So, what is this Paleo lifestyle, diet thing all about?
“Paleo” is short for Paleolithic, but the name is actually less important than the power of the overall health approach. Basically, imagine what the cave (wo)men used to chow down on and that’s the new diet that has crazed conscious eaters all over the country.
Paleo or the cavemen diet, as it’s more commonly know as, is simply about 1) eating whole foods that provide better fuel for your body and 2) avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods that deteriorate the goodies in your body, especially your tummy, that keep you healthy, energized and above all, feeling good!
This means avoiding grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar and pasteurized dairy products. Many people believe eating whole food is hard and limiting, but it is actually more manageable than you might imagine. In fact, some of the most surprising Paleo favorites include: butter, red meats and most alcohols. Nevertheless, with a Paleo diet comes a shift in your eating habits and limiting items such as processed carbohydrates, cheese, and alcohols.
Guideline to Paleo foods:
1) Eat whole foods
2) Avoid foods that are modern, processed and refined. Basically, anything in a bag or packaging
3) Eat as close to nature as possible!
4) Avoid foods that cause stress for your body
5) Eat nutrient-dense foods to maintain energy levels
6) Enjoy your food and hold positive thoughts while consuming it!
True story, I knocked the Paleo diet before I even tried it because I read that red wine and pasta were big no-nos. And my Italian-bred mother doesn’t trust diets that exclude those two traditional ingredients.
I was eager to try the diet and see if I could stick with it for a bit. So, I tried Paleo like the adventurous cavewoman that I am - and I have to admit, I did feel a difference, even within a few days. My energy levels and digestion were the first to be affected. I was full of zest and felt very sharp every morning. Also, my stomach was not as bloated and full like it normally is after eating.
Then came the change of appearance in my skin, nails and hair. Skin was glowing, nails were stronger and hair shiner. I combined Paleo with exercise and lots of water everyday and as a result, I felt less sluggish getting up every morning and more alert during the day.
The one complaint I have about Paleo is that the grocery bill is a bit expensive. Avoiding simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread, the cheapest items in markets, and buying preferably fresh organic vegetables, fruits and nuts, grass-fed meats, and flour and dairy supplements such as almond meal and coconut milk left your wallet empty and your craving for pizza spike when you passed a joint on your walk home. The strict Paleo does not settle for anything less than organic, grass-fed, local, cage-free, you get the point. Unless you are able to grow your own produce and make most of your foods in your kitchen, these foods can become costly at your local organic supermarket.
Nevertheless, I dare you to try the Paleo Challenge for at least two weeks. Trust me you’ll learn a lot about your body, what it needs and doesn’t, and it will make you more cognizant of what foodstuffs you put in it. I believe that if I attempted to change my lifestyle to consume strict Paleo foods then I would experience serious long-term benefits both mentally and physically.
Of course, there is not one particular diet which is ‘right’ for any one, but simply taking the time to explore and alter what you put into your body can have incredible benefits - often by eliminating or adding the simplest nutrients.
Stay tuned for my favorite Paleo recipes that you can try in your own kitchen!
KENDALL grew up in New England, yet started traveling at a young age and developed an internal compass which has grown into a voracious appetite for exploration. Throughout her travels learned to foster an open-mind, be kind to everyone and never just take one picture, but thousands. She is passionate about writing, photography and being around those she holds near and dear to her heart. Follow her here: www.instagram.com/kennie_lane