What Is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet eliminates grains, dairy, legumes, most sugar, and most processed foods while emphasizing high-quality vegetables and protein. It excludes potentially inflammatory foods from the diet and increases the proportion of nutrient-dense foods.

It’s simply healthy food.

Though Paleo derives its name from the Paleolithic period in which hunter-gatherer humans ate mostly meat, vegetables and some berries, the historical accuracy of the name is less important than the basic idea that eating an unprocessed, whole-food diet bodes better for well-being and longevity.

Like what?

Some examples of Paleo-friendly foods might include:

  • steamed leafy green vegetables

  • eggs

  • baked sweet potatoes

  • grass-fed beef

  • coconut oil

hands chopping veggies

What’s not included in the diet?

Some examples of Paleo-UNfriendly foods might include:

  • soymilk

  • breakfast cereal

  • spaghetti

  • frozen yogurt

  • canola oil

A rule of thumb when reading food labels (if a label is available at all!): If you can’t name the plant or animal the ingredient came from, it’s probably not a healthy food. When in doubt, eat more vegetables.

What about calories and fat?

True, the Paleo Diet is generally a lower-carbohydrate way of eating, but that is far from its focus. Paleo discourages counting calories, for the body does not process 100 calories of refined white sugar as it does 100 calories of butternut squash. My advice? Stop counting calories and start reading labels.

There are conflicting opinions in the Paleo community about whether fat intake should be in moderation, or whether it’s safe to consume as much as you’d like. Fat and cholesterol ARE absolutely necessary for healthy hormones, satiety, skin health, and brain function.

That being said, everyone’s biochemistry is different. Your friend might love consuming 4 tablespoons of bacon fat in one meal, but that amount might make you feel sick. As long as the fat comes from a good source—pastured tallow, extra virgin olive oil, or organic avocado oil, to name a few—you may need to experiment to find the right ratio of fat in your meal.

roast-chicken

Learn more

The Internet is rife with misinformation about Paleo, but there are also tons of respectable researchers who can give you a better picture of this way of living. The following are some of my favorite thought leaders in Paleo nutrition:

Because I’m a big fan of the whole find-what-works-for-you thing, here’s a final note about wellness and what it means to be healthy.

Go Paleo

If you’re interested in removing grains, dairy, unhealthy fats, and most sugar and processed food from your diet, inquire about my personal chef services. Many people report more energy, better sleep, fewer digestive issues, and increased mental function after eating Paleo for a month or more.

Personal chef services are designed to take some of the pressure and overwhelm off your shoulders as you adopt a whole-food diet. I’ll help you find satisfying alternatives to the foods you may miss from your old way of eating.