What is the Paleo Diet Plan?

paleo diet planSo, what exactly is the Paleo diet? Good question..

Thing is, the Paleo diet is somewhat difficult to define in it’s entirety.

Unlike most “diets” that have very defined, and strategically designed nutritional rules to follow..

The Paleo diet stems more from a set of principals that can guide you on your dietary path, rather than providing you with a concise “diet road map”.

Fortunately, the Paleo diet is actually pretty easy to stick with once you get the hang of it. It just takes a basic understanding of the Paleo dieting principles, and before you know it.. it won’t even feel like a diet at all..

After all, we’ve been eating this way for thousands of years.. it should be just like riding a bike!

The upside of all this, is after just a bit of initial effort up front getting a handle on the Paleo basics, you’re pretty much dieting on auto-pilot. No more calorie counting, or needing someone else to tell you the latest “dieting secrets”.

When you’re capable of making and understanding your own food choices, it stops being “dieting”, and becomes a “lifestyle”.

While it defies total definition, you can summarize the Paleo diet’s basic principals by saying that it’s the idea that we should eat in accordance with how humans have evolved, and just as importantly, avoid eating many of the foods that are more recent additions to the modern human’s diet.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that..

Eating Chemicals is Bad.

Seems an obvious insight, but apparently not as most Americans consume a chemical cocktail on a daily basis. Various additives, food dyes, preservatives, antibiotics,  and other ingredients like aspartame, BPA, and cellulose gum are commonplace in the average American diet.

If you look a little deeper into these innocuously named additives, it isn’t always a pretty picture, to say the least. Many of them are associated with cancer, hormonal irregularities, and other things that you likely want to avoid.

Eating foods free of chemical preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and whatever else they’re putting in the food, is a foundational principle of the Paleo diet, and it’s importance simply can’t be overstated.

The effects of these chemical additives are difficult to visualize, and therefore we’re less likely to take action against them. As humans, we’re much more responsive to “immediate” threats like a ferocious lion ( more likely a dog ) chasing us down – We’ll most definitely respond to that threat to our health and well-being!

Well, it’s time to start thinking of the chemical cocktails served up by the commercial food industry as a very hungry, heartless lion.. Avoid it at all costs.

Why are Grains so Evil??

One of the main principles of the Paleo diet is it’s stance on eating breads, pastas, and other grain based foods.. These are foods that are completely forbidden from the Paleo diet, and for good reason..

Just a few thousand years ago, agriculture changed everything about the foods that humans ate on a day to day basis. All of a sudden (relatively speaking), our diets are filled with grains such as rice, wheat, barley – and eventually –  potato chips and pancakes.

It shouldn’t be underestimated the speed with which we shifted our diets from being based on animal fats and produce, to these amazingly cost-effective grain based foods.

To put it in perspective – as Robb Wolf would say, imagine that the entire human history is a 100 yard football field.. The first 99 yards of the field represents the time span that humans ate a more hunter-gatherer diet, and just that one last single yard represents the time we’ve been eating foods that were a product of the Agricultural revolution.

Our genetics, and the evolution of our digestive tracks, simply haven’t been able to keep up with the onslaught of grains that are now the basis of so many people’s diets. This dependence on grains is problematic for a few reasons..

Not only do grains cause our thyroid to become “shot”, but they also contain Gluten and Lectins – Both of which seem to be pretty bad news in regards to our health. A lectin is actually a toxin that grains found in grains, where it serves one very important function: Lectins are an evolved natural defense against being eaten. That’s right – it seems that grains are somewhat vindictive in that they have developed a defense mechanism to keep from being eaten by the big bad humans.. We, in standard fashion I suppose, have decided to completely ignore this feeble attempt by the grains and continue to not only eat them, but also base our diets on them.

Guess we really showed the them.

Gluten is becoming fairly notorious for causing an assortment of problems from reproductive issues to sever skin conditions. It turns out that a large portion of our population happens to be intolerant of Gluten. Many people have reporting amazing results from switching to a gluten free diet. Gluten is mainly found in barley, wheat, and a few others.

Many of the grain based foods that serve as a cornerstone of the average American’s diet are insulin-spiking, inflammatory foods that play a considerable role in how our bodies handle insulin. The resulting inefficiency of insulin levels leads to all kinds of serious issues including diabetes and obesity. Eating a highly inflammatory diet is associated with many, if not most of the chronic illnesses and diseases that so many currently suffer from.

The Paleo principal of eliminating these foods from your daily diet, is one of the primary reasons why so many Paleo dieters have seen such great results like fat loss and improved health. For more in depth reading on the “evil” of grains check out Mark Sisson’s blog post The Definitive Guide to Grains.

