I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Paleo” by now. Most people have heard of it, but many are not quite sure what it is. Let me explain to you all about Paleo and why (in my opinion and those of millions) it is hands-down the ultimate way to eat and to live.
First, Paleo is all about the “grain-free” way of living.
To explain – picture yourself as a cavewoman millions of years ago. There was no such thing as cooking, so what would you eat? The answer is: anything that you can find.
Paleo theory is that cavemen and women ate anything they could find to survive: fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and greens made up the majority of their diet. Eating certainly wasn’t a hobby such as it can be today, but a means for survival – a means to nourish the body and be thankful for all it does.
You’re probably thinking – that’s a great history lesson, but what does that have to do with me? My answer is: it has a lot to do with you, especially if you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, get happier and live longer. Feel free to do a Google search for Paleo studies in your spare time and learn about the massive effects a Paleo lifestyle has on a person’s health (or you can take my word for it – I’ve been studying this stuff for quite some time! :)).
Giving up grains: kills depression, slows down or prevents diseases and autoimmune disorders, provides you with a boatload of natural energy and ensures your body has every nutrient it needs. And that’s not even all!!!
As a matter of fact, Paleo is so popular these days that millions of people follow it as a lifestyle, including Hollywood stars and athletes like Kobe Bryant, Jessica Biel and Megan Fox. But why?
Before I get into the benefits, let’s state the hard, cold reality of Paleo – there are NO grains allowed, NO sugar allowed, NO processed foods allowed and for the most part, NO dairy allowed.
Wait, what did she just say? Yep, you heard it right. Your favorite grains – cereal, rice, oatmeal, crackers, quinoa, bread, pasta, etc., etc. – aren’t typically in a Paleo lifestyle, and there’s a very good reason for it. Neither are your sugary treats, prepackaged foods or dairy.
Okay, before you ditch this article altogether and tell yourself, there’s no way you can do that, listen up. Trust me, your health is in jeopardy if you don’t.
How Glucose (sugar) Harms the Body
The glucose, or sugar, consumed through grains by the majority of Americans is the first reason grains aren’t allowed. Grains contain glucose that when consumed and not used right away for energy, turns into fat. You can see this example in action by just looking around you at the obesity epidemic. Put simply – eating grains makes us gain fat, and being overweight is harmful to every system and cell in your body.
The second way people consume glucose is pretty much straight-up. In their coffee, in their baked goods, in their pantry, in their fridge, and probably most other places you look.
We all know that too much sugar is bad. And honestly, I hate to break it to you but any sugar that is not natural – such as what is present in fruits and vegetables – is bad. And natural sugar needs to be balanced by healthy fat, fiber and protein!
Sugar doesn’t just make you fat; processed sugar harms nearly every component of your body. It spikes your blood sugar, damages your liver and causes insulin resistance, and those factors are just the tip of the iceberg.
Glutens, Lectins…Oh, My!
The second thing we should discuss are the two other things found in grains that also put your health in jeopardy. These evil little things are called lectins and glutens, which pose a grave risk to our bodies.
Gluten is a protein that an overwhelming majority of Americans are sensitive to and leads to a solid number of diseases and disorders. I’m sure your eyes and ears have been inundated with the term “gluten-free”, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Gluten proteins are not well digested and because of this, they cause “leaks” in your intestinal lining which allow undigested food, bacteria, virus and fungi to escape into your bloodstream, eliciting an immune response that never gets turned-off (because you keep eating gluten). Hence the term “auto-immunity” – your body literally starts attacking itself. You can imagine that’s not the pathway to a healthy body AT ALL!
Grains also contain lectins, but we should probably just call them what they are – plant TOXINS, which are not meant to be consumed by the human body. Lectins are what plants use to protect themselves from animals and humans by preventing over consumption and thus destroying the entire species and taking away food from birds and insects that can biologically digest them without harm.
Grains = lectins & gluten = toxins. And what do toxins do? Prevent your body from doing its job properly. Overtime your health suffers, you gain weight, feel tired, become moody and generally feel yucky. And these are the “mild” side-effects…
What about Dairy?
I know you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about dairy. As part of a Paleo lifestyle, you likely wouldn’t be consuming dairy (many don’t). But don’t worry, dairy isn’t as important for healthiness as the dairy industry makes it out to be.
Can you eat it? Yes, you can, although many people have an extreme sensitivity to dairy and it causes health problems for many (think congestion, acne, gas, bloating). Do you have to have it to be healthy? NO! Dairy for people that are insulin sensitive (blood sugar problems), have poor gut health and/or suffer from rheumatoid arthritis – can be problematic and it’s probably best to steer clear. Here’s the thing – most people have blood sugar and gut health issues simply due to what we’ve NOT been taught about nutrition. So in conclusion…
Most people should avoid dairy until their guts are healed and fasting blood sugar is consistently under 100 mg/dL
I want to mention raw milk and how some Paleo experts suggest it is a benefit to a Paleo diet. Raw dairy contains the enzymes needed to digest it, while pasteurized dairy does not. If chosen, some people do better with raw milk; even those sensitive to pasteurized dairy. Note: I don’t recommend any dairy products to my clients they are however, free to make choices that work best for them (as always).
What Can I Eat?
Here is a basic list of what you should and shouldn’t be eating in your Paleo diet. However, for more advice on this, please contact me or refer to my FREE Living Grain-Free 5 Day Challenge!!!
- Grass-fed, organic meat
- Wild caught fish/seafood
- Fresh fruits and veggies of all colors and varieties
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Nuts and seeds (in moderation)
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
- Cereal grains (rice, wheat, rye, barley, etc.)
- Beans, lentils, peanuts (proper cooking can remove some of the “risk” with these foods)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils (e.g. canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc)
What’s Important to You?
By going grain-free and only consuming natural foods, you’re preventing all of these toxins from entering your body. Therefore you’re boosting your health immediately and draining your body of toxins. You will also be boosting your immune system so that illness and disease stand no chance against your body!
Going Paleo is a personal choice that only you can make. Before you chug down that soda, be mindful of what it’s doing to your body. That food is creating a perfect environment for disease to enter and thrive.
For tips and tricks to help you kick grains to the curb, visit my Living Grain-Free 5 Day Challenge!!! Register now!