The Paleo diet. These three words stimulate a range of thoughts and emotions. For some, this phrase is nothing more than a “fad diet.” For many others, including myself, the Paleo diet was the beginning of a new life – a life filled with health, vitality and mental clarity. Throughout the past several years, I’ve become the “Paleo Guru” among my friends and family.
Although I’ve been asked millions of questions regarding the Paleo lifestyle, the most commonly asked question is also the most complicated – What is the Paleo Diet?
Even though the question seems simple enough, the answer is far from it. I’ve dedicated my life to helping others understand the value of the Paleo diet, but to do this, we must all hold a factual understanding of what the Paleo lifestyle entails. What I’ve uncovered throughout my research has literally changed my life.
The Fundamental Principles of The Paleo Diet
America has a health problem. Actually, we have many problems; however, the foundation which the health and obesity epidemic is built upon is based in our diet. The modern Western diet is far from what our ancestors consumed.
The Paleo diet was created to alter the way modern humans eat by returning to the nutritional profiles of our earliest ancestors. Commonly referred to as the Paleolithic diet or a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the Paleo diet calls upon organic, wholesome food choices while actively avoiding modern industrialized foods.
For a thorough explanation of the Paleo diet and why it’s important, watch this video by Professor Loren Cordain, Ph.D, one of the founders of the Paleo diet and the foremost expert in evolutionary diets.
Principle #1 – Protein Intake
Protein is the primary building block for a healthy body. Every cell in our body requires high-quality, lean proteins to properly operate. Unfortunately, the bulk of the Western diet is comprised of not only unhealthy (non-organic) protein sources, but we are consuming far less than what our bodies require.
The average American diet is comprised of 15 percent of our total caloric intake, which is substantially less than our ancestors, whose caloric intake was roughly 19 to 35 percent from lean protein sources. The Paleo diet actively works to reduce this deficit by supporting greater, and higher-quality, protein intake.
Principle #2 – Carbohydrates
The primary carbohydrate source of the Paleo diet comes from non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Roughly 35 to 45 percent of daily caloric intake comes from these sources.
Organic, non-starchy fruits and vegetables feature low glycemic indexes. Therefore, these foods are digested slowly and help prevent dangerous blood sugar level spikes.
Principle #3 – Fiber
Principle #4 – Fat Intake
For decades, the American diet was constructed to reduce overall fat intake. The popularity of “low-fat” foods engrossed the nation and our food products.
Yet total fat content has been proven to not be the cause of an increase in cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. Instead, it’s the type of fat you consume. The Paleo diet eliminates harmful fats, such as trans fats, and increases healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and Omega-3.
Regaining Health and Longevity – The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is far from a complex fad diet. Instead, this lifestyle plan instructs followers to eliminate complex foods and replace them with simple, wholesome nutritional sources. Making a lifestyle change is always challenging. However, unlike many “diets” I tried in the past, once you understand the fundamental principles of the Paleo diet, you’ll soon find implementing them into your life becomes second nature.
It all begins with a question. Don’t allow your confusion inhibit a positive change in your life. If you have any questions about the Paleo lifestyle, leave us a comment. Together, we can reshape our world and our health.