Paleo or Not? Your Ultimate Guide to Healthy, Simple Eating should always be to Focus on Eating Clean, Fresh Healthy Food.
Diet – Not necessarily a Positive word?
I don’t necessarily agree with diets as such, I believe in Balance, What Foods are Nutritionally Beneficial with Health Benefits to your Body. What Foods are Nutritionally Deficient with Harmful effects to your Health. Amongst this is also honouring people’s traditions that come with Celebrations involving Food and Eating.
I definitely don’t believe that one size fits all. Over my 26 plus years of practicing as a Naturopathic Practitioner many of my clients become quite distressed and confused about what foods to eat.
People often have individual cultural preferences, this needs to be taken into place when working with people regarding their dietary needs.
Where does Paleo Fit!
In the past few decades, our diets have changed dramatically. Processed foods are more common than fruits and vegetables, and it’s impossible to go more than a few miles down the road without spotting a dozen new fast food chains that have cropped up. Enter the Paleo diet plan, a diet that seeks to ditch the modern convenience foods in favor of the foods eaten by our ancestors. This is definitely a bonus when it comes to your health and preventing disease.
The Paleo diet has been associated with many health benefits from better blood sugar levels to reduced inflammation. Considered one of the best diet plans for weight loss because it’s high in protein and fat and emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, it may also increase a feeling of fullness and help correct nutrient deficiencies. Still, the diet has remained the subject of much controversy in recent years and there are some key factors to consider.
What is the Paleo Diet?
A simple definition of the Paleo diet is – Eating foods that were available to our hunter and gatherer ancestors thousands of years ago, during the Palaeolithic Age. During these times foods such as processed foods, refined grains and cereals weren’t even considered as part of the daily eating regime. Instead the daily eating plan consisted of fruits and vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds.
In relation to your health and the best support for your body to function efficiently is that these are the foods that you body was designed to eat while many of the heavily processed modern foods that have taken precedence in the daily diet today, is the major contributor to chronic disease and health problems. Looking at the Key Principles to Consider with the Paleo diet, with only a few to reject. Could be of great benefit and improvement in many areas of your health. For example: decrease in obesity, reduction of inflammation, prevention of diseases such as Cancer, Heart, Kidney and liver disease.
As it is essentially a grain-free diet, it tends to be lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and healthy fats that aren’t always included in other dietary plans. However, there are some things to consider as you will read below.
Key Principles to Consider & Some to Reject!
I like some of the Paleo principles regarding going back to basics , like eliminating processed foods, packaged, baked and fast foods, to replenish your daily eating with eating fresh foods directly from the land.
This has always been my first step when working with my clients in guiding them to healthy eating whether it be for weight loss or overcoming ill-health/disease. I have had my clients then going from eating packaged foods to going to the markets to buy fresh produce, that is a huge step for many. Nutrition and Diet have always been the key foundations I have used with supporting my clients return to health and wellness.
Detecting whether a Food Agrees or Disagrees with You
It is important to take notice of how you and your tummy feels after eating specific foods. I do encourage my clients to have lean cuts of meat not including the animal fat and dairy. After discussing this with many heart surgeons this is a major problem along with trans fats as to cause heart disease and blocked arteries.
Understand the Pros & Cons of the Food you Eat
I have found that by understanding the pros and cons of foods is the best way to make a conscious decision as to what will work best. Making healthy changes as a way of life.
Healthy Brain Support: Fish oil, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and green vegetables will protect the brain without bringing harm elsewhere.
I believe with diet there are some very basic rules but it all boils down to Fresh food is best: 70% of our daily intake being Vegetables, 5 – 10% fruit, 10 – 15% Animal protein limiting red meat to 2 – 3 times per week alternate days, Fish ( if people don’t like fish then maybe just a couple of vegetarian meals with nuts and seeds), and a couple of meals of chicken.
I have found that for most of my clients this works really well without too many dramas and they basically design their own eating regime.
Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet
1. Supports Healthy Weight Loss
Is the Paleo diet good for weight loss? Results may vary depending on the foods you choose to eat, quantities and as with any successfully, healthy weight loss, getting active plays an important role. By swapping processed foods and refined sugars for nutrient-rich proteins and healthy fats, this will help to eliminate empty calories, harmful foods that cause weight and kick-start weight loss.
Foods such as Fresh Vegetables, Fruits, Lean protein that are mentioned in the Paleo diet will help your weight loss. The Paleo diet encourages that your diet be that of 70% Vegetables and Fruit, which are high in slow-digesting fiber, along with healthy fats and protein, which increase satiety and reduce appetite.
