When you first start living the paleo lifestyle, the first thing that you will need to know is what you can eat and what you need to avoid. This lifestyle is all about losing the unhealthy foods so many of us are used to. Instead, you will be eating food in its most natural state. A healthier, natural way of eating that will leave you feeling lighter and stronger than you have ever felt before.
What will you lose?
Any processed foods, refined sugars, or refined vegetable oils. But they won’t be missed for long.
As far as fruits and vegetables, you can eat anything that is in its natural state. Canned items should be avoided because they often contain hidden additives and toxins. The same goes for anything that is not organic. If it isn’t the way you would find it in nature, it is best to avoid it.
Contrary to everything we are told, grains are not always good for our bodies. Even though they represent a big chunk of the US government’s suggested food pyramid, grains are actually not good for you. Food made from grain, such as bread or pasta, have a very high carbohydrate content and contain anti-nutrients such as lectins and gluten.
Carbohydrates are one of the main triggers for insulin release, which can put a stop to fat burning and lead to obesity or diabetes. Take a good look at the amount of grain in the typical modern diet and you don’t have to wonder why these two health concerns are becoming epidemics.
It isn’t just grains that need to be avoided, any meat that has been grain fed should be avoided too.
Dairy is a bit of a complicated point of the Paleo scale. The tipping point lies in the level at which dairy is processed. Overly processed dairy such as 2% or fat free milk is definitely not Paleo, but in its most natural form dairy from grass-fed cows technically falls within Paleo requirements. Items like grass-fed butter, full fat yogurt and cheese, or organic whole milk all may seem like they should be Paleo – but there are still some other factors that you’ll want to consider before eating.
For instance, in addition to the insulin response, dairy also contains the anti-nutrient casein and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. When you take all of this into consideration, it is easy to see why most paleo dieters write off dairy and move on.
All meat is considered paleo, but only if it is from grass-fed organic stock. Much like dairy, the quality and nutritional values of meat are entirely dependent upon the animal it came from. If the meat on your plate is not organic, it is likely high in saturated fats and contaminants that are not part of the paleo diet.
Organic and free range meats are lower in unhealthy fats and provide an important source of lean protein, all important in eating paleo.
If you ever find yourself wondering whether or not a favorite food is paleo, you can usually get your answer by asking one simple question: Is it something that a caveman might have eaten? Overly processed foods like hotdogs, macaroni, or jelly beans certainly can’t be found in the wild.
If your plate is full of natural foods that might have been accessible to ancient man, then it is fair to assume that it is paleo approved.