What is Paleo?

If you’re reading through my recipes you may or may not have noticed that none of these recipes contain any grains, among a few other ingredients.  Let me break down for you what the Paleo diet/lifestyle consists of and why it’s VITALLY important to your heath.

First of all, it’s a scientific fact that although humans have been on the planet for millions of years (there is data that suggests close to 4 million!), our genetic DNA makeup has not drastically changed throughout these years.  What has changed however, is our diet and the food that’s readily available to us.

At the dawn of the agricultural revolution, we were faced with a variety of changes.  The first of which was moving away from a nomadic life style to more sedentary, settled lifestyle.  This happened because we as a community discovered how to plant grains.  We discovered that although not nourishing or delicious by any means, we could survive, as families, in one place while sustaining and harvesting our own food supply.

The founders and leading physicians in this field have conclusive evidence that this was the demise of our health and beginning of the era of debilitating diseases.  Do you think cavemen died of diabetes, heart disease or cancer?  The answer is that they most definitely DID NOT.  Yes, they may have had a slightly smaller life span because a lion ripped their face skin off, but that’s pretty much the only conclusive evidence that shows that cavemen had short lives.  They were however, free of cavities and pretty much every other disease that you can think of that we face today.

Before I go on (because I know you’re fuming), let me ask you this.  What would you feed a lion?  An ant? A whale? I’m going to assume your answers fell into something like this: meat, plants and fish.  Right you are!  Now for another question, what do you feed humans?  What do you think we were designed to eat?  What do you suppose the “diet for human beings” is made up of?

I can assure you that the presence of trans fats in things like vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated soybean oil in Cheetos were NOT what we ate and are most definitely NOT what we were designed to eat.  The problem that we began to encounter as a people was that we discovered that a profit could be made by producing food in a more efficient and cost effective manner.  This brought on the onslaught of mass production of corn and other grains, feedlot raised and grain fed meat and a vast variety of food that we can’t even pronounce the ingredients that they’re made up of.

Doesn’t this strike anyone as odd?  That the convergence of the agricultural revolution, debilitating disease and the morbid obesity of our society have led us to become the #44th most unhealthy country in the world as well as the #1 consumer of pharmaceutical drugs?  This is not a coincidence people! It’s our diet! It’s gonna hurt to hear, but we’ve brought this upon ourselves.   Furthermore (so that I may take a nice little jab at the pharmaceutical companies-bring it bitches!), shouldn’t we be the #1 most healthy country if we consume so many drugs? OH WAIT, I forgot, these drugs are killing us almost as fast as our diet is.

When is the last time you had a physician ask you WHY you were experiencing a certain symptom? When was the last time they prescribed you a drug?  In my case, I’ve never had anyone ask me WHY they thought I was experiencing a symptom and I’ve had COUNTLESS drugs prescribed to me.  Why didn’t they ask me about my diet?  It turns out that my anxiety, chronic headaches, fatigue, stress and low sex drive were ALL TO DO WITH MY DIET.  An idol of mine, Beverly Meyer, who hosts an amazing radio talk show called “Primal Diet, Modern Health” lives by a mantra.  That mantra is “FOOD FIRST.”  Yes, we should be looking at food first for why we’re not sleeping well, have acne, have anxiety, are depressed, have mood swings, experience intense menstrual cramps, have body aches and joint stiffness, diabetes, have suffered from a heart attacks, have skin rashes and I could keep going but I need to K.I.S.S.  My conclusion here, is that for all of the maladies that we face, we need to take a look at what we put into our bodies first, end of story.

Here is what the Paleo diet/lifestyle does not include:

  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No processed food
  • No sugar (other than that from fruit)
  • No dairy

I know right now you’re thinking.  Holy SHITE BALLS! What do you eat then? What’s so bad about grains, my box of Cheerios says that whole grains lower my risk for heart disease.  I’ll tell you what I eat shortly, you can also look at every single recipe I’ve ever posted on this blog and get a good idea (smirk :P) but yes, let’s talk about grains.

