Long before there was a Starbucks on every corner—starting around 2.6 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago—our early human ancestors survived off of nourishment hunted and gathered off the land. This approach to diet is now more commonly known as Paleo (or “Paleolithic” for Stone Age). The Paleo diet is heavy on protein and healthy fats and low on carbs, with no trans fats, preservatives or artificial sugars.
The Paleo diet is very popular among athletes and fitness experts, and boasts many health benefits including weight loss and weight maintenance, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. By following a Paleo diet, you can also help build lean muscle mass and improve your overall health.
Begin your Paleo journey with the key meal components below:
Lean meat, fish and seafood, preferably organic and free of any chemicals or growth hormones, are an essential part of the Paleo diet. Fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are especially high in healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids which support a healthy heart. Trans fats should, of course, be avoided like an avalanche.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple in any healthy and balanced diet. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, which help support digestion and your overall health. However, do not beast on the sweeter fruits like apples and oranges, especially if you are trying to lose weight. These fruits are high in sugar, and although it is natural sugar, a diet high in these fruits can prevent you from reaching the full potential of your weight-loss goals. If you have a sweet tooth for fruit, opt for berries that are high in fiber and antioxidants and come with a lower sugar and fructose content.
Eggs are a great source of protein, along with a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B2, B6, B12, D as well as zinc, iron and copper. Eggs make a great healthy breakfast option in an omelette, mixed with fresh vegetables and chopped lean meat like turkey.
Healthy nuts and seeds are a great way to add a satisfying crunch to your meals, while still providing the health benefits of the Paleo diet. Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and pecans are all included in the Paleo palate, as well as seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed. Not part of the Paleo diet are legumes like peanuts, peas, and beans. While legumes are generally high in fiber and protein, their composition makes them hard for your body to break down, causing complications with digestion.
Some oils are “good” sources of healthy fats, made up of either saturated or monounsaturated fats. Healthy oils that are part of the Paleo diet include olive oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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So, we’re going to dig into a big one: macros – aka macronutrients.
Now you’ve probably heard about macronutrients, especially in relation to a paleo or ketogenic diet.
So, what’s the big deal? What’s actually important? What’s fluff? And what’s worth paying attention to?