleo either.
So, what can you eat? Well, everything else. You want Italian food, how about Acorn Squash Lasagna? Mexican food, Lettuce-Wrapped Tacos coming up. Seriously, though, eating Paleo is not hard and the health benefits are tremendous.
Because vegetables and fruit are such a prevalent part of Paleo, you will begin to consume many more vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. You will soon feel better all the time, have little to no stomach bloating, have increased energy levels, feel more alert and focused, and sleep better at night. Sounds great right? So, why isn’t everyone Paleo?
Well, there are a few reasons for that as well. Like with any lifestyle change (as Paleo truly is, and not just a diet,) it isn’t easy or immediate. In fact, you will probably feel down right terrible for the first week or so (possibly up to a month.) Why? Your body is used to so much sugar, chemicals, and processed food. Once you take that out, your body still craves it. You have to reteach your body what to crave.
There is also a lot of cooking to be done if you are eating Paleo. You can help get a jump on the week and your meals with food prep. Roasting and sautéing ahead of time will cut cooking time down during the week, especially if you can just warm foods up. For non-cooks and their families, Paleo will be a big change.
But in the end, you should try it. Not only are there substitutions for everything and so many delicious Paleo recipes out there, but you will feel great in no time and your body will thank you for it.