The problem with the foods above is that they are inflammatory.  In one way or another, by one scientific reaction or another, they. are. inflammatory.  Inflammatory foods induce a variety of responses in our body.  Auto immune, insulin resistance, Cortisol production and many others (come on kids, I’ve spent the last 8 months of my life researching this but am in no way a doctor.  If you want to get super technical check out the links below in my references section, most notably Chris Kresser).  By eating inflammatory foods we are subjecting ourselves to a life of of pain and disease.

On that happy hippy hoppy note, let’s talk about what you CAN eat and why this lifestyle can change your life like it did mine.

Say YES TO:

  • Grass fed beef, free range chicken, happy vegetarian diet fed piggys
  • All the vegetables you can imagine
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Seeds

Do you see a pattern?  Maybe that this looks a lot like what we may have ate when we were all “ooga boooga?” lol.  I digress.

Let’s talk about Omegas! Or…let’s let the expert talk about the Omega essential fatty acids.  DO NOT SKIP THIS READ, if you do- you are filthy cheater who is hell-bent on denying yourself of education and therefore squashing any hopes or dreams of quality personal development :).

Now for my success story.  I started out with a variety of ailments as mentioned above.  I was a recent non smoker of about 10 years and HATED my body and how I felt every day.  It’s been almost a year, I’ve dropped about 13% body fat, 30 lbs and literally can spring out of bed every day.  Go ahead, google Paleo success stories and see for yourself.  Please take note that I’m not a psycho-no-funner, I have a cheat meal once a week and still struggle with giving up the wine.  But I bust my ass at Crossfit, 4 and sometimes 5 times a week.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a comment.  I also do giveaways and contests here and love to hear from my readers. I’d love for you all to check out the links below as I’ve found these incredibly educational, they’ve changed my life.

Live to Thrive,

Lauren

Whole 30 Challenge

Mark’s Daily Apple

The Paleo Solution

Beverly Meyer

Chris Kresser

Nom Nom Paleo

Health Bent

PaleOMG

6 Responses to “What is Paleo?”

  1. Angela Drake April 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi sweetie, it’s your New Orleans dancing buddy! I have been overweight all my life. I am forty with a 16 yr old and 2 year old. I’m tired all the time. This is very interesting but also overwhelming, how do I even get started…

    • sheshredss April 10, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Hi Angela! So glad you read my blog! I was right where you were minus the child, trust me. It seems infuriating that NOTHING works in terms of diets and not to mention, they leave us unsatisfied, still overweight and even moreso, bitchy lol.

      The key to remember with Paleo, especially when you’re starting out is to ADD things first. This is especially important when you have a child/other mouths to feed. So you don’t start WWIII, add things first instead of just taking away your husband’s favorite macaroni and cheese casserole. Check out “Everyday Paleo,” she has a great blog and talks a lot about starting the Paleo lifestyle with kids etc.

      To be more specific and while keeping mind that one of the main goals is to cut out grains completely (wheat, rice, barley, pasta, polenta, corn etc), start by adding in some healthy fat and extra meat. When I was eating a non Paleo diet my plate was typically split up into 1/3’s. Meat, veggie, starch/grain. Now my plate is typically meat, veggie, veggie or meat meat veggie. Try serving a larger portion of meat and a very small size of the pasta/grain. You can also buy some good quality grass fed butter or ghee and slather it on an extra large serving of your family’s favorite veggie. REMEMBER- FAT IS NOT THE ENEMY!! GRAINS AND SUGAR ARE!

      SUGAR:
      Cut out the sugar, purge your cabinets but before you do and start WWIII, start subbing fruit and honey and dark chocolate for sweets. I also LOVE coconut dream’s coconut milk ice cream :). Sugar is causing a slow death in us and ESPECIALLY our kids.

      REAL FOOD:
      Another thing to think about is eating REAL food. This means absolutely zero processed food (except for a weekly cheat meal). A good rule of thumb is if it has a nutrition label on it, skip it. I realize that’s scary but use this rule as a bench mark. Thinks like mustard, vinegar and butter will obviously have a nutrition label (and these are all Paleo friendly items), you get my point.

