Paleo… WHAT?

Paleolithic DietAtkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig… all diets claim to be the best. The list grows every year, and yet so do the waistlines of an overwhelming number of Americans. While these diet plans serve their respective purposes and are often successful in helping people lose weight, most of them include a shocking amount of toxic chemicals and artificial ingredients.

It’s no surprise that the conventional American diet is not working. Statistics show that over a third of Americans 20 years of age and older are classified as obese. The same studies show that when we combine the classifications of obese and overweight, we find that 2 in 3 American adults are above healthy limits. Sadly, our food and diets are literally killing us. Many of the diseases we see today can be treated, sometimes even eliminated, by a shift in what we eat.

Let’s take a look at the origin of the word “diet.” According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “in Greek diaita, literally means manner of living” (2013). Our way of living should be in our diet, not our status or our income, but our diet. We’ve heard it since grade school: “You are what you eat.” If you eat well, you live well and you feel well. On the other hand, if you eat poorly you will live poorly.

Enter the Paleolithic Diet
Dr. Loren Cordain, leading expert on Paleolithic diets and founder of the Paleo movement, describes: “The Paleo Diet is based upon eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on.”

Ok, so what does that mean?
In the Paleo manner of living, the foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-fed or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu and, as such, are not a part of the Paleo diet.

Today, it has become ever more difficult to find true organic whole foods. Most of what we find in grocery stores has already been processed in some way. So in this modern world we attempt to mimic the food groups of the Paleolithic era. Organic, grass-fed, locally grown, or grown yourself are all great ways to ensure best possible whole food nutrition.

Guidelines to help understand the Paleo lifestyle:

High protien
Meats, seafood and other animal products.

Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index
Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables.

High fiber intake
No, this is not whole grains. In fact non-starchy vegetables and some fruit contain more fiber than whole grains and refined grains.

Fat and oils
Yes, that right, fat. Increase the intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6. Almonds, nuts, coconut oil, avocado and flaxseed oil.

High potassium and lower sodium
Unprocessed foods naturally contain 5-10 times more potassium than sodium. The average American diet contains twice as much sodium as potassium.

Benefits of Paleo
It is up to us to feed our bodies in a way that is either healing, beneficial and healthy, or damaging, harmful and unhealthy. Through a clean-eating strategy that essentially boils down to meat and plants, the Paleolithic diet helps the body reach an optimal state for wellness .

There are plethora of articles, personal stories and books written about the health benefits of the Paleo diet. The benefits include increase energy, increased mental clarity, improved sleep, lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease and lower risk of cancer, among many others. Benefits to athletes include increased fitness and muscle growth, lower body fat percentages, and natural anti-inflammatory benefits.

The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. No matter what physical ailment or infirmity you are presently facing, from those few extra pounds you just can’t seme to lose to serious health conditions such as diabetes or cancer, healing starts with your diet. Research the benefits of the clean eating prescribed by the Paleo diet, and learn to start healing your body from within through its proven methods.

Edwin Morales is the owner of Crossfit CVI in Pompano Beach. He is an ex-military and law enforcement officer, and is passionate about helping people from all walks of life achieve their health and fitness goals. For more information, visit crossfitcvi.com, call 954-972-4284 or email [email protected]

Sources Dr. Loren Cordian: thepaleodiet.com. Rob Wolff: robbwolf.com

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