Keep in mind not to keep weight loss as your only reason to begin eating a Healthier diet, otherwise you may well lose interest because when you are losing weight with dietary changes this takes time. Enjoy small accomplishments along the way other than just the weight loss, such as healthier skin, more energy, feeling happier and less bloated.
2. High in Protein
Getting enough protein in your diet is essential to maintaining overall health. Protein is vital for repairing and rebuilding tissue cells, maintaining normal blood sugar, transporting oxygen, healing wounds, and building muscle mass. Protein being one of the staples in the Paleo diet, begin filling your plate first with your vegetables [4- 5 of these] and include on your plate protein such as lean beef, lamb, pork, poultry and seafood, this protein portion size that is easy to remember is to be the size of the palm of your hand. This enables healthy digestion. Vegetarians can include soy, nuts, seeds and if not vegan eggs as their protein source. Root vegetables, beans, lentils, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, parsnips are all good sources of protein.
A protein deficiency can lead to many negative side effects such as low energy levels, decreased immunity, poor concentration and slow wound healing.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal bodily response triggered by the immune system to protect against foreign invaders. Prolonged or chronic inflammation, however, is at the root of most diseases, including chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
As the Paleo diet encourages eating plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which help neutralize the harmful free radicals that contribute to inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, nuts and seeds tend to be high in anti-inflammatory being part of your omega-3 fatty acids.
Reducing inflammation can also be beneficial in reducing symptoms of inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or ulcerative colitis.
4. Encourages Satiety
A major focus of the Paleo diet is about eating heart-healthy fats and proteins this encourages and supports satiety, therefore reducing your appetite.
Bearing in mind we are talking healthy fats here. Fat is digested very slowly, so it stays in the stomach for longer and keeps you feeling full. Meanwhile, a high-protein diet can reduce levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, to reduce appetite. Protein is also beneficial when it comes to kick-starting your metabolism and decreasing your calorie intake. With the Paleo diet discourages eating refined grains, processed and package foods, that are typically digested very quickly, leading to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels as well as increased levels of hunger.
5. Corrects Nutrient Deficiencies
One of the biggest benefits of the Paleo diet is that it prioritizes nutrient-dense foods over heavily processed or refined foods. These foods can supply important micronutrients that you may be missing from your diet, helping reduce a wide range of symptoms, from brain fog to chronic fatigue. The Paleo diet will help to correct nutrient deficiancies because of the inclusion of fresh, whole foods that are what is referred to as nutrient dense.
Consuming a diet that is high in packaged, processed and fast foods are rich in “empty calories” and are nutrient poor therefore leading to nutrient deficiancies, obesity and disease.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar
The Paleo diet is not typically a no-carbohydrate diet, however it does restrict the intake of refined carbohydrates that have a detrimental effect on your blood sugar levels, to replace these with Simple Carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, seeds, oats that have a positive impact on balancing your blood sugar levels, keeping them stable.
Research has found the Paleo diet to show greater improvements with improving blood sugar levels than the diet suggested by the Diabetic Association.
Of course, lifestyle factors also play an important role in diabetes prevention. In addition to making dietary modifications, exercising regularly, reducing stress levels and drinking plenty of water can also help you maintain normal blood sugar.
7. Supports Heart Health
New research is showing that the Paleo diet could be beneficial for heart health together with positive lifestyle changes. It has been shown to reduce several heart disease risk factors to help keep your heart healthy and strong. Being effective at increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol, which moves through the bloodstream clearing fatty plaque to help prevent atherosclerosis.
Foods to Include:
- Meat: grass-fed beef, lamb or pork
- Seafood: wild-caught salmon, trout, mackerel, haddock
- Poultry: free-range chicken, turkey, duck
- Fresh fruits: apples, oranges, berries, melons, pears
- Fresh vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, kale, asparagus, cucumbers
- Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts
- Seeds: flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Heart-healthy unrefined oils: olive, coconut, flaxseed, walnut and avocado oil
- Spices: turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, ginger, galangal
- Other – psyllium, oats, rice bran
Foods to Avoid:
- Peanuts, legumes and beans
- Refined sugar
- Refined vegetable oils
- Processed, Packaged and Fast Foods
- White potatoes
- Packaged cereals
- Sugar-sweetened, artificially sweetened soft drink and caffeinated beverages