      VEGGIES AND FAT:
      Next step is to get creative with veggies and good fat. Think roasted asparagus with coconut oil, sauteed Brussels sprouts in bacon grease. Mmmmm, I have lots of recipes here but google “paleo recipes” and you’ll find thousands. Absolutely NO vegetable, peanut or corn oil. This stuff was just simply not around when we were Cavewomen, it’s poison. Olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, walnut oil, grassfed butter and lard are all a-okay.

      MEAT:
      As for the meat, start to get choosy about the quality and type of meats you’re buying. One of the most profound differences in our modern diet and that of our ancestors is the quality of our meat. Cows aren’t supposed to eat corn meal and be confined to a 8×10 box. But they are and the meat they produce (and nutrients they therefore pass to us) is poor. The ratio of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s is profoundly unbalanced. Grass fed beef, free range chicken and pigs, wild caught fish etc. have almost a perfect balance of Omega 3-6, 1:1. One of the main problems in our modern diet is that we get WAY too much Omega 6 and too little Omega 3, consider taking a high quality fish oil supplement and watch your mood, memory, sex drive and energy go through the roof!! Also, go forth- have a love affair with bacon. Buy good quality, nitrite and nitrate free bacon and add it to anything you can think of. This is a good segway for the family.

      EGGS:
      Make friends with them, omega 3 enriched, cage free. Fry them and put them atop a ground lamb and turkey stuffed bell pepper. Hardboil them and put them in salads, scramble them and serve them in an Asian lettuce wrap. Eggs are an amazing source of protein. Feel free to giggle at the fools that get egg white omelets. lol

      DAIRY:
      Keep the dairy to a minimum (no you are not depriving your kids or family of Calcium. Milk DOES NOT do a body good, especially the nasty shit we buy at the supermarkets. Our diets are so imbalanced typically that we don’t even absorb the Calcium in a glass of milk, another slap-in-the-face marketing ploy by corporate America). If your family is in love with milk, consider raw milk and cheeses from the farmers market. I find that dairy is congestive, contains high levels of Omegas 6’s and makes me poop weird, so I don’t do it.

      LEGUMES
      No legumes (beans, peanuts etc). They’re inflammatory and gut irritants. A healthy gut is a happy gut (and is the main reason for the weight loss effect when living a Paleo lifestyle). If you must eat legumes, ferment them.

      ALCOHOL:
      Cut back on the booze, especially if you want to loose weight. Drink vodka or tequila and soda with lime. NO sugary drinks, no white wine, drink a little red if you must (white wine has almost 2x as much sugar as red).

      MOVE:
      High intensity interval training, Tabata, Cross Fit (google those). DO NOT kill yourself for an hour on the treadmill.

      All in all, as you remove the grains/pasta, sugar, legumes, processed foods and bad oils go NUTS on veggies, meats, nuts, fat and fruit. Remind yourself that you are making a change for your family that can cure a VARIETY of ailments and will facilitate a healthy and happy life. Repeat the phrase “food first,” when asking yourself why you have chronic headaches, why your kid is always sick or has mood swings, why your husband’s joints ache. All of these symptoms lead back to diet. We are what we eat and it effects every CELL in our body. How do you think our cells are able to perform if we’ve just ingested a big mac? A handful of kale chips?

      Also, check out these links below for some helpful information:

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-baby-steps-to-help-you-get-primal/#axzz1reZrW31K
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-living-transition-six-easy-steps/#axzz1rea4ZgBa
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/clean-your-pantry-for-health/#axzz1rea4ZgBa
      http://chriskresser.com/the-saturated-fat-myth-debunked-in-two-minutes-and-thirty-five-seconds
      http://primaldietradio.com/

      Ask me questions and ask me LOTS of them! I’m happy to answer (obviously).

      Live to Thrive!
      xoxoox

      • Angela Drake April 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

        Thanks, I’ll start looking into it
        and I’m sure I’ll have tons of questions!

      • sheshredss April 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        Excellent!! Good for you, I’m sure you’ll be so happy you did! xoxo

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. From the Vault! « She Shredss - May 16, 2012

    […] What is Paleo? […]

  2. How to “GO” Paleo « She Shredss - May 30, 2012

    […] What is Paleo? […]

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