“Paleo” is a term that’s been growing tremendously in the past few years within the fitness industry. We can often see or hear of “The Paleo Diet” on social media, fitness websites, magazines, and even in our neighborhood gyms. But what is the paleo diet and what benefits can come from such a plan? Let us help to shine a light on what it is for you.
What is the paleo diet?
The paleo diet, in broad strokes, is essentially eating as our ancestors once did; before the age of supermarkets and branded foods. People who follow the paleo diet eat foods that can only be either hunted or found – meats, fruits, eggs, vegetables, fish, oils, chicken, greens, nuts, etc. Any processed foods are a big no no…chips, pasta, cereal, cookies, all of it’s got to go.
The method behind the madness regarding the paleo diet is based off of the thought of having a homo sapien-like stature. When we think of homo sapiens, we think of fit, muscular, and agile individuals who were able to hunt every day; It wasn’t until humans discovered using agriculture as a way of life that things began to change.Ever since our species began to farm, our progression to settle down and become more advanced as a society has ironically led us to live a more unhealthyNow, when thinking of the average individual, we often think of being overweight, stressed, and just completely unhealthy overall.
Ever since our species began to farm, our progression into established settlements and becoming more advanced as a society has ironically led us to live a more unhealthy lifestyle. Now, when thinking of the average individual, we often think of being overweight, stressed, and just completely unhealthy overall. Our bodies never adapted to all the extra grains (carbs) that we started farming, and for good reason. Our way of living’s changed, but unfortunately, our genetics have not caught up with us. And since we’ve become so dependent on having so many servings of some type of grain with our meals, it’s only led us to become fatter and fatter for each day that passes by.
Grains are Grimey
So as we’ve learned, grains are pretty bad if you’re looking to lose some fat. Grains are essentially just a ton of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose, or sugar, in our bodies and are used for energy! However, if you were to take in too much glucose, instead of turning into energy, it will just turn into fat instead.
Furthermore, grains also contain what’s known as gluten and lectins. Gluten is interestingly enough a type of protein, but can only be found in grains such as wheat and barley. Unfortunately, it’s been said that a majority of the human race may actually be gluten-intolerant, which is why more and more “gluten-free!” products are on the rise. Those who are gluten-intolerant may be at risk of certain medical conditions, like acid reflux, joint pain, dermatitis, and more. Lectins, on the other hand, are natural toxins contained within grains that fight against consumption…which essentially means that they don’t like to be eaten. Lectins can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract (the pathway that stretches from your mouth all the way to your anus,) and can cause a number of problems if ingested.
Lesson of the day? Grains may taste good, but they’re very, very bad.
Elimination = Efficiency
The paleo diet’s goal is to completely eliminate all sugars, grains, and processed foods. Unless the sugar is coming from a natural source, like some type of fruit, it should not be ingested. Many studies, like this one, show that by eliminating these three factors from your diet, you can dramatically help your body to avoid some major diseases.
If you’re worried about losing energy throughout the day because of eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, don’t. Our bodies are naturally designed to function on a low amount of carbohydrates as it is, so it should not be a problem whatsoever. This doesn’t mean that all carbs are bad, however; we just mean to encourage getting your fill of carbohydrates from healthier sources, such as vegetables, fruits, or sweet potatoes.
As far as dairy is concerned, most paleo dieters tend to avoid eating it. Just as the majority of people are glucose-intolerant, there is a portion of the population that is lactose-intolerant…which gives off some signs that humans should most likely try and stay away from it. Think about it too, can you name any other species that continues to drink milk after the infant stage? No? Then why should humans…
Eliminating processed foods, sugars, and grains from your diet may seem like a downer, but it also provides two big positive sides to life. The first is that you can eat as much as you want (sort of,) and the second is you’ll no longer have to count your calories. Rather than counting your calories, the paleo diet encourages the dieter to make their calories count instead. 200 calories of french fries are not the same as 200 calories of celery. You can still count your calories if you so choose (perhaps if you’re looking to cut some weight), but the more efficient of a source you’re eating from, the less you’ll have to worry about your calories having a negative effect on your body.
As foreign as it may seem at first, the paleo diet has been getting increasingly popular year after year, and for good reason. This diet also works very well for those who follow an “intermittent fasting” pattern of eating. If your goal is to lose fat or become more lean, consider giving this diet a shot!