Paleo 101 covers the basics of Paleo in today's world. From your typical meal to the ideal Paleo lifestyle, we've covered all bases!
Just breathe. This shouldn't be stressful. Don't start all at once. Don't put pressure on yourself to have a perfect diet.
Whether you're a Paleo advocate or you're new to Paleo and trying to understand the fundamentals, we've created a basic guide to help you follow, share and use during your Paleo lifestyle journey.
Lesson 1: The Paleo Diet
- It is an eating plan based on real food.
- It is adaptable to your health goals; whether it is weight loss, performance, or disease control.
- The Paleo Diet is customizable to your unique metabolic needs.
- It is an anti-inflammatory diet and great for autoimmune sufferers.
- It is founded on what our Paleolithic ancestors ate, but is applicable in today’s world with the real, whole, unprocessed foods available to us in the present.
Lesson 2: My Paleo Plate
Well, what exactly does a typical Paleo meal even look like? It's simple - quality protein, veggies and some fruit are all you need to get started. Of course, these ingredients should be seasonal, local and include high quality ingredients you can get your hands on; meaning grass fed, organic, non-GMO, etc.
Lesson 3: The Benefits of a Paleo Diet
- An improvement in metabolic conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and hyper tension.
- Inflammation reduction resulting in:
- fewer allergies
- fewer aches and pains
- better skin
- reduction in anxiety or depression
- less bloating or gas
- increased level of happiness.
- Increased energy levels.
- Weight loss and/or optimal weight maintenance and body composition
- Better sleep patterns.
- Reduced cravings
- Reduced blood sugar fluctuations
Lesson 4: What to Eat
- The best quality animal foods available to you.
- Grass fed, wild or pastured is best, organic is next best, followed by antibiotic and hormone free. This includes beef, pork, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, wild game and organ meats.
- The best quality green and leafy veggies. Local and/or organic is best if possible.
- Starchy vegetables are also allowed with quantities depending on your individual needs and goals.
- The best quality fruits. Local and/or organic is best, if possible.
- Organic, well-sourced healthy fats.
- Saturated fats including lard, tallow and duck fat (from healthy, ethically raised animals), coconut oil and ghee.
- Unsaturated cold pressed, extra virgin oils including olive oil, avocado oil and some nut oils.
- Nuts and seeds in moderate amounts including unsweetened coconut, raw almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans cashews, sun flower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Lots of water.
- Bone broth
You can also enjoy small amounts of
- Natural unprocessed sugars like raw honey, pure maple syrup, Coconut sugar or nectar, Stevia.
- Caffeine - depending your sensitivity.
- Wine and clear liquors like vodka, gin or tequila.
- Choose mixers without processed sugars like club soda and/or fresh fruit juice.
- Dark chocolate
Lesson 5: What Not To Eat
- Grains, especially gluten containing grains like wheat, millet, barley and rye to name a few.
- Grains are found in bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, cakes, most processed foods.
- Soy, especially processed soy products.
- Soy milk and Soy based protein powders are highly processed, contain too much estrogen and cause hormone disruption.
- Legumes including beans, pulses and peanuts.
- These contain lectins and other anti-nutrients that can be difficult to digest and promote inflammation.
- Industrial seed oils like soybean oil, cotton seed oil, canola oil, corn oil etc.
- These are highly processed at high heats that cause free radical damage.
- Processed sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Agave nectar is one to avoid as well.
- Dairy can be highly inflammatory. Dairy intolerance is not only experienced as digestive issues and can also include congestion, headaches, skin issues and brain fog.
- Processed foods
- Avoid packaged sauces, dressings, side dishes, granola and protein bars and packaged snack foods.
- Raw dairy is best, while organic and full fat is second. Low fat dairy is not considered a whole, real food and should be avoided.
- Safe starches or grains like, quinoa, buckwheat, white rice or white potatoes.
- Once in a while these can be a nice departure from other Paleo starches like sweet potatoes rutabagas, parsnips and other root vegetable. Consumption will depend on energy expenditure and personal needs and goals.
Lesson 6: Paleo is More Than Just Food
Paleo is so much more than a diet. Although the food plan is a large part of the program, movement and lifestyle modifications further enhance the benefits you will experience.
Smart exercise is an important component of Paleo. The focus is on weight-bearing loads, mobility and slow, sustained movement.
Sleep is an integral part of a Paleo lifestyle, as it promotes recovery and is pivotal in the body’s overall performance level. Good sleep hygiene includes:
- limiting exposure to artificial light after sundown to reduce disruption of the circadian rhythm
- sleeping for at least eight hours whenever possible in a dark, cool room, preferably aligned with the cycles of the sun.
Intelligent sun exposure boosts production of vitamin D, a hormone crucial to most of the body’s chemical pathways. The Paleo lifestyle encourages responsible sun exposure for its positive effects on mood stabilization, hormonal regulation and overall health.
Managing stress is important and a key factor in mitigating the onset of disease. Taking control of your stress results in improved neurological and cortisol responses and contributes to a better quality of life.
A Paleo lifestyle also includes using the most natural products and accoutrements you can find, including personal care products and home cleaning essentials. As with your food, check your ingredients and know what you are putting on your body and in your home.
Lesson 7: Starting Your Paleo Lifestyle
- Educate yourself. Sometimes truly understanding the impact of your food choices on your health and wellbeing makes it easier to let go of certain ‘favorites’.
- Decide if you want to begin gradually, a little at a time, or jump in with both feet and take in all on in one giant leap.
- Preparation is key! Modern lifestyles focus on easy, abundant access to foods that are cheap, fast and unfortunately often detrimental to your health. Shop in bulk or on a weekly schedule, with a list. Use Pete’s Paleo for convenient, chef prepared meals made with quality Paleo ingredients; which can be customized to your goals and needs.
- Patience. Give it time. It can take a few weeks to establish new routines and habits. Take this time to notice beneficial changes and for inflammation to truly subside.
The Paleo concept embodies both diet and lifestyle choices. It really is that simple. At first, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available and the changes you may have to make. Once you begin your journey, you will quickly become aware of how well and positively your body, mind and spirit will adapt to these changes.
Health is a journey, and focusing on the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle will allow you to enjoy the ride.
Looking to get started on your Paleo journey? Let Pete's Paleo be your first stop on your process. We get it - this can be a bit overwhelming. But, look. We're here to help! We have 5 meals, 10 meals and 14 meal plans. All you have to do is reheat our pre-made meals and serve!
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com