We hear it in the news and its popping up in conversations everywhere. The Paleo Diet — so what the heck is Paleo? The paleolithic or caveman diet is not new, it’s actually how our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. This beginner’s guide to paleo living explains not only the history, but the benefits of going Paleo.

As hunter and gatherers they hunted and foraged for their food. They ate grass fed meats, wild fish, and what they could pick off trees, like nuts and berries.

The Paleo diet gathers its principles in that research tells us that our genetics have not changed in all these years. We as humans are maladapted to eating foods such as grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods. Our bodies are simply unable to digest these foreign foods properly — which in turn causes distress in the body leading to disease.

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Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet brought the Paleo diet back into existence in 1985. In 2008 the Paleo way of life really took off thanks to many books being written on the subject such as Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution The Original Human Diet.

The cornerstone of eating the paleo way is to avoid grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and sugar. Doctors are now prescribing this diet for people who suffer with auto immune conditions, diabetes, cardio vascular disease and those who want to lose weight.

Why Paleo?

The Standard American diet consists of mainly processed foods; bagels, cookies, pizza, cereal grains, and genetically modified foods (GMO’s). The health care of our nation is taking its toll from following the Standard American diet and so many are now touting the Paleo diet as the cure all.

– 1 in 3 is expected to have diabetes by the year 2020

– 1 in 3 has an intolerance to gluten

– Adults now consume over 200 lbs of sugar a year

The Paleo diet is a very sustainability- minded diet, in that its about eating real, natural foods. Foods that have not been altered or sprayed with pesticides or feed hormones and antibiotics. Foods that are closed to what Mother Nature intended us to eat.

Beginners' guide to paleo living_2

List of foods to eat and avoid on the Paleo diet

Eat                                                                                                             Avoid

Grass fed meats                                                                                       Grains

Organic Poultry                                                                                       Legumes

Wild Fish/seafood                                                                                  Dairy

Fruit and vegetables                                                                               Sugar

Eggs                                                                                                            Refined oils

Nuts and seeds                                                                                         Processed Foods

Healthy oils ( olive, walnut, flax, hemp, avocado, coconut)

Dr. Terry Wahls is living proof that the paleo diet eases symptoms of auto-immune conditions such a Multiple Sclerosis. A clinical professor who was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis in 2000, Wahls went from being an active doctor to be confined to a wheelchair.

She started to study foods and diet and soon realized that Western diet she was eating was lacking in vital vitamins, nutrients and fats that the brain and body needed to function optimally. She also discovered that people with MS have a genetic tendency towards being intolerant to gluten, casein (the protein in milk) and eggs.

She started to change her diet to include many more leafy green vegetables which contain vitamin B, C, A and K. More sulphur rich vegetables such as onions, cabbage and mushrooms.

Soon she was noticing that she was able to move easily and was soon walking. Dr. Wahls is now back to doctoring full time and is able to ride her bike and hike on the weekends.

Shopping along the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy animal proteins are, as opposed to the inner aisles where canned and boxed items are sold is a super way to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

If the Paleo diet brings us to get back to eating real unprocessed foods that are more healthy than harmful to our bodies, then count me in!

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