I’ve hopped around from “diet” to “diet” a lot the past year or so. Being diagnosed with IBS (including having to go gluten and lactose free) in June of 2016 has pushed me towards a keto, bulletproof and paleo-ish “diet” (I use the term “diet” loosely here — not as a means of restriction or deprivation, but more along the lines of a way of eating). While I have strong feelings against the keto (great for quick fat loss, but turns you into a zombie long-term) and bulletproof diets (IF or Intermittent Fasting isn’t healthy either), turning paleo-ish is something I’ve adapted to well.
First, let’s look at what exactly it means to eat mostly paleo.
The Paleo foods that you eat are essential for your success on the Paleo diet. If you aren’t eating a diet that is high in protein and full of healthy carbs (fruit and veggies) and healthy fats, then you’ll never see the full results of eating Paleo. After all, this diet is hinged on you ‘eating like a caveman’, meaning that you need to eat foods that come from the earth in their purest form.
For instance, instead of eating an egg sandwich in the morning, you will just eat the egg. Instead of adding milk to your coffee, you will drink it black, and instead of a steak and cheese sub you will just have the steak. When you are eating Paleo foods, you are eliminating things like processed foods, sugars, and most dairy products. These things are unhealthy, and they won’t be able to give you the nutrition that your body needs to stay strong and healthy.
But that doesn’t mean that you will not be satisfied when you eat Paleo foods, in fact you’ll be quite satisfied. The Paleo diet calls for a lot of protein and this is a crucial reason that so many people have success when eating Paleo foods. Protein not only makes you feel full, but it also causes your body to break down your fat cells. In other words, when you have enough protein you will be less hungry and your body will constantly be breaking down old fat cells. #Bonus!
This is why grass fed lean meat is big on the Paleo diet foods list. When an animal is grass fed, it means that they are able to eat the diet that nature intended for them to eat, mostly grass. So when you then eat the grass fed meat all of those essential nutrients are then passed to you.
What else is on a Paleo diet?
Organic fruits and vegetables are also essential Paleo foods. Not only are organic fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients and hydration, but they are also full of flavour. Most of us aren’t taught to combine our fruits or vegetables. Instead we eat as little as we can on the side of whatever our main meal is. But when you are doing the Paleo diet, foods like these will become your new best friend. For example, instead of having corn as a side dish with your plain hamburger, why not cut that hamburger into cubes and add it to a large salad filled with tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, avocado, cucumber and spinach? Not only will you be getting the protein and flavour of the meat, but you’ll also be consuming a healthy amount of yummy, nutrient-filled vegetables.
Nuts and seeds are also essential Paleo foods. One of the hardest things about sticking to a diet is getting through the workday or taking long trips. These are both times when you are away from home and away from your healthy foods. When this happens, you are more likely to eat something unhealthy and lose all of the progress you have made.
But if you keep nuts and seeds with you at all times, these Paleo foods will be sure to keep you on your healthy eating path. Not only are they easy to pack, but they can also be stored at room temperature and they last a long time. Some people even keep a bag of mixed nuts in their car for those times when they get hungry while on the road. Plus, knowing that nut butters are a good thing on your diet?? #DoubleBonus!!
If you are thinking of eating Paleo or even paleo-ish, but you have no idea where to start, stick with these easy to find Paleo foods. And remember, you’re eating in a way that is going to change your life, but you have to stick to it to really see results. Don’t be scared to experiment with the Paleo diet until you come up with recipes that will work for you.
Why I’m Paleo-ish
I say I eat a Paleo-ish diet as I do eat legumes, beans and lentils from time to time, which are No-no’s on the Paleo diet. For me, they fill in nicely for rice or pasta, but I do limit my intake of them. Why? Because they contain lectins which can damage the gut lining, which increases inflammation. And when you are trying to keep your gut happy…you take extra measures to do so!
So while I do toss chickpeas in a stir-fry or top my salads with black beans 1-3 times a week, I stick mostly to meat (protein), fruit (1 serving/day at most), and veggies (except corn, potatoes and other high-starch/GMO options). I eat lots of nuts (sliced almonds are my current fave) and get my peanut butter fix from PB2 (powdered peanut butter — you must try it!). I choose powdered PB as peanuts do not agree with me; much of the population in North America have a mild-high intolerance of them, myself included!
Does this mean I eat red meat?
You bet your bottom dollar I do! But I do eat leaner cuts of steak, lean or extra lean ground beef and love a good bison steak from time to time (I live about 25 minutes from a buffalo farm so bison is easy to come by around here). But I don’t eat it on the daily; I have it 2-3x/week at most. I also eat lots of turkey and chicken and my fave fish is salmon.
What benefits have I seen so far from eating Paleo-ish?
I see the most benefits in my digestion. I have less gas (except when I consume whey protein as it’s a dairy derivative) and am fuller longer. I’ve also noticed it’s quite easy to eat this way as most restaurants are happy to remove a baked potato in lieu of extra veggies, and salads are always on the menu. Just be careful of those sneaky unhealthy fats in store/restaurant made salad dressings. 😉
Would I recommend eating Paleo for my clients?
For most of my 1:1 clients I suggested a well-rounded clean eating meal plan, which includes whole grains and rice as their main carb source. Why? Because many times my new clients are not used to eating healthy, and need to adapt to clean eating slowly.
After a certain amount of time, if they hit a plateau or experience digestive distress (and have been to their doctor), we sometimes look at alternative ways of eating, but it’s not the norm.
Eating Paleo-ish works for me. And it may or may not work for you. But out of all the “diets” out there today, it is one that makes sense to and for my needs. Always look at those reasons for eating a certain way, not just jumping on the latest food craze or celebrity diet. It may do you more harm than good.
Do you eat Paleo? Or Paleo-ish? Have you tried a keto or bulletproof-type diet? What were your results? What was your experience like? Share in the comments b’low this post!