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April 15, 2013

Paleo Shmaleo – what is it all about?

Food For Thought
Paleo Shmaleo – what is it all about?

By: Leanne Ely

If you have any interest in food and health at all (which you obviously do or you wouldn’t have found yourself here at Saving Dinner), then you’ve been hearing the word “Paleo” being tossed around a lot. Paleo-Chicken

You may even associate the term with an extreme way of eating, much like the low-carb Atkins diet. A fad that will disappear like so many trendy diets that have come before it.

But, at the risk of sounding like a cliché, going Paleo really means adapting a new lifestyle for the rest of your life. Once you go Paleo, you’ll physically feel so amazing that it will be very hard to go back to the way you used to eat.

Let me explain.

First of all, the word Paleo is from the word Paleolithic. If you want the science behind this way of eating, you can spend some time on Google, but I’ll share the general concept with you here.

A Paleo lifestyle means eating the way our ancestors would have. The premise behind this diet is that our bodies haven’t adapted to eating modern-day foods (those that weren’t available 10,000 years ago). The theory is that digestive disorders and diseases that are so prevalent today are running rampant because our bodies don’t know what to do with the foods we’re putting in our mouths.

What do Paleoistas eat? Paleo-fish

This lifestyle means eating a diet of:

• wild-caught fish
• seeds, nuts and berries
• locally sourced, free-range, grass-fed meats and poultry
• free-range organic eggs
• local, organic produce
• saturated fats

It also means eating according to what’s in season where you live.

Paleo people love their fats. But vegetable oils, as I’ve mentioned before, weren’t available to our ancestors, so those are out. Paleo folks eat lots of saturated fats because those are the fats our cells need. Those fats include organic butter from grass-fed cows, ghee, coconut oil and olive oil. It also means animal fat, which means bacon is a friend and not a foe.

What do Paleoistas avoid?

When you eat a Paleo diet, you don’t eat:

• refined sugar
• processed foods
• grains (including rice, oats and pasta)
• dairy
• legumes
• vegetable oils
• soy

Now you all know me, and you know I’m not about extreme diets, so don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you that Paleo is the be all and end all! I do, however, believe that we should all explore the guiding pillars of this way of life: eating an organic diet free from processed foods and limiting grains.

I, personally, eat a Paleo diet and I’ve never felt better in my life. But it’s all about balance. Going Paleo doesn’t mean sitting down to a platter of steaks and chicken wings for dinner every evening. You have to eat lots of veggies, too. Your vegetable intake will actually naturally increase when you go Paleo because you won’t be filling up with starchy grains!

If you’re interested in going down the Paleo path, I would recommend trying it for about a month and see how you feel after that. You may find it to be easier than you thought it would. We now have the 30 Day Paleo Challenge to make it super simple!

Some Paleoistas never go back because they find that the lifestyle is not difficult to adapt to, but others follow the Paleo diet about 85% of the time.

Do you currently eat Paleo? Are you dead against it? Leave a comment and let’s chat about it on our Facebook page!

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  • http://twitter.com/sunnyAC Amanda Turnbo

    I’ve currently switched from a pretty rough diet to completely Paleo as a challenge for 30 days. I’m on day 9 and I love it. It’s totally not as hard as I thought it would be (even though sugar and processed foods are still tugging at me..) it was an excellent decision! After just one week I’m not getting any sinus headaches AND although I’m not making this about weight I’ve already lost 10 pounds! After not being able to lose weight after having a baby I am more than pleased and excited for where this is taking me!

  • Alex

    The paragraph on fats is so misleading that it casts a shadow on the whole article. Or the whole blog. Quote: “Paleo folks eat lots of saturated fats because those are the fats our cells need. Those fats include organic butter from grass-fed cows, ghee, coconut oil and olive oil “. Well, the former two are dairy, and the latter two are vegetable oils, and both are on the avoidance list, so something here does not add up.

    I was looking for a simple outline of the Paleo concept, obviously, this is not it.

