The purpose of the Paleo Lifestyle is to eat in accordance with the design of the human body. This means plenty of fresh organic produce, lean grass-fed meat, nuts and seeds, but no grain and no dairy. How do we know this is how humans were designed to eat? We look at our ancestors and our DNA. When humans first inhabited the Earth there was no such thing as packaged food. Our ancestors lived off the land, hunted and gathered, and were healthy. Ancient humans died of different causes than we do now. Research shows that our ancestors did not die of heart diseases or cancers but of natural causes/traumas.
These diseases are symptoms of the modern era—the goal of following the Paleo diet is to free ourselves, our families, our children from this unnecessary fate. It is my opinion that we are at a breaking point right now. We are poisoning ourselves with what we now call “food”. The primary diet Americans consume is made up of GMO ridden dairy, grains, and high carbohydrate foods/snacks. This encourages weight gain and systemic inflammation that leads to achy joints, general pain, stiffness, and headaches. It is so completely different than what our ancestors foraged for in the Paleolithic era that our bodies don’t have the ability to function properly and disease is created. Choosing to change your lifestyle/diet to Paleo will ultimately help you boost your metabolism and feel better and it also gives you something else. It gives you power over your health. It puts you back in the driver’s seat.
So now you’re asking “what can I eat?” Here you go:
Vegetables (including most root vegetables)
Nuts (except peanuts, which are actually in the legume family)
Coffee and most teas (Oh boy. Remember to ALWAYS buy your tea organic. The level of pesticides you consume in one cup of tea is disgusting. Click here to find the tea I like to drink.)
Healthy oils such as olive, walnut, hazelnut macadamia, avocado, coconut (remember take into account the smoke point when you cook with these oils. Even the healthiest oils can cause harm once they are heated past their stable temperatures.)
And now you want to know what can’t you eat? Here is the list:
Grains of every kind (this includes rice and corn)
Legumes/lentils- including peanuts, green peas, and chick peas
Beans (minus string beans)
Dairy (minus grass-fed butter)
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are a mixed bag for many. I say eat them but some say don’t. It really isn’t because of whether or not they are considered paleo- they are. It is because they are higher in carbs and so for weight loss they may not be the best option.)
Refined vegetable oils like soy, grapeseed, corn, safflower (always avoid canola oil! It wasn’t even created for human consumption; it was first created for heavy machinery. GROSS! And don’t even get me started on margarine.)
GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). These were definitely not around in our early days and if they were I am pretty sure we wouldn’t be here today. Forget surviving the ice age. It is all about surviving the GMO Monsanto rain. I don’t know if I can say this enough: Buy everything you can afford to ORGANIC or at least GMO free. And to clarify: All organic is GMO free but not all GMO free products are organic.
The Gray Areas
Alcohol. This is a tough one. Wine is considered Paleo as it is fermented grapes. And for that same reason, hard apple ciders and pear ciders can be Paleo. Again. You want to buy ORGANIC or even better, make it yourself. The pesticide levels in wine and alcohol can be very high depending on the brand your purchase. And for the most part hard alcohol and beer is a no go as they are made from grains.
Coffee. Just because it is considered Paleo doesn’t mean it is always the healthy choice. Be smart about your coffee consumption. Yes it is delicious and yes it is a treat sent from the Gods to help keep us awake during the day buttttttttttt if you overdo it you can quickly ruin your adrenal glands and make your life miserable. Weight gain, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances at night, and depression. So try to limit your intake to 1 to 2 cups per day at most. Also, this is another one your want to buy organic and fair trade.
Potatoes. I mentioned earlier in this post that sweet potatoes are frowned upon by some because they have a higher carb count. The reason I feel along with many others that sweet potatoes are actually good for you. They are high in important vitamins (like A, B6, C, and E) and rich in minerals (like calcium and potassium). They are also Paleo friendly are because they are complex carbs which means your body utilizes them for energy and doesn’t store them all away for fat. They are a root vegetable that has been around as long as carrots, parsnips, and turnips. They also taste great and can help bulk up many dishes.
Regular potatoes are unfortunately a no go. They have 2 properties in them that attack our gut and soft tissue- Lectins and Saponins. In our Paleolithic era, human’s digestive tracts ran clean and pure without the disturbance of the modern day diet (no prepackaged, microwaved, sugar ridden food in there). When they would eat something that caused disruption to their gut they could tell immediately and knew that food choice was “poisonous”. They would avoid eating it again. Potatoes fall in that category. They disrupt our gut lining, bind to our soft tissues, and cause massive strain on our pancreas do to the incredibly high levels of sugar in their properties (which causes weight gain and a many other digestive problems). Avoid these as much as possible.
A complete list of every fruit and vegetable that are considered paleo can be found here, at The Ultimate Paleo Guide.
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