paleo 101

June 6, 2013

Guess where I am?!?!?
If you guessed Colorado, you’re right. You win a paleo cookie.

My husband and I made the big move out west and arrived Sunday evening. The west is beautiful. The drive out here was long. 28 hours long. I thought of it like a chipper WOD. It was something that has to get done no matter what. It was going to be long and not the most fun but when it was over, I felt accomplished. I have never driven longer than 6 hours before. We broke it up into a 3 day trip. My husband drove a big U-Haul with his car towed behind and I followed with puppy in my car. I was able to catch up on all of the Balanced Bites podcast episodes I’ve missed and I started listening to The Paleo View. Oh my gosh. This podcast is awesome! I have recently discovered who the Paleo Parents are and then learned of their podcast on our cross country trip. If you’re like me and hardly listen to the radio (because most popular music is junk now), I highly recommend The Paleo View.

It is so nice living 15 minutes from Whole Foods, Sprout, and Natural Grocer. I am in paleo heaven. But this left me realizing, a lot of my readers may not know what exactly a paleo lifestyle includes. I recently came across an article that listed all of the ways paleo is bad and half way through the article I thought, none of this is true. It said there was no salt in our eating (they must have never seen Real Salt because I put that on everything) and we only ate veggies of certain colors. The article also stated that we eat no carbs. I don’t know about you but I love sweet potatoes and I know those have carbs.

So what is paleo? I’ve seen several catchy things on Pinterest describing paleo. Here’s my favorites:

Paleo is fruits, veggies, meats, seafood, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, little starch, no sugar, no grains, no processed foods. If the food doesn’t naturally grow from the ground, run far far away and never look back. (Example: Cheetos, Cheerios, and Oreos.) One question I get a lot of is “why aren’t legumes (beans) paleo?” Okay, so paleo is all about being the healthiest you that you can be. The foods “allowed” in the paleo lifestyle (If one more person calls it a diet I’m going to start politely correcting them) are meant to not irritate your body. Remember the old elementary school saying “beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot”? There’s a reason that beans aren’t paleo and it’s because that tooting is a symptom of an irritated tummy. For most people, paleo delivers the best results for their bodies. The paleo guru Rob Wolf says, “Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pail from autoimmunity is proof enough.”

Is paleo for everyone? In the broad sense, yes. More specifically, no. This answer is twofold for several reasons. Paleo foods include a lot of things that can irritate someone. For example, many who have an autoimmune disease are irritated by nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant), but nightshades are a paleo friendly food. Although paleo can work for everyone, you may have to find a protocol that works. Practical Paleo has some awesome outlines of different paleo protocol such as one for autoimmune, blood sugar regulation, fat loss (not everyone can chow down on nuts and seeds all day), and athletic preformance.

If you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you probably know about my love of fermented foods. However, when I first started eating paleo, I could not tolerate fermented foods because my gut was not happy with me. Foods that irritate me (besides gluten) include rice and beans. Foods which Jonathan and I ate a lot of when we went full blown gluten free. I had to stay away from kombucha and kraut while I first started following paleo until my gut was happy again. (No, rice is not paleo. Yes, I know it’s natural. I promise to do a whole post dedicated to this later. For now, you can just be mad at me for not giving an explanation.) Now that my gut is free from legumes and rice, I eat my fermented foods daily. In fact, I just finished off my breakfast that included kombucha and kraut when I started this post.

I know you can probably find a lot of reasons that say paleo is not good. But let me stress it one more time, you have to find what works for you. Some people cannot eat nuts and seeds all day long without gaining a lot of weight. Some people cannot eat nightshades. And some people have to limit their sugar intake from fruits and honey, even though the paleo lifestyle does not restrict you to a certain amount of anything each day. Everyone has a different body and digestive system and food history. But I can guarantee, you will feel more energetic, more fit, and more alert after one week of eating paleo than you would after eating one week of the Standard American Diet.

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