If you asked me to put a title on my diet these days, I’d probably say somewhere between paleo & plant based. I’m not quite one and not fully committed to the other. Overall, I have a few things I generally don’t eat and even more than I just try to avoid. But people love labels. So since I’ve previously spoken a fair amount about vegan & anti-inflammatory diets, I thought I’d add another into the series. Let’s chat about the paleo diet.
WHAT IS A PALEO DIET?
I’ve heard it called a few different things such as the caveman diet but a paleo diet thrives on the idea of whole foods. You don’t eat processed items, refined sugars, dairy, legumes (beans, peanuts, lentils, etc) and refined vegetable oils. It focuses on high protein in take and a lower carb in take.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
A paleo diet focus on meats, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, nuts & seeds. It’s very whole foods based with no refined or processed foods. For example, if you wanted to have a spaghetti & meatball dinner, you would have to swap out the noodles for something like zoodles and leave off the dairy. The lack of grains & legumes means you’re more likely to substitute vegetables in your meals. But it also means that you’re going to be eating a lower carb diet.
HOW LIVABLE IS THE DIET?
Paleo has grown in popularity over the last several years. So more and more products that are marked or considered paleo are available. I’m a big fan of the Birch Bender’s pancake mix* and Siete’s Tortilla Chips*. There are also alternative options for sweets like chocolate and cookies. If you’re considering a paleo diet but are concerned that you’ll be limited in food options, don’t worry.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The paleo diet is geared towards a healthier lifestyle. You’re more likely to focus on eating whole foods and not so much junk. Because it’s so minimally processed, a paleo diet provides you with the opportunity to focus in on loads of micronutrients. There is also the potentially benefit of weight loss and minimizing the risk of disease.
WHERE DO I START?
Personally, I’ve always found that people have the hardest time giving up carbs and dairy. So if you’re looking to make the change, I’d start there. Incorporate more unsweetened non-dairy milks like coconut or almond milk. If you have already tried out vegetable noodles, consider investing in a spiralizer* or picking up some pre-spiraled ones in the produce section. The easiest way to transition a diet is to make it not seem so overwhelming. Find alternatives for your favorite foods or a paleo version of your favorite recipe. That way when you’re craving a classic comfort food you won’t feel so deprived.
Where can I learn more?
While I’m sure there are tons of resources for this diet, there is an entire website dedicated to all things paleo. You can find helpful recipes, a breakdown of what to eat and even more articles there.
What else should I know?
A paleo diet is great if you’re looking to cut down on the processed stuff in your life. But like any diet, if it’s not balanced it can be unhealthy. Eating a diet filled with meats and healthy fats without veggies isn’t healthy. If you’re considering trying a paleo diet, I’d recommend trying out a few meals and before making the transition. And as always, be sure to consult with a doctor before making any crazy changes.