Well, hello there wellness lovers!
As I sit here blogging from the middle of the woods, haha... just kidding, I am actually "condo camping" with my fiance and family in Mammoth Lakes, CA for our annual summer vacation... I am excited to share with you, an excellent article about the paleo diet!
For those of you that have been readers of "Taste for Healthy" since 2010, you may remember that I was 100% vegan.
However, after graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition... I became a complete believer (and follower!) of the paleo diet.
(I really did not believe it at first when they said "the students who come to Integrative Nutrition as vegans usually graduate the program eating meat!")
Anyways... I am honored to introduce you to to Virginia Cunningham, a freelance writer from southern California who specializes in health, wellness, and nutrition.
Is it Really "Paleo?"
|Image Courtesy of Suat Eman|
Paleo is short for “Paleolithic” and it is also known by other names, such as the Hunter-Gatherer diet and Cave Man Diet.
During the age when farming first began is when people’s diets began to look similar to the modern day diet. According to the Paleo diet, today’s farming processes are not the best way of providing nutrition for our bodies. The Paleo diet follows the premise of what our ancestors ate long ago, before the farming age, and it is the proper diet to accommodate our genetic makeup. Thus, it is best to mimic this particular diet today. Those on the Paleo diet already, or are those who are considering the Paleo diet, should be aware of some of the foods that this particular diet deems unhealthy or insufficient.
A predominant amount of the Paleo diet is meat-based. It is important to know that studies show that a diet high in red meat poses many health risks. Additionally, while the diet opposes processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausage and lunch meats, it allows for the consumption of other meats, like grass-fed beef, clams, salmon and venison steaks. Bacon is high in cholesterol and high in fat, which can impact heart health. It also contains nitrate, a food preservative that has been shown to be detrimental to one’s health. Those on the Paleo diet may eat bacon; however, just be sure to select the right kind of bacon and prepare it correctly.
Despite the myth that eggs are high in cholesterol, eggs are an absolute staple to the Paleo diet, especially since they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins and some minerals. They can be prepared in a variety of ways; however, when overcooked, the oxidized cholesterol in eggs may lead to chronic inflammation.
The Paleo diet encourages a high protein diet is rich in monounsaturated fat; however, it is the type of meat and fat consumed which makes the difference for the Paleo diet. Monounsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol and help in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Polyunsaturated fats are also prevalent in the Paleo diet as they are rich in omega 3s (found in oils in fish, like salmon). The standard consensus is that fat leads to heart problems. It would be a good idea to see your doctor to monitor your labs and blood levels before and after being on the diet to see its effect on your body. Also, while avocados are good for combating bad cholesterol, they are high in fat as well.
Although legumes, such as peanuts, are not considered to be “junk food”, they contain phytic acid, which binds to nutrients in the food and prevents your body from absorbing these nutrients. Beans and legumes stop your body from getting the nutrients that other Paleo-acceptable foods contain.
Sugar is sugar. For instance, some think that agave syrup and honey are accepted in the Paleo diet; however, it still contains sugar. Avoid high sugar foods as they provide unnecessary and unhealthy fuel for the body. Almost all processed foods contain sugar, including low-fat dressing, mustard, ketchup, dried fruit, breakfast cereals, yogurt and, above all, fast food. If you want to lose weight, you need to cut down on these from your diet.
Avoid processed nuts that contain salt and hydrogenated oils. Furthermore, avoid macadamia nuts and pecans as they have the lowest amount of protein and are high in fats. In general, some people encourage that you eat as much as you want of the approved foods on the Paleo diet – that means no portion controlling. However, your body does not need all of that food. It needs only enough to provide you with energy. It is important to monitor the impact of the diet on you to ensure you are doing what is best for your body type.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from the Los Angeles area whose writing specializes in personal health, fitness and healthy cooking. When starting a diet, she is always sure to be well-informed what a particular diet involves.