The most important starting place for a healthy lifestyle, is healthy eating choices. It is no secret that the American stye of eating overly processed, convenience foods is leading to poorer and poorer health. Rather than choose a traditional “diet”. Its important to adopt a healthier eating plan. I think it helps to think of your eating plan as a framework to build meals from, rather than a strict diet. One of these frameworks is the Paleo Diet.
- What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet is a style of eating that models the way that our ancestors likely ate. Therefore, it contains foods that would be available to a “hunter-gatherer”. It is high in protein and fiber; it contains lean meats and fresh fish, fruits/vegetables, eggs, nuts/seeds and healthy fats. It does not contain any processed, convenience foods, for example dairy, refined sugars, grains or wheat.
- What are the health benefits to the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet claims to reduce incidences of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Because it is low in saturated fats, it should lead to lower cholesterol. Because it does not contain refined sugar, it should lead to lower blood sugar. Because it is high in fruits and vegetables, it is high in antioxidants. Five per day fruits and vegetables have been linked to lower incidences of cancer.
- How do I get started on the Paleo Diet?
Getting started on the paleo diet requires a commitment to eliminating certain foods from the diet.
Processed foods and sugars are a major part of the American diet. So much so, in fact, that we are somewhat addicted to them. When we initially try to eliminate these foods, we may find that we crave them more. However, these cravings will decrease over time. Once a person has been without them for awhile and decides to “cheat”, it is likely that these foods will no longer have the appeal they once did.
Initially, it may seem difficult to plan meals consisting solely of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. However, a google search will reveal countless Paleo recipes that substitute healthy fruits and vegetables for traditional high carb options. In fact, there is likely a Paleo versions of all your favorite dishes.
The Paleo diet provides a great framework for healthy eating. It allows for creativity as you explore creative ways to utilize recipes that replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones. Although, the true Paleo diet requires strict adherence to its guidelines, many people find that they feel better if they commit to this way of eating “most of the time”. Finding ways to increase fruits, vegetables, healthy and lean meats while deceasing processed carbohydrates and sugars is an essential part of any eating plan. Even if the Paleo diet isn’t right for you, there are likely some creative recipes that you could add into your current meal strategy to improve your fruit and vegetable intake for instance here on OMGPaleo.com.
Check it out and let me know what you think.