An elaborate starter’s guide to the Paleo diet starts with answering the question.
“What is the Paleo diet?” on knowing what the diet is, one needs to understand how the diet works, its safety and above all, how one can get started with this special kind of diet.
Questions or concerns on how the diet works? then read on. This article will lay the groundwork on the Paleo Diet, the ways to implement it as your diet and common mistakes from starting the diet.
What the Paleo Diet Is
The Paleo diet is a kind of program that bases its focus on the consumption of natural real food.
The food needs to be produced in as natural a way possible and is made available with little, if not no processing at all.
In other words, this is a natural diet that focuses on people eating the way nature dictated that they should eat.
The current diet being propagated by schools of nutrition and graduate nutritionists, which is based upon the American dietary system, is quite modern.
The Paleo diet has a focus on eating the way people ate before the agrarian revolution and industrial revolution.
Those were days when agricultural products were produced based on the way nature dictated and not through the industrial manipulation by humans.
Those were the days when humans used sugarcane and wheat in their wholesome form and not sugar and white wheat flour from industries.
Today, the Standard American Diet, that has been exported to almost all the countries, features artificial sugars, refined sugars, and other refined carbohydrates can be associated with almost all the health complications that people suffer from today.
The fact that the more we struggle to eat as per this food pyramid, the more we suffer from health complications is a clear indication that something isn’t right.
Its Popularity and Attention
In the recent past, books such as The Primal Blueprint authored by Mark Sisson and The Paleo Solution that was written by Robb Wolf have made many people pay some considerable amount of attention to this diet among other almost similar diets.
Have you also been confused by the many big biochemistry terms used for or against fats? Have you come across terms such as mono-saturated, trans-fats, poly-saturated, omega-3, omega-6, HDL, LDL… and you are just wondering what all these things are.
Good news! No biochemistry is needed here anymore.
What to Eat on the Paleo Diet
To give you a simple answer to the question above, our guest blogger Paul Vandyken brings us a clear and to the point infographic on What to Eat on the Paleo Diet:
Paleo Fats Food Sources
The major source of energy in the Paleo diet is fats. No wonder, most of the foods that are highly recommended in this system of diet are fat based.
I know this comes to you as a surprise but let it be clear to you that this won’t make you fat.
In fact, it is a kind of diet that can help you stay thin as its satisfying nature makes you eat very moderately.
Tips for a Newbie to Go Paleo
Due to the proven fact that Paleo diet eliminates bloating eradicates seasonal allergies, clears up acne, frees one from a migraine as well as being helpful in the shedding of those extra pounds, many have wanted to get into it.
However, it is not easy to change your lifestyle from one you have been used to for decades, into one that you have never tried. Below is what you can do:
- Clean out your food stores or rather kitchen: remove all the vegetable oils, beans, milk, cheese, cereals, and yogurt and toss them into the dustbin. This makes it easier for you to avoid temptations.
- Pinpoint your motivating factor. Are you going the Paleo way because of health reasons, beauty, and weight loss or for general body wellness? If you become strict for about 30 days, you will notice an improvement on that motivation factor.
- Following the 85/15 rule is yet another point. After a month of being strict on Paleo, it is recommended you reintroduce 15% of non-Paleo, paying attention to the feeling you will have after reintroduction of other things in your newly founded lifestyle. You will probably make a decision that you don’t want to go back to such discomforts.
- Cook your own food. Getting Paleo dishes in restaurants is quite a tall order so if you want to be strict, cooking your own food is the way.
- Anticipate a setback or two. You may relapse into your previous habit. If that happens, don’t give up. Get up and try again.
- Always be sure to read ingredient list if you are going for a product from the supermarkets. Decode the label before making a purchase.
- Rethink your plate by replacing the grain part with veggies and veggies and veggies.
- Make an oil change from the vegetable oils to coconut, almonds or olive.
- Replace the sugary cookies, cakes etc with fruits.
Common Beginner Mistakes to Be Avoided
There are two common mistakes associated with almost any newbie who decides to start subsisting on this diet. If you are reading this, please avoid them.
1. Less Fat/Protein Overload
Almost 90% of those new in the diet tend to do this mistake. This ultimately replaces Paleo with “Failed.” The problem with less fat is that you will keep feeling hungry anyhow and you won’t have enough energy to carry out your duties. Proteins are never energy sources.
It becomes worse when you remove natural fat sources such as chicken skin and skimming milk before taking them.
2. Not to eat enough food
If you are scared of a number of fats you are consuming, add a few natural, wholesome carbohydrates in your diet. Just don’t starve yourself as this may make you give up with the system.
How to Distinguish Between Paleo and Non-Paleo Foods
First and foremost, Paleo is more of a framework than a diet. The baseline is, let the food be as natural as possible. Whereas beef from grass-fed, free range cows is categorized under Paleo, the non-grass fed, zero grazed animals aren’t.
Almost all legumes and nuts are Paleo but peanuts aren’t.
The easiest way of working out, to know whether a given diet is Paleo or not, is by consulting the Paleo Diet Food List. There are also some apps such as Paleo.io that can now be used for the same.
Why Paleo Works
The main reason for its effectiveness is because your body turns from being a carbohydrate-burning machine and becomes a fat-burning one. The question is what is the difference between carbohydrate burning and fat burning
The body prefers to store energy in the form of fats. Fats, as opposed to carbohydrates, are slow burning fuels thus more efficient to be used by the body.
However, the high amount of carbohydrates being used today makes the body burn carbohydrates and store almost all the fats ingested.
To make matters worse, excess carbohydrates are also converted into fats and stored in the body.
These fats are only burnt when you are starving, something that is very rare with the largest population.
Eliminating or rather reducing carbohydrates means the body start using fats for energy rather than the cheap carbohydrates.
In other words, for you to cut weight, you need to burn fats, which is only possible when the hindrance carbohydrates have been removed.
The consumption of a diet that is basically rich in healthy fats with an origin from wholesome foods must never be counter-intuitive.
All we need to ensure is that we go for the fat sources that are natural and not harmful to our systems. Education
With the beginner’s guide to the Paleo diet such as this, you are better placed to make informed decisions on how to design your diet and prevent some of the miscues that comes with the Paleo diet.
About the author: Paul Vandyken is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. His website is RigorFitness.com, his blog has articles, videos, and pictures with tips, tricks about fitness, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. If you are on the journey to your healthy and happy lifestyle, visiting his blog may worth a look or even help you enhance your process.