How To Eat Like a Caveperson.
You probably are not fluent in cave-speak, but you may have lived in a cave if you haven’t heard or read about the Paleo diet. It seems that everyone is jumping on the paleo bandwagon these days. Are you wondering if there is anything to eating paleo or if it’s just another fad?
I should probably disclose that I have followed a paleo eating principal for almost 2 years. So, yes, I might be biased. But, when I first heard about it, I was skeptical. I thought it was some Hollywood diet and that it had no basis in science. Additionally, I thought it would be incredibly impossible to do. No grains or dairy? No cheese? Even more importantly, if I was able to give these things up, would it be worth it? What changes could I expect to see?
So what is the paleo diet? For reasons I hope you will understand by the time you read this article, eating paleo is a way of life. It is not a diet. A diet is a temporary weight loss program but eating paleo is based on the principle [Click to Tweet] that “for optimal health, modern humans should go back to eating real, whole unprocessed foods that are more healthful than harmful to our bodies.” Click here for a great infographic about how to explain the paleo principle (an elevator speech).
As Rob Wolff explains it, “research in biology, biochemistry, ophthalmology, dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” Because “agriculture came on the scene a mere 10,000 years ago,” humans have been unable to “completely adapt to eating modern foods like wheat, sugar, chemically processed vegetable and seed oils and other ‘Neolithic’ foods.” So, it’s no wonder that various disease states and autoimmune disorders “have accompanied the global spread of industrialized food. This is “why the Paleo approach emphasizes returning to a more ancestral approach to eating.”
For those of you would want a detailed explanation of why the Paleo approach is scientifically sound, read this. For most people, though, the basic explanation and the health benefits attributed to eating this way are enough. These benefits include:
Image courtesy of Primal Palate – http://www.primalpalate.com/about/the-paleo-diet/
If I have I convinced you that eating according to paleo principles is both scientifically sound and can offer a myriad of benefits, then here are:
The 6 Basic Principles.
Eat organic, grass-fed, wild-caught lean proteins: chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, and beef.
Eat organic fruits and vegetables. You can eat potatoes occasionally and sweet potatoes are better than white.
Eat “healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat.” Eat nuts and seeds in moderation.
Avoid “pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes [beans], sugar and laboratory-concocted Frankenfoods [and artificial sweeteners] found in the middle aisles” of your grocery store. This also includes rice and corn. Yes, as well as being genetically modified, corn is a grain.
Avoid dairy. This does not include eggs. In fact, many paleo recipes are heavy on the eggs. Click here to read my blog post of March 16, 2015, for some tips on how to live dairy-free.
Here is a list from Rob Wolff that you can clip and carry with you in your wallet until you have the “rules” down:
If you are still reading, then here are a few other tips from some paleo “experts” that may convince you to try paleo or to stick with it:
Follow the rules as closely as possible. The Paleo Police will not place you under arrest if you satisfy your sweet tooth now and then (dark chocolate is best) or use a little bit of grass-fed organic butter.
Simplify. There are many paleo cookbooks and websites out there. Take it from me, some of the recipes are ingredient intensive and complex. While I have made a few and have really liked the product, cooking this way does not fit with my crazy busy life. There are plenty of options that are simple and delicious and there are lots of cookbooks and websites out there that can show you how to plan to make things even easier.
Stick with it for at least 30 days. We all know the 21 day to a habit rule, but I suggest 30 days because you may suffer from the “paleo flu” in the first few weeks as you cut some foods from your diet. [Click to Tweet] By sticking with it for 30 days, you can come out the other side and start to realize the benefits.
“Eat like a champ. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes or experience new foods – including healthy dietary fats. The Paleo diet may feel restrictive at first, but if you have an open mind and adventurous palate, you’ll soon find that this way of eating offers infinite variety, flavors, and nourishment.”
So, how has it worked out for me, you might ask? I guess that since I have eaten this way for almost 2 years, you might guess that it’s going well. Specifically, I can tell you that the biggest differences for me are increased energy levels, very few digestive problems and (drum roll please) – I sleep like a baby! I also noticed faster results from my workouts. [Click to Tweet] I now need to confess that although I was strict in my adherence to the rules for more than a year, I am now in the 90% club. I occasionally eat a gluten-free grain and very occasionally, cheese. I also confess to enjoying a gluten-free adult beverage now and then. So far, so good.
So give it a go – yumma paleo and feel zook! That’s cavespeak for – eat paleo and feel good!
Do you have any simple and delicious paleo recipes you would like to share?
June 24, 2015
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
 For most people, following the “rules” 90% of the time will give them the benefits they want. None of us are perfect. For some, who might be paleo based on their doctors’ recommendation and/or to help with chronic health conditions, strict adherence to the principles (at least for a while) is necessary. It is always a good idea to find and consult with a doctor who is open to alternative health care solutions before just jumping in to any major lifestyle change.