So, what is Paleo anyway?
A blogger friend recently reached out to me to inquire about Paleo. I have been meaning to post a Paleo 101 intro for some time and repeatedly shelved it for another day, as I continued to spend hours researching, reading and taking in all of the knowledge I could on the topic. Inspired by the email string with my fellow blogger, I have decided to finally share my thoughts on what Paleo means and its health benefits. First, I think it’s important to distinguish what makes Paleo different from other fad diets that may have come and gone throughout the years. Paleo is NOT a diet, but rather, a lifestyle that aims to achieve optimal health and wellness based on individual needs. Sometimes, you may see it referred to as “primal living” or “primal blueprint” as well.
Essentially, Paleo seeks to recreate the way cavemen ate and lived thousands of years ago. That may sound odd at first, but when you think about the concept of only consuming natural foods that are in season and grown in your region, it totally makes sense. For example, oranges are in season in the winter, when our bodies are prone to the flu and sickness and need an extra boost of vitamin C to ward it off. In the summer when we tend to need more water to hydrate, watermelon is in season which can alleviate dehydration.
Here’s a quick snapshot (the Paleo 101 Elevator Pitch, if you will):
- Forget the food pyramid!! Paleo eliminates harmful processed foods, chemicals and unnatural substances from our lives. As much of our food is manufactured these days, Paleo relies on meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and supplements to create a whole foods, natural, and balanced diet.
- By eliminating sugars, high fructose corn syrup (which is literally in EVERYTHING if you start reading labels), and soy, Paleo is an anti-inflammatory lifestyle which is why it is super beneficial for anyone with autoimmune diseases, IBS, or other stomach issues.
- Aside from food, Paleo also incorporates fitness, lifestyle, sleep, etc and overall ways to promote habits for living a healthier life.
- Paleo does not look at calories as a nutrition source but rather focuses on what benefit the food offers your body. Obviously we need a mix of proteins, carbs and fats and Paleo balances all three. Once you stop adding up calories and learn to eat a balanced diet high in good fats, it is actually quite a relief!!
- Keep in mind, Paleo is a highly individualized approach. Some people can tolerate dairy, while others must steer clear of sugars or caffeine. The important part is tuning in to your own needs and continuing to experiment to find what works best. (And disclaimer: we are NOT nutritionists and are only offering our own perspectives on this blog. This blog content is not to be used in any way other than for informational purposes. Please check with your medical professional before making any changes to your diet.)