I want to apologize to many of you who may have been reading my blog and I’ve used the word “Paleo” in a lot of my titles without really explaining what it is. Well, in case you’re not aware of the Paleo diet as of now I want to explain to you in the most common terms, what exactly is the Paleo Diet.
Before I begin, I want to explain that I personally hate the word “Diet” because to me it’s something you’re doing temporarily to get a short-term gain such as get in shape for vacation. My perception of dieting is something that isn’t sustainable for the general person long-term, such as a no-carb or low carb diet. Let’s face it you’ll eventually get off of that “no carb diet! I like to consider paleo more of a lifestyle as oppose to a diet. Similar to how being a vegan or vegetarian is a lifestyle. For example, A vegan doesn’t eat a juicy steak because it’ll break his/her diet. Vegans don’t eat meat because it’s part of their “lifestyle”.
With that being said, the paleo lifestyle also known as the caveman diet is a nutritional plan that follows our ancestors diet of eating vegetables, animals, fruits, nuts and berries. That omits items from your kitchen such as dairy, corn, beans, and potatoes. I came across this great fat loss 101 resource from Sean Kelly owner of fortis fitness in Toronto. Here are some interesting excerpts from his fat loss 101 report regarding the paleo lifestyle:
* The human genome has changed less than .02% in 40,000 years. This means that the genetic makeup of our paleolithic ancestors is virtually identical to our own.
* The following 4 examples provide proof of our effectiveness our original diet
1. Chimps/primates they don’t suffer from the same decease as humans, cancer,
2. Historical and anthropological records taller, stronger bones
3. Current surviving hunter gatherers good health in diet related decease, experienced same blood chemistry and lean body mass, Same debases not linked to diet
4. Clinical observation modern to paleolithic foods
I’ve been following a paleo lifestyle for about 2 years and I love the fact that I’m still learning so much about a paleo. There are many great resources to learn from such as Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson and Loren Cordain just to name a few. Depending who you follow in the paleo world, you will receive different a few differences in opinions on what is paleo and what isn’t paleo. Some agree with modern supplements and some don’t, some agree with dairy and some won’t.
What I’ve learned is that there is always exceptions to paleo experts view on what is and what isn’t paleo. My advice to you is stick to the staples in the graph below and play around with what you feel works best for you in terms of weight management and overall energy throughout the day. I personally, believe in modern nutritional supplements that enhance my performance, protein shakes, multivitamins, pre workout supplements. I take these on a daily basis, so that would eliminate me in many situations from being a “paleo-purist” that does have a nice ring to it though!
Since being on a paleo lifestyle, here are 5 benefits I can guarantee that you’ll receive.
1. You’ll be eating a lot more natural and healthier foods: Not just from the food pyramid shown above, the paleo diet avoids any sort of unprocessed foods such as cookies, chips, desserts etc.
2. You’ll be gaining a lot of nutrient rich foods: The staples of the paleo diet, such as vegetables, fruits and natural meats are very high in nutrients.
3. You won’t have to worry about getting enough fruits or vegetables as part of your diet: Besides protein sources such as meats and fishes etc. The Paleo lifestyle is assembled with lots of fruits and vegetables
4. High in omega 3 fats: Also known as the “good fats”. Foods such as fish and nuts are loaded with the healthy fats.
5. You’ll Reduce inflammation: Paleo foods are extremely high in fibre and low in salt, and no dairy, gluten, or refined sugars. All reasons that cause inflammation
Being in the fitness industry for over 14 years, I find that the Paleo lifestyle has worked best for me at this point in my life. I try to use the 80/20 principal when it comes to the Paleo diet and it seems to work best for my lifestyle.
In closing, yes I strongly encourage the paleo lifestyle. However, I do also encourage you to not limit yourself 100% of the time. For example, I don’t want to make it difficult nor do I want to be “that guy” who is a “food nazi” and will only eat paleo-type foods. So I keep my rule of thumb to have every meal that I can control as Paleo as possible and whatever occasion comes up where there is no paleo type foods available (i.e.:Mom’s home cooked dinner, beers with the guys) I won’t turn down those options because of my dietary lifestyle. I encourage you to do the same! This is what I call the 80/20 rule. Eat 80% of the time pure paleo and allow for the 20% deviation when the time comes. I’ll be sure to write about the 80/20 paleo principal in further detail very soon.
I came across this info graph on the “Paleolithic diet” and it breaks down the science and benefits in a more technical and chronological way so I wouldn’t have to. I hope you enjoyed this and please feel free to share and comment below. I’d love to hear what you think!