Eat Like Your Ancestors: The Keys to the Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is a rather new dieting strategy that emphasizes eating the way humans did in the past. Just remember this simple tenet: if our ancestors didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.

This means that anything you can’t hunt or find — game, fish, fruits, vegetables, grains — is off the table. The good news is that this immediately cuts out processed foods and sugars, artificial flavorings and even dairy products. The bad news is that it’s tough to follow..

But it’s not impossible. The Paleo Diet is fast-growing with many people praising it’s healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in more information, you can find out from PaleoHacks. In the meantime, here are a few keys to the diet:

Fat is Good

Contrary to popular belief, fat plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle: it helps you feel fuller for longer and promotes a healthy metabolism. The Paleo Diet stresses that good fats become part of your everyday diet.

Every cell in your body is made from fat, and you need to replenish it to help cells regenerate. But today, most of the fat we get is from processed foods and oils rather than the natural animal fats that our ancestors ate from hunting. If you prioritize natural fats from fish, beef and poultry, you will benefit from the naturally-occurrrng nutrients that aid hormone balance, weight regulation and immune health.

The Paleo Diet stresses that any meat that is consumed should come from livestock that is raised without hormones or antibiotics, just as the animals in the past were. Also avoid animals raised in areas with high levels of pesticides and pollution.

Grains Are Gone

There are several diet plans out there that shun grains, and for good reason. Foods like cereal and bread can drive up your insulin output after eating, which signals to your body that fat should be stored, contributing to weight gain. Grains can also leave you feeling tired after that insulin spike, or even make you think you need to eat again.

The Paleo Diet recommends that grains always be avoided. Aside from the problems listed above, grains are largely devoid of nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Replace foods like pizza and pasta with fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that you receive more vitamins and nutrients and you will avoid that problematic insulin spike throughout the day.

Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Foods

There is only so much food you can eat in a day, so every meal you consume should have an effective amount of vitamins and nutrients that will help you stay healthy. By recommending that you seek out so-called “nutrient-dense foods,” the Paleo Diet ensures that your nutritional needs will be met.

Many of the most nutrient-dense foods are vegetables. Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach and seaweed are filled with the essentials, such as Vitamin C and A, and have large amounts of fiber. Blueberries can help lower blood pressure and have antioxidants that may fight cancer. Seafoods like salmon and sardines are filled with healthy oils and fats that aid in weight control and lower the risks of many diseases.

With the Paleo Diet, there are plenty of choices for each meal and you should focus on those that pack a nutritional punch every time. Click here to see a huge list of 121 Paleo recipes from AthleticMuscle.

Fasting Plays A Role

As odd as it may sound, not eating may be more beneficial to a healthy lifestyle than was previously thought. Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) is quickly gaining attention and it fits in perfectly with the Paleo Diet.

Our ancestors would have had a very feast-or-famine lifestyle: if the hunt was unsuccessful, they wouldn’t eat. Today, nutritionists believe that going without food for short periods of time — anywhere from eight to 16 hours — may help your body fully utilize the nutrients from previous meals. When you fast, the body is forced to use stored fats which can help with weight loss, and your metabolism can burn through calories more efficiently. There is also evidence that fasting helps regulate your sensitivity to insulin, helping to process carbohydrates better.

Research shows that I.F. can help reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes and mental decline. Be sure to consult a doctor before attempting to fast, as you may not be healthy enough. If you are healthy enough, however, I.F. is a great compliment to the other tenets of the Paleo Diet.

Although the Paleo Diet is newer than some of the popular diets out there, it has its merits in promoting healthy eating habits and is fast becoming a go-to dietary strategy.

Tom Mann is a fitness coach and nutritionist who makes it his job to inspire, motivate and educate those around him to get fit and feel fab through moderate exercise and a healthy diet.

Photo by lejoe