Paleo: Eat a Caveman or Use Common Sense?
News headlines have been blowing up the paleo world, thanks to a new discovery that cannibalism was often practiced during Paleolithic times. Even before this news, the paleo diet has been notorious for fierce advocates and harsh critics. Even a casual reference to the diet will spark heated debate about its benefits, its’ risks or about what is or what isn’t paleo.
The paleo diet is based on the premise that by eating the same food groups that our ancestors ate during the time of their greatest development, we can eliminate modern nutritional related health problems including: weight gain, diabetes and inflammation. The reasoning is based on findings that our bodies have not had time to adjust to being able to digest modern foods, which makes sense when we see escalating obesity and nutrition related health problems that are directly related to refined and processed foods. We can sum up the paleo diet simply; by not eating refined and processed foods, but focusing our diet on healthy seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs, advocates claim we can reclaim our health and regulate body weight.
This latest report, should indicate that using common sense is the best and only way to approach the paleo diet or any other diet. When we make choices about paleo, we should embrace the advancements we’ve made in food preservation and agriculture, by making them work for each of us individually, the point of paleo is to make you healthier and therefore make life easier. Agonizing over your choices about what is or isn’t paleo only uses time and energy you could be spending on other parts of your life. Here I’ve listed my common sense guide to being a savvy and ever so healthy modern caveman.
Get Your Macros
Whether you eat paleo to meet training or weight loss goals, your diet should be set up so you get adequate macros for your sex, age, activity level and goals, each and every day. When you eat for macros, you automatically moderate your intake of foods that aren’t nutrient dense. Because why eat potato chips, when you can eat bacon kale chips?
Eat a Variety of Whole Foods
While paleo food bloggers are proud of their recipes that include bacon in everything from cookies to eggs, anyone who has eaten paleo for any length of time knows that isn’t a true representation of what paleo is. By sticking to a wide variety of whole foods you’ll not only get your macros, you’ll also get essential micro-nutrients, enzymes, fiber and phytochemicals.
Eat What Makes Sense for your Stomach and Your Wallet
Research has shown that some people have a higher carb tolerance than others, and if this is the case for you, you can eat more carbs. However, this doesn’t mean refined, processed carbs…it means you can eat whole grains. So if oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes and beans don’t bloat you or jack your blood sugar, eat them in moderation. Eating more plant based foods also saves you money at the grocery.
Take Advantage of Modern Foods
There are a host of modern foods that complement not only a paleo lifestyle but modern lifestyles as well. Using supplements to boost a smoothie, or for nutrition pre or post workout, makes sense, especially if it keeps you from sliding into the drive thru on 2 wheels or digging through your car for change to buy junk food from a vending machine.
Make Progressively Better Choices
Even though paleo has been around for well over 50 years, chances are good that it hasn’t been the staple diet of many adults throughout their lifetime. Learning how to eat healthier takes time, we not only have to allow our bodies to adjust, we have to adjust and so do those around us. We can be put in so many situations that tempt us: dinner with friends, vacations or family get-togethers, that it’s important to learn how to make better choices. Being consistent and eating healthier foods keeps us on track and motivated to meet our goals.