Every January I cleanse myself. This requires a detox – kind of like my own form of ‘Lent’, where I refrain from alcohol, coffee, and sweets. I also incorporate some version of a cleanse, which changes shape every year as I try different types to see which one provides me with the best results. This year I decided to commit myself 100% to the Paleo Diet, and the results were fascinating.
The Paleolithic Diet is designed to mimic our evolutionary makeup – to eat how our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate prior to the agricultural revolution. Our society today is saturated with processed food, mass-produced meat, grains, and other foods that our bodies’ are not designed to process, inevitably taking a huge toll on our health. In fact, DNA evidence reveals that we have the basic human physiology of our Stone Age ancestors. Evolution takes millions of years, and the modern American diet is only a few hundred years old. In other words, our Paleolithic bodies have not caught up to our modern diet – and the result is a boom of chronic, degenerative diseases such as High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Obesity, Cancer, and Diabetes.
Our Paleolithic ancestors acquired their nutrition from very different sources than we do today. Their carbohydrates came from wild fruits and vegetables. Their protein came from lean animal protein, and their fats came from nuts, seeds, meat, and natural oils. Here are the fundamentals of the Paleo Diet:
- · Lean meats & fish (wild fish, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, organic)
- · Fruits & Vegetables
- · Nuts, Seeds, & healthy oils (Extra Virgin Olive, Flax, Coconut)
- · No Grains, Dairy or Soy
- · No processed food
Lean protein helps you lose weight, curb appetite, and keep energy levels more consistent throughout the day, as the blood-sugar spikes of the modern diet are eliminated. As opposed to mass-produced meat (which is high in the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats), lean, organic meat is rich in Omega-3 fats (which are anti-inflammatory and healthy for the Nervous System). The Paleo Diet is high in fiber (helping digestion), high in minerals and nutrients, and low in sodium & sugar. Furthermore, you are actually encouraged to take a ‘cheat day’, so you can temporarily spike your blood-sugar, serving to keep your body in an adaptive state. All nutritional content that we rely on in food can be obtained through the Paleo Diet alone.
My results from the January trial were just as advertised. I found that my usual post-meal comas were gone and I had consistent energy throughout the day. My sleep was much improved, my workouts more productive, and my digestion better than ever. I lost about 3 lbs, which is modest – but my body became much more lean. I estimate that I lost about 7 lbs of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle.
My fiancé and I found dozens of Paleo recipes that are easy to make and absolutely delicious! At the end of the month, the only question that remained was: why don’t I eat like this year-round? Well, it’s hard to come up with a reason not to, so that is exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t anticipate being as strict as I was during this past month, but I plan on incorporating the Paleolithic principles as a lifestyle, rather than an experimental fad. I encourage you to try it and see what the hype is all about. Among all the diets that are out there, this is the one that is best supported by both science and common sense…and I like things that make sense.
To see a real-life testimonial on how the Paleo diet can change the life of you and your family, check out this entry from my friend and Paleo blogger Joy Dvorak. Her story is extraordinary:
To learn more about the Paleo diet & lifestyle, see these resources:
‘The Paleo Diet” ~Loren Cordain
“The Paleo Solution” ~Robb Wolf
“Primal Blueprint” ~Mark Sisson