What Is The Paleo Diet?
There are more diets out there than one can count, with new ones popping up every year. Most fall in the "fad diet" category and fizzle out quickly because they simply don't work. Some approach dieting as a temporary solution to achieving a specific goal and others make sustainable dietary changes that are intended to address health concerns gradually over time.
Back in 2012 there was one diet in particular that exploded in popularity. Sometimes referred to as the hunter-gatherer or caveman diet, the paleo diet is a nutritional approach that focuses on eating unprocessed, nutrient rich foods found in nature that mimic what our prehistoric ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era. The paleo approach is based on the belief that our bodies have not adapted to the way most foods are processed today.
So where does paleo fit into the dieting paradigm? Is it just another fad, or is it here to stay? Let's take a closer look.
What are Paleo Friendly Foods?
Paleo-friendly foods include:
- Meat (grass-fed & unprocessed)
- Eggs (from pasture raised chickens)
- Fish (wild caught)
- Vegetables (fresh)
- Fruit (fresh)
- Seeds and herbs
- Healthy oils like olive, avocado, and coconut
- Natural forms of unrefined sugar (honey, agave, etc)
Foods not considered paleo:
- Grains (like oats and wheat)
- Legumes (like beans and peanuts)
- Processes foods (of any kind)
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Refined vegetable oils (like palm and canola)
- Margarine and trans fats
- Alcohol and soft drinks
The number one thing to avoid on a paleo diet is processed foods. For those following the standard American diet, in which everything is processed, this can be quite the challenge. In addition to avoiding all processed foods, paleo also calls for the elimination of grains, legumes, dairy and sugar.
The Health Benefits of Following a Paleo Friendly Diet
Many people find the paleo diet appealing for weight-loss reasons. Others become interested in the paleo diet because they are experiencing some type of health issue - most often related to inflammation caused by the consumption of processed foods.
Initially, there can be some side effects from eliminating processed foods from one's diet. Some people get headaches and don’t feel good for the first couple of days as the body is attempting to detoxify from all the processed food. However, after the initial shock, most realize how much better they feel on a paleo diet, which is a major benefit that goes beyond just weight loss.
Paleo is an effective therapeutic diet for those that are experiencing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular issues, and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that the paleo diet helps improve several metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors - like blood pressure, glucose tolerance, weight, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol. It can also help stabilize blood sugar, which is a huge issue for so many people these days. Additionally, those on a paleo diet often experience improved digestion and cognition.
Overall, most that follow a paleo diet just feel better in general. When people eliminate processed foods from their diets, they often report having more energy and feeling more motivated. And as is often the case when we're more aware of what we’re putting in our bodies, healthy lifestyle choices typically follow.
In contrast to some of the short-lived, unsustainable diets that seem to pop up being touted as the next silver bullet, we believe paleo encompasses a lifestyle that is here to stay.
Organicly’s Paleo Promise
While we typically don’t advocate for any specific diet, we love paleo eating because of the healthy lifestyle that it represents. As a result, all of our baking mixes are paleo-friendly. No processed ingredients. No grains, no legumes, no dairy, no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. And yet, they're delicious! Additionally, we've taken the benefits of paleo eating a step further by only using organic-certified ingredients.