Before you start drinking the paleo Kool Aid, you’re probably still wondering: what exactly is paleo?
If you do a simple Google search of the term “paleo,” you will receive over 11 million hits (as of typing this). For anyone just starting out, that is probably a bit daunting. You are thinking: Where do I start? Which sites can I trust? Why does one say I can eat butter and one doesn’t? Can I eat dairy or can’t I? How are there so many paleo desserts?!
So, here is yet another take on paleo– mine:
Paleo, as with any diet, is an entirely personal experience. It can (and should) be modified to your body. That being said, there are obviously some general guidelines to follow. Typically, paleo people do not eat grains, sugar or processed foods.
“But,” you might be wondering, “how are there paleo desserts?” Because there are ways to make things like chocolate chip cookies with much healthier ingredients than the norm. That being said, sugar is sugar and your body processes it all the same whether you use natural honey or white sugar. Paleo desserts, just like any other dessert, should be eaten in moderation. What you’re not going to see a lot of on my blog is dessert recipes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not have a sweet tooth. I have no interest in spending the time and money to bake up a paleo dessert when I will be just as satisfied with a square of dark chocolate or spoonful of almond butter.
Another big one: most paleo people do not eat dairy. I happen to from time to time. I have done the Whole 30 diet, which requires you to basically cut everything out of your diet and start from scratch. You slowly, one by one, reintroduce foods back into your diet. By doing this, I learned what foods my body can handle and what it can’t. It is a great starting point, but it is incredibly difficult.
So, what can you eat?
- Meat. Lots of meat. Most paleo sites will direct you to eat only grass-fed meat, but to be honest it is hard to find and pretty pricey (at least where I live). If nothing else, I try to stick with the non-hormone loaded meats. When I say meat, I mean all types: beef, turkey, chicken, duck, lamb, and fish.
- Vegetables. Fresh or frozen.
- Oils. Natural oils like avocado, coconut and olive are best. Avoid processed oils like canola.
- Healthy Fats. Avocado, butter, ghee and the above mentioned oils fall under this category.
- Fruits. Fruit has natural sugar, and like I said before, sugar is sugar. So fruits should be eaten in moderation.
- Nuts. As with most things, moderation is key here.
Paleo can be much, much more complicated than this. Like I said, it’s really what you make of it. I chose to keep it simple. My life is way too busy to try and complicate my diet too.