What food to eat?
Eating the Paleo Diet means no counting calories, portion control, keeping a food diary or eating at set times of the day. You eat when you are hungry and enough to sustain you (not until you are so full you can’t move) and you feel satisfied.
By imitating as best we can the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors (the caveman diet) with foods either purchased at the supermarket or grown in our very own backyard, you will begin to experience the many health benefits in no time. Freedom from obesity, increased energy levels and optimal health.
The Paleo Diet means largely consuming the following;
- Eating lots of grass feed lean meat, free range poultry or wild fresh caught seafood, without adding lots of added fat while cooking.
- Eat moderate amounts of eggs as they are relatively high in fat more so than protein.
- Enjoy eating plentiful amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit, aim for 50% of your food intake daily to consist of these nutrient dense foods. Initially it may be beneficial to eat more berries as part of your fruit intake as they are lower in natural sugar, if weight loss is not an issue for you, than eat as much fruit as you desire.
- Eating nuts and seeds in moderation is advised, as they are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, again if you are actively losing weight you should eat only 4 ounces a day until your metabolism increases (concentrated sources of fat has the potential to slow metabolism).
- Eat only the healthy fats and oils that are good for us, such as olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil (my favourite), tarrow, butter or ghee (it’s clarified)
IDEALLY EVERY MEAL =
LEAN MEAT + VEGETABLES & FRUIT + NUTS & SEEDS + HEALTHY OILS
It is important to remember the high protein content of the Paleo Diet is the key to many of it’s weight loss benefits. Protein helps you loose weight faster by boosting your metabolism while simultaneously blunting your hunger. The above image is ideally what the Paleo food pyramid would look like, entirely different to the one our authorities recommend.
Beverages that are best kept to a minimum or to be consumed in moderation are tea and coffee, and of course with no added sugar. Drink black preferably, however I’m sure the odd ‘dash’ of milk won’t hurt you greatly if you enjoy a cappuccino like me. The other beverage we all like to enjoy on the odd occasion is alcohol, there is nothing to suggest enjoying an occasional beer or glass of wine is detrimental to our health, unless abused in large quantities. There are many scientific studies suggesting a glass or two of red wine per week has been shown to have many health benefits such as lowering the risk of dying from heart disease and there is no evidence that our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t drink any form of alcoholic beverage. However less is always best!
Make sure you drink plenty of water, it always taste nice with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Freshly squeeze your own orange juice and make delicious smoothies with all natural fruit right from your own blender at home.
Additionally foods to eat only in moderation are dried fruits or nuts mixed with dried fruit particularly if you are wanting to actively loose weight. While Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Walnut and Flaxseed oils are the better oils for you, they are also fats and it is best to keep all fat consumption to moderate levels.
Whilst the following image of Fred Flintstone looking excited, salivating over what appears to be a very large hamburger may seem a little amusing, our ancestors did not eat this way. Meaty burgers in bread were certainly not on the menu!
What foods to avoid?
The following foods are what you should ultimately avoid all together while on the Paleo Diet. In planning to begin a Paleo Diet and eliminating the following foods you may like to try doing so one at a time instead of going cold turkey, gradually wean them from your diet.
- Processed foods it is important to note almost all products contain a mix of added sugars, some form of starch, trans fats, dairy products, added preservatives, colouring and flavourings, it is some of these additives that are questionably dangerous to consume. Processed food to avoid are your processed meats and salamis, ham, sausages, deli meats, canned foods including fish and meat, commercially processed salad dressings and condiments, tomato and BBQ sauce (ketchup). Whilst initially it may seem daunting to give up processed food think of the money you will save and ultimately the affect it will have on your health to not purchase these items in your next grocery shop.
- Dairy foods such as cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream, whole milk, skim milk, low fat milk and cream should be eliminated from your diet including all processed foods made with any dairy products i.e. dips and spreads.
- Cereals and grains found in so many foods are not a part of the Paleo diet, barley, corn (corn syrup, corn tortillas, corn chips), millet, oats, rice (all rice including wild, rice noodles, rice cakes, rice flour), rye (bread, crackers), sorghum.
- Wheat, all forms of bread products, muffins, noodles, pasta, pastry sweets, crackers, biscuits.
- Legumes should be avoided, all beans, chickpeas, black-eyed beans, lentils, peas, snow peas, soybeans and all soybean products.
- Starchy vegetables (tubers) should be very limited in you diet if at all, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava root, manioc, tapioca pudding and yarns.
- Sugar and one so many of us may find the hardest to eliminate from our diet due the sweet tooth we have developed over time. This mean no more soft drinks, commercially produced fruit juices, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, caster sugar, raw sugar, white and brown sugar and honey.
So while there is a long list of foods to avoid, there is equally a long list of foods you can enjoy. And the Paleo diet in my opinion is not as restrictive as I first thought.
With the aid of so many Paleo Cookbooks and websites for you to reference different Paleo meals, it won’t be long and you will be eating healthy in no time. Alternatively you may like to browse through various eCookbooks for recipes and meal planning.