Going Paleo : Rediscovering The Basics

Posted on 11-Mar-2016 by Kripa Jalan

“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?

Do people who adopt the Paleo lifestyle, give up their modern day luxuries and hide in caves?

Of course not. 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 should you. Yes, that includes your favorite 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, moderate-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.

Why do it?

The caveman: Lean, agile and athletic.

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

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 fat, build muscle and get into good shape - if done systematically.

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. Your body takes time to adjust, but 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. 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 a 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.

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. 

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, which fall short on the nutrient front. 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. Also remember that 60% of your brain is made up of fat, and your hormones require it to thrive too. 


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