Paleo for Beginners, Part 1
If you’ve been reading our blogs, there’s a chance you’re already familiar with the Paleo diet. There may be some of you that have already been doing it for years; there may others of you that are interested in Paleo and its benefits but simply don’t know where to begin. If you fall into the latter camp - or if you just need a refresher - this blog is for you!
So, for starters, what is Paleo really about?
The Paleo Diet (also known as the “caveman diet”) is pretty straightforward. It’s all about balancing what you eat and getting back to better - more specifically, eliminating more processed and unhealthy elements from your diet. Paleo is essentially based on the idea that we ought to eat a diet similar to how our ancestors ate thousands of years ago, before mass agriculture. That excludes foods like dairy, processed grains, legumes, and pretty much all highly-processed artificial foods. There are certain foods within the Paleo diet that are permitted in moderation, like red wine and dark chocolate, due to how they are made and their health benefits. Both red wine and dark chocolate, for example, are rich in antioxidants and minerals and are believed to reduce inflammation.
But even beyond that, we at Caveman Foods believe being Paleo encompasses more than just eating habits; in truth, we here at Caveman believe that Paleo means getting back to better and getting back to healthy in all facets of life, from things as mundane as taking the stairs instead of the elevator to how we interact with people; such as socializing with others instead of watching TV at home (though we won’t blame you for that last one right now).
So why might someone try out a Paleo lifestyle? For starters, the benefits that accompany adopting a Paleo diet and lifestyle are aligned with other whole food diets. This includes lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, decreased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and increased energy and well-being. Adopting Paleo may also be a good idea for individuals with autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, or Celiac, since Paleo already excludes many “trigger foods” for individuals with these conditions. Plus, Paleo is a great option for active people looking to lose a few extra pounds because of the diet’s focus on low carbs, high protein, and whole foods.
Following a strict Paleo diet blindly is not something we recommend. To make sure you are getting all of the nutritional value you need (e.g. plenty of vitamin D and calcium), we recommend a few steps: supplement your diet with a good multivitamin, drink plenty of water, and ensure that you are eating enough fiber on a daily basis. These side effects typically stem from extremely strict adherence to Paleo; in the real world, we believe in maintaining balance - so there’s no need to torture yourself over your diet. Listen to your body! And as always, make sure you consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting any new diet or exercise regiment.
In the next part of our Paleo for Beginners guide, we’ll look into what a typical day in the life of a Paleo dieter looks like. For now, you can check out our previous blogs on Paleo dieting, like this piece on how other diet plans stack up against the Paleo diet. Or, you can check out some of the wonderfully yummy snacks we have in our store, like our delicious Grain-Free Granola that has no grains, gluten, soy, or GMOs.
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