Monday, February 13, 2012

So, What is Paleo? Why Try It?

What did cavemen eat?  Well, contrary to popular belief, I wasn't around back then, so I can't say for sure.  Fortunately for the world, (I need sarcasm font) science believes it has figured it out.  That is what this Paleo lifestyle (not a diet they say) is all about.  They feel our "ancestors" lived healthier lifestyle than we do today, mainly due to the foods they ate.  Once again, I wasn't there so I can't vouch for that.  I also know that they were not my ancestors.  Why then would I want to eat like them.  I mean they were probably scavengers as well as hunters and that does not appeal to me at all.  And the first time the hubby tries to drag me somewhere by my hair, well, let's just say that will be the last time he does it too!  I digress.  Again, why would I want to eat like a caveman?  In a few words-maybe I can lose some weight and feel a little more energetic.

Here it is as simply as I can put it:
-cavemen were hunter/gathers and did not farm, there for they would have eaten very little, if any, grain, legumes, dairy, or concentrated sweets (sugar, honey, maple syrup).
--since they did not farm or raise livestock their meats would have been wild and subsisted on a grass diet, not one of grains.  Their fish and seafood would have also been wild and not farm raised.  This also means they would have had more omega-3 acids in their meat.
--They would not have had access to processed foods.  No Twinkies, not TV dinners, no Buffalo Wild Wings (poor guys).  They also have eaten a lot of raw foods.  Very simple meals.

What busy mom these days wouldn't love to have simple meals all the time?  Sounds good to me.  And raw foods means less cooking, therefore less clean up.  Right? 

So here are some things to avoid in your Paleo lifestyle (not a diet, remember):

--Grains-even ancient grains, sprouted grains, and grain-like seeds-buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa
--dairy products-all dairy products (I will miss you cheese)
--legumes-beans, peas, peanuts, lentils, miso, soybeans
--Starchy veggies-potatoes (sweet too), starchy tubers, tapioca (that will be a hard one, not)
--Salty foods-condiments, bacon, processed meats, olives
--fatty meats-bacon, ribs, fatty cuts of meat, lamb
--fruit juice
--concentrated sweets, including honey and maple syrup (although these two can be used in strict moderation), candy, cookies cakes
--anything containing any of these products

Now you are thinking "Great!  What can I have?  That is my entire diet!"  I know, that is the typical American diet (lifestyle).  Here you go:

--lean meats of any kind-preferably grass fed or free range, organ meats also
--wild or game meats-bison, deer, elk, fish, turkey
--eggs-about 1 a day, remember, for cavemen these would have been seasonal
--Nuts and seeds-but not peanuts, they are a legumes.  Walnuts are the best.  You want a good ratio of omega 6/omega 3
--flax seed and it's oil
--low glycemic fruits and veggies-basically stay away from the starchy veggies.
--dried fruits in moderation

The Paleo Diet-Loren Cordain, PhD is a great reference book.  It has a lot of info and some good recipe ideas.  I would recommend reading through it if you are interested.  Also check out  This mom and Crossfitter has some great recipes and info on her site.  She also has some personal examples of how it has affected her family's life since they started eating this way.

Two more day of the American diet  and then I will try this new lifestyle  Will I stick with it?  I don't know.  I may only make it two days and then decide I want my dairy.  Especially my cheese.  One day at a time for the next 30 is what I am aiming for.  I'll have some more info in my next post. 


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