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Going Paleo: a Beginner's Guide to Doing it Right

Today, with so many diversified diets advertised both online and offline, it can be difficult to make the right choice for yourself.
What should you be eating to stay healthy and achieve whatever fitness goal you have set yourself, whether it’s to become stronger, get leaner, or simply lose a bit of weight?

An excellent companion to all aforementioned goals is the Paleo diet. We’re not going to get that deep into it in this article, but rather see what it’s generally all about, so that newcomers to this diet can have a basic understanding.

What is the Paleo diet?

As the name itself suggests, the Paleo diet aims to mimic the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate once upon a time.
What we refer to as the “Western diet” is a significant contributor to the rise of diseases such as obesity, various heart conditions, and even cancer. The Paleo diet has come forward as a way to counteract these effects, and help modern people live healthier lives with the aid of an ancient eating regime.

Its reported benefits include reduced inflammation, increased energy levels, stabilized blood sugar levels, and an overall reduced risk of chronic illness.

How to get started with the Paleo diet?

The main challenge with the Paleo diet is knowing what to eat and when. Although we’re certainly not about to go out and kill our own dinner, we’re still trying to mimic a certain lifestyle.

This will mostly mean laying off modern foods. In essence, you need to be cutting out everything that is overly processed, full of additives and artificial everything, and return to proper foods – foods that have been grown in someone’s garden or on a farm.

What to eat on the Paleo diet?

As you are focusing on wholesome meals without processed ingredients, you need to use a list of Paleo-friendly foods.
When it comes to meat, you can eat pretty much anything, but try to choose the leaner cuts, as they will be better for your health.
Don’t forget that you also need to include fish and seafood in your diet. Aim for wild-caught fish if you can find it.
In terms of veggies, you can basically eat anything you’d like. The same goes for fruits and nuts, as well as seeds and anything in the tuber family.

You need to be eating eggs as well (free-range, if you can), as well as salt and other herbs. Then there are also the fats you need in your diet, which should come from olive and coconut oil, as well as other organic, cold-pressed oils (like canola or flaxseed) and unprocessed animal fats.

Try to include more seasonal dishes in your meals, and keep yourself interested in what you’re cooking and eating. The Paleo diet is not boring at all – in fact, it can be incredibly diverse and tasty. You just need to give yourself enough time to prep the meals you actually like.

Always go for the organic option if you can – but if not, at least try to buy locally. That will not only be better for you, but it will be better for the environment as well.

What not to eat on the Paleo diet?

Try to avoid these edibles as much as you can:

● Sugar and corn syrup: essentially, soft drinks and fruit juices, candies, chocolates, pastries, and the like

● Grains: this will include bread and pasta

● Legumes: your beans and lentils, and everything else in the legume family

● Dairy: and anything that contains it

● Trans fats: found in processed foods such as margarine

● Artificial sweeteners: which can be found in most processed foods

The simplest rule to follow is not to eat anything that looks like it has been mass produced on a factory line. Remember, you are trying to eat like a caveman, so no high-tech meal replacements and easy shortcuts.
Do you have to stick to this all the time?

If you want to experience the full benefits of the Paleo diet, we’d advise sticking to the 80/20 rule: eat Paleo 80 percent of the time, and the remaining 20 can be filled with something more modern.

This does not mean going in for the Doritos as soon as you can. It’s more about adding back some wholegrain bread, pasta, and yoghurt into your diet, rather than reaching for the worst kind of processed item from the shelf.

Is Paleo the right diet for me?

The only person who can answer this question is you. If you are not feeling your best and think you need to change your diet, trying Paleo might be the right choice. As you up your protein intake and lower your sugar consumption, your body will certainly benefit from the change.

On the other hand, if the foods we have listed above don’t sound appetizing and you would rather find another avenue to boost your wellbeing, then Paleo might not be the best choice.

Giving it a try for a week or two won’t do you any harm, but it will give you enough time to gauge how it is impacting your body, and whether you like it or not.

Nick
Nick
Nutritionist and Health Enthusiast

I’m Nick – a nutrition enthusiast who takes his healthy lifestyle at heart, and an avid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete. Being the main author and founder of OrganicPowerFoods.com, I’m constantly looking to expand my experience and knowledge of food, health, sport, and organic living, so I can become the best version of myself, and help others achieve the same.

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