is paleo for you…?
Find out what paleo is, what's in and what's out.
The Paleo diet offers the healthiest way to eat - it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic.
Our ancestors evolved over millions of years, and environmental conditions (for example, the foods they ate, the amount of sunlight they received, the way they moved in order to survive) shaped their genome. While the world has changed in many ways during the last 10,000 years, the human genome has changed very little and thus thrives under similar conditions.
Recent scientific research shows that it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and infertility. It is in our hands to change this. We can do it for our own health and that of our children.
Building a healthy Paleo diet
The paleo diet is not so much a ‘diet’, but more a lifestyle choice. There’s no calorie counting involved, no dramatic fear of fat. It is a diet of abundance rather of deprivation. Have a look at its principles and you will find that it makes a lot of sense.
Okay to Eat
Lean proteins: They support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune system function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.
Fruits and Vegetables: They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.
Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat: Scientific research and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline. It is trans fats that we need to avoid, not natural occurring fats that are in fact essential for the correct functioning of our body.
Human nutrition changed dramatically 10, 000 years ago, following the agricultural revolution. The emphasis on grain consumption due to its convenience (easy to grow and store) has helped humans to survive through times of scarcity, but it hasn’t been without a cost.
This reliance on a high carbohydrate and nutrient-poor modern diet has created an increase in obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease - to name a few.
Living a ‘Paleo lifestyle’ and eating as our ancestors did can help to reverse this trend. Many illnesses and degenerative diseases can be prevented by adopting a healthier diet and regular exercise routines. By following the principles of a Paleo diet, many people have found that they are able to maintain a healthy weight and an increase in energy levels. If you believe your lack of energy is due to aging, give Paleo a go – you will feel more energised than ever! Most people don’t realise how good their bodies are designed to feel until they adopt this lifestyle.
For breakfast: Make an omelet with onion, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli in olive oil. No time for cooking in the morning? Try one of our breads with a nutty spread on top or some smoked salmon.
Paleo lunches are easy: A big salad with anything you like. A good starting point can be mixed greens, spinach, radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocadoes, walnuts, almonds, and sliced apples or pears. Then mix in some meat (for example, ground beef, beef slices, chicken, turkey, ground bison, pork chunks) or seafood. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and you are ready to enjoy a delicious lunch. If you wish to add bread or crackers to go with it, the range from Primal Bakers makes a delicious addition.
For dinner: Have you tried spaghetti squash as a substitute for any pasta recipe? Have a try and you’ll never go back! Top with pesto, marinara or meatballs. Roasted beets and their greens make a great side dish for pork. Asparagus, broccoli, and spinach can be steamed quickly and eaten with salmon, halibut, or other fresh fish. Be creative! Experiment with new ways of using vegetables and you will never get bored.
If you feel hungry between meals make the most of your snacks by choosing highly nutritious foods. Berries, carrots, sliced fruit, and pre-portioned raw nut/dried fruit mixes are easy snacks.
Occasional treats add variety and bring enjoyment to our diets. Just make sure that they stick to the principles of this lifestyle and you will feel the benefits. When you get used to more natural flavours your taste buds will awaken to new experiences!
PALEO VS PRIMAL
Similar to the Paleo diet, the Primal Blueprint by former athlete Mark Sisson, is a nutrition and lifestyle guide based on evolutionary science. The main difference between a Paleo and a Primal approach is the inclusion (Primal) or exclusion (Paleo) of fat and dairy.
Eating predominantly lean meats and avoiding dairy is encouraged by the Paleo approach. The Primal approach, although still based on the same principles of the diet of our ancestors, is more relaxed. It promotes the consumption of good quality fatty meats and unlimited eggs. Unlike Paleo, some people following a Primal lifestyle like to include raw or fermented dairy into their diet and occasional treats such as wine and dark chocolate.
Whatever your approach, you can still reap the benefits of this lifestyle choice. After all, it is all about balance and working out what works best for you.
IS THIS RIGHT FOR YOU?
We like to think of Paleo as a lifestyle choice rather than a dogma you have to adopt without question. After all, even though we all have the same human genome we are not all the same.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ plan. For instance, some people are happy to include dairy in their diet from time to time – the most important aspect of the diet is to eat nutrient-dense good quality meat, seasonal fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, and good fats. Staying clear of grains and processed foods is the key to optimal health.
It’s your choice as to how you would like to incorporate these principles into your own eating habits.
GIVE IT A GO!
Adapting to a Paleo lifestyle isn’t hard – in fact, it’s every food lover’s dream. On the Paleo diet you can enjoy an abundance of meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, nuts, and plenty of other natural and unprocessed foods, all full of natural flavours.
You may find that the more you eat like this the more you will think that this is the way we should all be eating! It is a diet of abundance not a diet of deprivation. Rather than thinking ‘I can’t eat this or the other’ we like to think ‘I can eat all these until I am satisfied’. Food is designed not only to keep us alive but to make us thrive, and it is increasingly recognised that the modern diet is not doing that for us – in fact quite the opposite.
It’s unrealistic to be able to completely replicate the type of diet and lifestyle our ancestors had – some of the foods they ate don’t even exist anymore! However, by following the basic principles of a Paleo diet and eating mainly nutritious food, we can all benefit from improved health.