Going Paleo : Rediscovering The Basics

Posted on 11-Mar-2016 by Kripa Jalan

Going Paleo : Rediscovering The Basics

“Eat like a caveman,” they said. But is it really that simple to track back 10,000 years and mimic the choices of those hunter-gatherers? Now, do you really think that the people who adopt the Paleo lifestyle, give up their modern day luxuries and hide in caves? Of course not. It’s a method of consuming modern day food and making the best of what we have. Neither do we need to engage in the physically taxing part of hunting for food, nor do we live in caves. Our meats are factory farmed and vegetables are loaded with pesticides. First things first, you have to understand that any version of Paleo you come across today, is a meager estimate of the real thing. Basically, if the caveman couldn’t eat a certain food, neither can you. Yes, that includes your favourite breakfast cereals, breads, dairy products and basically anything that’s been through a machine and comes packed in a box. It’s not a diet it’s a way of eating. It’s traditionally a high fat, high protein, low carb approach. Proponents of this lifestyle believe that humans were genetically inclined to eat the way our ancestors did. They propose that making these changes in eating habits would greatly reduce the risks of chronic diseases as well as contribute to healthy weight management.

Long story short short: Eat the way nature intended for us to eat. Eliminate processed foods and grains, load up on veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruits and nuts.

Why do it?

It makes logical sense, it’s easy to comprehend and most importantly it eliminates the arduous task of having to count calories. Just like any other eating pattern it’s not perfect but it works for many; ranging from elite athletes to the average fitness freak. If your years of unhealthy eating have wrecked your metabolism and you’re lugging around extra fat, switching to Paleo will reverse some of the damage. If your goal is optimal health by all means, go for it. But if you’re looking to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you’re looking in the wrong place. What I can vouch for is that it will help you lose weight, build muscle and get into good shape.

The caveman: Lean, agile and athletic.

The modern day man: Out of shape, overweight and at the constant risk of disease.

The transition is hard. But you can work on minimizing these foods and let your body adjust incrementally. Small steps will take you a long way. Stick with it for at least 30 days. Initially it will be hard but your body takes time to adjust. It will thank you, eventually.

What about the vegetarians?

I won’t lie, the no-meat approach the Paleo is extremely difficult, given that most quality sources of vegetarian protein like grains, dairy and legumes have been prohibited. This can make it extremely tough for the body to get all its nutrients. Even if you’re relying on eggs (unless you’re vegan), there are a number of health risks associated with overdosing on eggs other than the fact that it can get utterly monotonous. If you’re a vegetarian and want to adopt Paleo practices you’re going to have to make some allowances. This would essentially be a vegetarian low carb or a gluten free diet, which bears close resemblance to Paleo.

Include hemp and other grain like seeds (quinoa, buckwheat etc.) in your diet.

Use beans, legumes and other plant based protein supplements.

Don’t eliminate dairy. It’s rich in protein and fat.

What about cheat meals?

We all have the tendency to reward ourselves with “just one”. What’s wrong with eating something you’re desperately craving? Well, for starters you’re becoming a slave to your taste buds. With a single indulgence, there is dopamine released and your body continues to want more of it. The just one, turns into a jar full of cookies.

Won’t I feel weak?

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source. So if you’re eliminating grains in all forms, where the hell are you supposed to get your energy from? Paleo tunes your body so that it uses stored fat as energy rather than glucose. Our bodies were designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates. In short, less carbs, less glucose translates body fat being used as energy. This pushes your body into a state of “ketosis”.

But, won’t a high fat diet make you fat?

Fat has gained quite the bad reputation over the years. Eat fat, get fat. Consequently came the string of low fat foods, filled with preservatives and additives, still providing inadequate nutrition. There’s a stark difference between good fats and bad fats and how your body reacts to each. Mono & poly unsaturated fats found in nuts and oils are the good kind. SO as long as you’re getting the good stuff, you’re safe

CrossFit & Paleo:

CrossFit has it’s own dietary guidelines; to which Paleo bears close resemblance. That’s the reason many associated with the sport adopt the Paleo lifestyle. However, given that CrossFit workouts are often intense, a simple protein like a sports drink before a WOD or a protein shake after may not be the worst thing.

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