OK, so a lot of people have been asking me about Paleo lately. You wanted to know so here goes. (I am basically going to take an explanation of a very simple theory and make it as confusing as hell. Prepare yourself)
***Disclaimer!! Paleo is a lifestyle that I fully embrace and will tell anyone and everyone about it, but that unfortunately doesn't make me an expert. My family has been on the Zone Diet since March 2011 and one day my CrossFit box did a 50 day Paleo Challenge so I decided to participate (mostly for the really cool t-shirt we were rewarded with after the 50 days). I haven't looked back (except for the inevitable cheats, I'm only human people). I found incredible changes happened to my body within just 2 weeks, both internally and externally. My skin was clear and soft, my body felt firm and lean, my digestion felt like a machine, my energy was up, and it completely changed my taste buds. I do enjoy reading articles on Paleo and Zone diets so I like to think it makes me expert adjacent. My husband and I are still real advocates for the Zone diet and believe that a diet that consists of Paleo foods with Zone regulations would be THE ULTRA DIET.
So what is this Paleo thing? In one sentence...
The Paleo diet is the consumption of:
Meat, Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, some Fruit, little Starch and no sugar.
Cue the record scratch sound effect as people lift their jaws from the floor. No grains? No Dairy? I thought those things were good for you! Well, you thought wrong.
(This is where I talk for way too long)
No grains means: NO GRAINS! Whole wheat is still a grain. Rice is a grain. Flour. Cereal. Pasta. Tortillas. Grain. Grain. Grain. Grain. Its bad. Avoid it.
Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn starch, corn syrup)
Rice (brown, white, wild, basmati, ramen, rice noodles, rice cakes, rice flour)
Why? Humans digestive process isn't capable of digesting grains with the efficiency of grain eating animals like birds. And before you argue that you do just fine with grains, just because you can tolerate grains to a certain degree, as just about all of us can doesn’t mean your body was designed for them or that they’re truly healthy for you or that you can achieve optimum health through them.
When I tell people I don't eat grains they all respond the same way,
"Oh, I cant do that! I just love bread and pasta"
I am ashamed to admit that I said the exact same thing for years before my husband finally got me on board. Now I realize just how absurd that declaration is. What do you mean you cant cut grains from your diet?! Are you telling me you like pasta and sandwiches more that you value your health? I know that isn't what you mean but basically, that is what you are saying.
Sorry, where was I? Oh right, legumes. Legumes. Bad.
Starchy Veggies. Sweet Potatoes and Yams should be eaten in moderation but are excellent for post workout meals. Otherwise, no.
So if anyone is still reading...I'm sorry for being such a downer, but now we get to talk about everything you CAN eat :) This is the real stuff. Real Food. Real humans need real food.
Protein: This means REAL ANIMAL PROTEIN. The vegan/vegetarian approach is not a healthy approach, especially since soybeans (soy) are NOT Paleo friendly since they are legumes. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors were not fermenting soy, they were hunting. Meat is a combination of fat and protein- the leaner the meat, the less fat there is. Wild game and seafood are generally 80% protein to 20% fat. Fattier meats like lamb chops are closer to 25% protein to 75% fat. So selecting leaner cuts of meat will be beneficial to the diet plan.
Skinless Chicken Breasts
Skinless Turkey Breasts
Tuna Steaks (Ahi)
*eggs are a source of controversy amongst Paleoers. They are loaded with essential amino acids and nutrients, and great for your eyes, brain and heart; but store bought eggs have a high fat percentage and are linked to high cholesterol. You should always consider buying organic/free range as they are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, free of antibiotics, and contain no arsenic, which is added to factory-farmed chicken-feed to prevent infections and increase growth rates. Yes you read that right, ARSENIC. I choose to consume eggs regularly because I only buy organic eggs-again, that whole arsenic thing. I mean really, that is just crazy.
Vegetables and Fruit: When talking about healthy carbohydrates I am not talking about whole wheat or oatmeal. I mean the real stuff!
Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, lettuce, Kale, etc.)
Fruits contain high amounts of fructose and are high-glycemic so it is best to keep consumption to a minimum. Try and think "lots of vegetables first, few fruits last". Berries and melons are best but lets be honest, if you are subbing fruits and veggies for grains you are already making huge strides. I try not to get too wrapped up in which fruits and veggies are best, I just make a point in eating them!
Fat: To quote my husband, (who's kind of a genius) "you have to eat fat to burn fat!" Stop looking at the back of your food for the nutritional guide. Stop looking at the fat grams. Stop looking at the calories. Just stop. That guide means nothing. (I wont mention that your food shouldn't have a nutritional guide because it shouldn't have a package!) The only useful information on the back of your food is the ingredients list.
So what fat is good fat? Monounsaturated fats are good! Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocados, Nuts, Seeds. Eating too many nuts and seeds will slow weight loss so it is best to try and get most of your fat from sources like coconut, avocado, and olive oil.
Saturated fats are Mostly Bad! Meats, Whole Dairy Products.
STAY AWAY FROM: Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Refined/Hydrogenated/Trans Fats, and Shortening. This means that "I cant believe its not butter" crap in your fridge needs to find a new home in your trash can. Margarine in general, yeah never buy that again. Seriously that shit will kill you.
So there it is. In today's society the Paleo diet may seem restrictive and can be overwhelming with your first attempt, but a little preparation is the key to success. I will be sharing some of my favorite Paleo recipes and a glimpse into my weekly shopping list but there are so many Paleo resources out there that just a google search for Paleo Meatloaf recipes generated 158,000 results. The Internet will be your best friend in this process.
In a final note I want to say that setting an expectation for yourself that you will never again touch a starch or sugar or grain is ridiculous. Don't set yourself up for that kind of disappointment. Leave yourself some guilty pleasures but sparingly and you will still reap the rewards.
If you would like to know more about Paleo from someone who actually knows specifics, check out
This doesn't have anything to do with Paleo per say but you find all kinds of fun stuff in the Paleo side of the internet :)
Next: Practicing Paleo