Monday, May 25, 2015

Why Paleo?

[Lifestyle and Dietary]

The Paleo lifestyle takes our diet back to an earlier time, though not that long ago, when more if not all of our diet was more aligned with the hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic era) diet. I say lifestyle rather than diet to emphasize that this is a way of life, not a binge diet that you only apply for a limited period of time.  Having said that, this is quite an undertaking and discipline if one is to adhere to the guidelines of this diet.  The obvious question that follows is, "why take undertake this dietary lifestyle?"

It is thought that the Paleo lifestyle is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic and to have greater chances of avoiding the maladies resulting from our modern diet of processed foods, GMOs, pesticides, wheat, corn and sugar.

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, infertility and more.

  • You will eat a clean diet without additives, preservatives, or chemicals.
  • You do get the anti-inflammatory benefit from the plant nutrients in fruits, vegetables, oils, nuts, and seeds.
  • You will be eating more iron through increased red meat intake.
  • You will have improved satiety — a feeling of fullness between meals, due to the higher intake of protein and fats.
  • Most people will lose weight primarily due to the limited food choices.
  • You really cannot do this diet without investing more energy in becoming knowledgeable about healthy food, cooking and nutrition, but this knowledge is a good thing, and will likely make you crave for even more.
  • This eating plan can be very pricey.
  • You don’t eat any grains, whole or otherwise, which are good for health and energy.
  • Consuming no dairy foods is not great for your bones, so you will need to consciously seek other sources of calcium such as canned salmon, white beans and collard greens.
  • If you take away foods and nutrients and don’t find suitable replacements, you can create a nutrient imbalance, so you will need to be more knowledgeable about food and nutrition.
  • This diet can be really hard for vegetarians, especially since the diet excludes many types of beans.
What can you eat?
  • Lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, and buffalo (bison)
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fresh fruit
  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuce, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach
  • Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and pistachios (no peanuts)
  • Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower
  • Eggs
  • Plant-based oils, such as olive, walnut, grape seed, and coconut
  • So think about this list and ask yourself what you like and don’t like, because these are the foods you are going to be eating.
What can't you eat?
  • Grains, such as oats, wheat, barley, and rice — which means no cereal, bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, or granola bars   
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, as well as potato and corn chips, tortillas, and popcorn
  • Legumes or beans — so no peanuts or peanut butter; no soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu, or edamame, no hummus, black beans, or baked beans
  • All dairy products — so no milk, yogurt, cheese, or ice cream
  • High-fat meats, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, hot dogs, ground meat, rib roast, and ribs
  • Sugars, such as in soda, honey, jam or jelly, syrup, candy, cakes, cookies, and sports drinks
  • Processed foods or trans fats, such as doughnuts, french fries, fruit snacks, or mac and cheese
  • Salty foods, such as crackers, chips, pretzels, soy sauce, added-salt foods, or sports drinks

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