Paleo is a lifestyle, and a template for individuals to design their own diet comprised of real, whole foods. Everyone’s version of a paleo diet will be a bit different, based on their own individual needs. The idea of a paleo diet comes from our hunter-gatherer ancestors from the Paleolithic era. Our bodies are designed to eat real, whole, nutrient dense foods to give us energy and sustain life. Eating a proper diet helps the body function the best it can and helps to prevent the chronic diseases of modern society (cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc).
The Standard American Diet is full of “foods” that our bodies are not meant to eat, and turn our bodies into fat storing machines and lead to disease. The paleo diet will change your body from a fat storing machine to a fat burning machine. Eating the right foods will make you healthier, happier, have more energy and more confidence. A basic paleo diet is comprised of grass-fed/pasture raised meats (chicken, beef, pork, game, etc), wild caught seafood, pasture raised eggs, vegetables, and some nuts and seeds, and some fruit, as well as healthy fats (coconut oil, butter, ghee, olive oil).
You can use the basic template as an elimination diet to heal your body of toxins from troublesome foods you’ve been eating for years. After your body has reset, you may consider adding in other real foods to your diet that aren’t considered “strict paleo”. Some people choose to eat grass fed, full fat, raw (when possible) dairy products, potatoes, and even some grains such as rice or quinoa. You have to listen to your body and do what works for you, since everyone is different. I personally choose to eat red potatoes, and I have dairy products and quinoa occasionally.
Think of paleo as a guideline, not a strict set of rules.
Organic is the best option when choosing your vegetables, but don’t make yourself crazy over it. If you can’t afford or find everything organic, it’s okay. Just do the best you can and build the diet that is right for you. By eliminating grains, processed foods, sugar, soy, legumes, dairy, and unhealthy oils such as canola and corn oils, you will feel much better and be able to discover which foods are problematic for yourself. Below you will see a table of foods that are/aren’t allowed on a strict paleo diet.
|Foods Allowed||Foods to Avoid|
If you can’t afford organic, try to at least get organic for the Dirty Dozen (I added two, so it’s not really a dozen) – which are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Chart for most pesticide-laden produce and least:
|Dirty Dozen||Clean Fifteen|
I want to stress that paleo is NOT about weight loss, it is about health! When you change your eating habits weight loss is a great side effect but not the only measure of health. Since continuing on with my paleo lifestyle, my weight goes up and down. I still continue to enjoy the journey and give my body the proper fuel it deserves. Treat your body right and it will treat you right!