What you need to know about dairy.

This part of the Paleo diet is definitely not clear cut. You’ll find that most Paleo dieters steer clear of anything that even remotely resembles dairy, while others only eat eggs, or maybe some have the occasional glass of raw milk..

So who’s right? Does the Paleo diet allow eating dairy or not? Well, strictly speaking.. No, dairy isn’t “Paleo approved”, but in the end it’s up to you to decide for yourself whether to completely eliminate dairy from your Paleo diet.

One things for certain, don’t quit eating Omega-3 rich cage-free eggs. Many people consider eggs and dairy, and just to clear up any potential confusion, eggs should be an absolute staple in your Paleo diet. As for cheese, milk ( preferaby raw ), cottage cheese, etc.. Most of these foods should be avoided, but like noted above, many people choose to continue eating dairy.

Whatever dairy products you do continue eating, be sure to get them fresh from the farm.

So, what can you eat?

Tons of the most delicious, and nutritionally-dense foods that nature has to offer. That’s what.

Too many people stress giving up grains and dairy and forget about the ridiculous amounts of delicious fruits and vegetables that are available to most of us year round. I’ll take a perfectly ripe mango over a pint of ice cream any day.

Yeah.. I admit – it’s difficult (to say the least) when you first entertain the thoughts of giving up breads and pasta, but it’s really just a mindset shift – because your body prefers more efficient nutrition.

If you think that eating unhealthy foods is a hard habit to break, then wait until you develop the habits of eating foods that optimize your brain and body’s performance. Healthy habits are also addictive.

At a certain point, you can’t even fathom why you would have ever wanted to eat that fast food burger in the first place. because you know the feeling you get after you eat a piece of wild caught salmon, and a fresh greens salad.

So try to not think of the foods that you can’t eat, think of all the amazing foods that you are lucky enough to be able to eat:

  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Wild Caught Salmon and other Fish
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Free Range Eggs
  • Healthy Fats in the form of Nuts, Oils, etc.
  • Sweet Potato 

For a more complete list of allowed Paleo foods, sign-up for the paleoIQ newsletter and get your free Paleo diet food list and beginner’s guide.

Do I have to Count Calories??

Nope and Nope.

See, when you eliminate the abundance of simple sugars and grain based carbohydrates from your diet, you’re taking your foot off the “gas pedal” of your metabolism..and it’s in serious need of a pit stop. When you keep your foot on the gas pedal of your metabolism by eating grain and sugar carbohydrates, you’re eventually going to burn out your body’s carburetor, or your thyroid.

When you eat foods that aren’t causing your body to be in metabolic over-drive, you become much more efficient at using the nutrient dense foods that you’re eating. Not only that, but you’re eating foods that contain ingredients that our bodies actually have a use for, therefore – you can eat more of them without storing them as fat.

So while the Paleo diet may require you to “give up” donuts and bagels.. You won’t be starving while you’re munching on carrot sticks all day. Lots of hearty, filling, delicious food in the Paleo diet.

So, in a sense, the Paleo diet is like getting the benefits dieting, without actually having to diet.

Getting started..

The best thing that most people can do to get started with the Paleo diet, is to eliminate ONE thing from your diet RIGHT NOW that isn’t Paleo.

Whether it be the Dr. Pepper you have at lunch everyday, or a slightly bigger commitment of giving up all breads and grains.. Just commit to give up that one thing starting this very moment.

After that – Join the paleoIQ newsletter by entering your email below, and we’ll get you started off on the right foot with our free Paleo food list and guide..

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Comments

  1. The buzz on paleo diet is huge right now. I don’t usually get too curious about new diets because I’ve tried so many in the past, but this I had to look into it closely because so many people were talking about it. The basic principle is very interesting, I’ll give you that much, but I wonder it it’d really be easy to follow in real life. At the end of the day, it’s easy to make a diet sound good with a short description, the difficult part is living with it. But to be fair, I won’t judge until I give it a try.

  2. I’m done with diets that force you to eat just few kinds of food and especially those that make you count calories. You know, in order for a diet to be realistically doable, it has to be flexible and it shouldn’t make you get stressed out all day long. Now, paleo diet sounds like the exact diet plan I’ve been looking for, but in some ways I’m afraid that it sounds way too good to be true. I don’t know, but I hope some things sound as good as they really are.

    • Shane Dark says:

      Exactly!

      A diet that’s worth sticking to… isn’t really a diet at all. Let us know how the Paleo diet works out for you, and thanks for taking the time to comment, Kathy.

  3. I can’t wait to try this diet, it seems as if it would really work. I’ve tried various diets before and they weren’t for me. They were to restrictive.

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