What foods should I eat on the Paleo Diet?
- Animal protein.
all meats of all cuts and animals, (beef, chicken, turkey, other fowl, game meat). Grassfed, when available, is the best choice. Eggs are best bought from a local farm. Otherwise, cage-free, omega 3 eggs are a good choice. Any and all fish are allowed on the Paleo Diet. These protein sources help build strong muscles and bones and keep you full and satisfied.
- Fruits and Vegetables.
They are full of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are shown to reduce risk for getting diabetes, cancer and neurological issues. Corn and white potatoes are starches and not allowed. Sweet potato/yam and winter squashes are carb-dense and are great for consuming pre and post-workout. I recommend no more than 1 cup per day and restrict these choices to workout days only. The best fruit choices are berries, as they are low in the glycemic index. I recommend no more than 1 serving of fruit per day.
- Healthy fats from seeds, nuts, healthy oils, fish oil avocado and meats.
Research has show that diets rich in omega3 fats and monounsaturated fats reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Oils that should be used are: coconut oil (for cooking), nut oils (peanut is NOT a nut, rather a legume, therefore not allowed), avocado oil or olive oil (all kinds: extra virgin, light, regular, etc). Raw nuts (or roasted with no additives) can be consumed in moderation (1 small handful a day). Almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnuts and brazil nuts are all acceptable. Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin are acceptable as well. All should be raw, or roasted and unsalted.
- Honey, grade B maple syrup and medjool dates are OK in moderation as natural sweeteners.
What foods should I avoid on the Paleo Diet?
- Avoid all dairy. Some, without being aware, are very sensitive to casein and lactose. Research has shown a link between dairy consumption and Crohn’s disease. Dairy is also insulin promoting. Uncontrolled insulin can result in weight gain and diabetes. Dairy that comes from our local super markets is typically from cows that were fed a poor diet of soy and corn. Reduced fat and skim milks are stripped of the healthy saturated fat and pasteurized, ridding of beneficial enzymes. Grain fed cows also produce milk high in omega 6 fatty acids, low in healthy omega 3’s which trigger inflammation.
- Avoid all grains and legumes, including but no limited to, beans, peanuts, peas, wheat, rye, rice, barley, corn. That means no bread, no cereal and no pasta!
- No sugar. No agave nectar- the kind sold in stores is highly processed and higher in fructose than corn-syrup! Truvia, splenda, equal, etc are all highly processed and not a healthy choice.
- Absolutely no soy. Soy contains some scary things that could be responsible for thyroid issues, digestion issues, fertility issues in women, gynecomastia (AKA “man boobs”) in men, weakened immune system and insulin resistance.
- Avoid all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated oils. This includes, but is not limited to margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
- No Alcohol. One glass of wine or a beer is OK. Excessive alcohol consumption is not. By now, I am sure we know the negative effects of alcohol. Beer especially is typically filled with grains and gluten; very un-Paleo.
Should I count calories?
No. Eat when you are hungry. Eat until you are satisfied. Over-eating is frowned upon, but so is under-eating. Fruits and nuts should be consumed in moderation (limit to 1 serving of fruit daily, 1 handful nuts). Protein will keep you full and satisfied. General rule is to have a protein, lots of greens and a good source of fat. Three main meals a day is a good start, but if you do not require this, or prefer more, smaller meals, revise accordingly. Where you are getting your calories is what is important, not how many. Following a Paleo diet will allow you to consume a higher amount of calories from real, wholesome sources.
What benefits can I expect?
Weight loss, higher energy, cleared acne, better sleep, improved athletic performance, fat loss/muscle gain, mental clarity, boost to your immune system (you’ll find you rarely catch colds, or get sick), reduced risk or elimination of: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, thyroid issues and a large majority of other chronic degenerative diseases.
Should I take any supplements?
No, supplements are not necessary. You will be getting proper nutrients and vitamins and minerals (yes, this includes calcium) from your Paleo lifestyle. I personally suggest taking fish oil; one that is free of sugar and gluten (or any unnecessary additives), like “Stronger Faster Healthier” brand and is taken in liquid form. When taken straight the oil is more potent and more easily absorbed. You may pay more for quality fish oil, but they are worth it because your health is worth it. Cod liver oil/butter oil blend is fish oil 2.0. It has all the benefits of fish oil, (anti-inflammatory, high in omega-3’s, etc) as well as vitamins A and D and K2. These are essential for strong bones, skin, hair, nails and can help with depression. “Green Pastures” Cod Liver/Butter Oil Blend gel, 1 tsp per day is a quality brand.