  • AmyAW

    I’ve been paleo for over a year now. 35lb down and way more fit than I have been in the past 7 years. One thing people need to know, there isn’t really a “one-size-fits-all” diet to follow. Some people, like me, still eat some dairy. I can handle it without any problems but I know many who can’t. However, I found out I can’t eat tomatoes (boo hoo for me) but there are so many helpful websites out there, I’ve had plenty of new recipes to choose from. Listen to your body and eat real food. You’ll be surprised by the change and how easy it will feel after 2 weeks.

    • savingdinner

      Hi Amy! We are so glad you are finding success with your Paleo lifestyle. Thank you for your comments.

  • Sylvie

    I’ve been paleo for a year and lost over 60 lbs. My husband as well. But best of all we’re not on any medication! Its a life changer. Sylvie @ Thesimplepaleolife.com

    • savingdinner

      That is wonderful to hear Sylvie! Happy Cooking!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elisa.carow Elisa Carow

    I can’t imagine going strictly paleo at all!!

    I avoid processed foods since I read this page regularily and have cut down sugar to a minimum compared to 3 years ago. Also soy products have never been part of my regular food as I am too frightened by GMO soy. I increased my “good fats” intake a lot since the beginning of this year, we eat much more veggie-only meals in our former “meat everyday”- household and I reduce or leave out pasta or rice at least 2 times a week (and recently found out I can’t deal with peanut butter although I love the taste). However I still don’t see any reasons to stop eating dairy and same goes for grains. I just love their taste too much and their feel on my tongue. I need my glass of milk each morning to function (I can’t drink coffee at all :-( the caffeine is too strong for me). I must admit I haven’t tried oat milk or coconut milk or almond milk yet. I think I would be able to go paleo without problems, if it wasn’t for the dairy and grain thing because those are foods I really love, enjoy and feel my body likes them.

  • Alex

    I’m all for deleting comments I don’t like, but seriously, butter is dairy and coconut and olives are plants, so the olis are vegetables. A little fact checking?

    • savingdinner

      Thank you for your comments, Alex. Yes, butter is dairy. And technically, olives and coconuts are fruit. Happy Cooking!

      • Alex

        I did not write those comments to upset anyone, savingdinner. I stumbled upon this article looking for a Paleo concept in plain words, which means this blog must be popular. Well, I feel it is all the more important to get the factual side straight when addressing a wider audience.

        I honestly think that if one sentence about Paleo says that it excludes dairy and vegetable oils and the next one says that butter (dairy), ghee (dairy), coconut (vegetable) and olive (vegetable) oil are ok, then something is wrong – either with the concept, or the presentation. So please don’t take it personal, it might be the Paleo concept and not the article. I’m not an expert on Paleo, I just value logic.

        I also did check the link in the same paragraph to the article on vegetable oils to see if there’s more than one idea of what constitutes a vegetable oil. Having read that article, I totally agree that overprocessed hydrogenated veg oils are bad. Yet the term vegetable oil means an oil that comes from plants, period. (And technically, fruit is part of a plant.)

        • savingdinner

          Hi Alex, Thank you for taking the time to comment, I have passed your comments onto Leanne. Happy Cooking!

  • Jeanna

    Is almond mlk allowed in Paleo? I have a hard time quitting my dairy.

    • savingdinner

      Hi Jeanna, Yes, almond milk is allowed, but make sure you get the unsweetened version. Happy Cooking!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruno.skopinich Bruno Skopinich

    Katie… thanks for that link… Also, it seems you are bit too sensitive… how was Alex’s comment passive-aggressive????

  • Ava S

    I am 6 months pregnant, and have recently gone Paleo. I thought it would be hard, but my midwife suggested cutting out bread and pasta, and then I read up on Robb Wolf and The Paleo Diet Solution, and now my whole family is Paleo. They were not happy about it to begin with, but now, we all sleep so much better, and have so much more energy. Even at this point in my pregnancy, getting a restful sleep is a godsend, and we have never felt better. Also, despite eating all day, I am actually loosing the back fat that sticks out from my bra and muffin top while maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight. Don’t knock it till you have honestly tried it. ;-)

    • savingdinner

      Hi Ava! That is so great you and your family are having so much success with the Paleo diet. We are so happy for you, and congrats on your little one on the way! Happy Cooking!

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