The Paleo diet is perfect for maintaining good health and for supporting treatment and avoiding conditions such as gastro-intestinal disturbances, malabsorption, autoimmune diseases, blood sugar regulation, inflammation, and weight management. However, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about what the Paleo Diet is and how best to do it.
The Paleo diet today emphasizes animal proteins, nut and seeds, fungi, roots, veggies and fruits, while excluding grains, dairy and legumes and limiting sugar consumption. A healthy Paleo diet also includes fatty cuts of meat, organ meats, bone broths, and traditional fats. It’s what we call “head to tail” use of the animal. In addition to complete use of sustainably raised animals, the diet should include ample vegetables, roots, nuts and seeds and some fruit. These would preferably come from local, seasonal and organic sources.
The Paleo diet attempts to mimic how our ancestors ate for millions of years, prior to the agricultural revolution, and especially before the introduction of modern industrial foods. Our ancestors hunted and gathered their food. They consumed the entire game animal and, gathered small animals, nut and seeds, fungi, roots, veggies and fruits. Their diet did not include dairy, grains and legumes. Those became part of the human diet once people started cultivating the land and domesticating animals. Sugar was limited to an occasional bee hives find or nectar from flowers and fruit in season.
Many people find the Paleo diet healing and restorative. They feel better, lose weight, and regain their health providing they do it right. What does it mean to do it right? In a nut shell doing it right simply is focusing on nutrient dense foods, using a-head-to-tail, farm-to table approach, while avoiding processed foods. By eating nutrient dense foods and removing harmful and toxic food from the diet, the body can heal.
Here are six tips to starting a Paleo diet, please contact me for more guidance as you start this new lifestyle:
- Consume wild caught fish, organic or better yet pasture raised animals and animal products. These sources are clean and have higher nutrition value. The most important organic foods to buy are animal products – meat, poultry, dairy, eggs and butter. The reason is that toxins are stored in the fat cells and therefore are abundant in conventionally raised animal and animal products.
- Buy organic produce and prioritize the dirty dozen. Check out the dirty dozen list for the most heavily contaminated fruits and vegetables and make those a priority and either buy them organic or avoid them. Consider a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce. Being a member of a CSA is beneficial because it saves time on shopping and you get the freshest produce and delicious heirloom varieties typically not available at the market. If organic produce is not in your budget, make sure you use a special produce cleaner that safely removes the toxins from the food. Eat Cleaner is a green produce cleaner that effectively removes 99% of the surface pesticides and bacteria. Keep some at home.
- Eat healthy fats: your body needs healthy fats for proper brain function, hormone regulation, energy, healthy skin and hair and more. Wild caught fish and pastured animals for example have a much better distribution of healthy omega 3s fatty acids than inflammatory omega 6’s which are prevalent in the Standard American Diet. A healthy Paleo diet will include cooking with traditional fats from pasture raised animals rather than highly processed industrial seed oils which are also inflammatory. For a highly recommended source or grass fed and pastured animal traditional fats click The fear of cholesterol and saturated fats, still widely accepted by the medical community, has been discredited. New research has shown that a high carbohydrate/sugar diet, as well as consumption of industrial seed oils is actually linked to inflammation and causes diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, it has been found that dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol.
- Reduce carbohydrates and eliminate refined foods. Over the past 30 years as Americans increased refined carbohydrates as part of the low-fat diet craze and this has had disastrous consequences for the health and waistlines of many Americans.
- Reduce or avoid processed foods. If your grandmother did not recognize this as food, it probably is not healthy.
- Make intelligent choices: a cookie is a cookie is a cookie! Just because a baked good it “Paleo Friendly” does not make it a health food.
Many of my clients have found the Paleo diet wonderfully healing and health promoting. If you are interested in improving your overall health or using diet to help treat or avoid chronic disease and address weight management, please contact me to learn more and see how you can benefit from a Paleo diet.
Check out the list of best Paleo books on my recommended book list