Thursday, August 30, 2012

What is paleo?

I have had several people ask me for more information on what paleolithic (paleo) eating is all about. I have decided to break the info down into a few different posts that will hopefully help those who are curious to understand a little bit more about this way of life, and why I do what I do. Today, I simply want to explain to you what the paleo method of eating is...opinion free. (Don't worry, that will come later.)

First things first. The term paleolithic refers to a way of eating which is also frequently called the caveman diet, primal eating, the hunter-gatherer diet, or as I refer to it paleo. This is pronounced Pay-lee-oh.

Very shortly put, it refers to a way of eating that in a sense, takes the dinner table back in time. If you think of the way a caveman ate, you would picture fresh produce, fresh meats, nuts, and whatever else they could find. I doubt there was a vending machine with pop-tarts and crumb donuts...just saying. Our food choices have become insanely inundated with processed foods, LARGE amounts of sugar, and all sorts of other additives and chemicals that we may not even be able to pronounce. Many have studied and believe that it is all of the additives that have causes such weight issues in our society. Is it possible that our bodies don't know how to process these ingredients that are more chemical-like, and less food-like? Do me a favor and look at some of the food labels of the items in your pantry. Chances are a few of them have words that you can't define, recognize, or maybe even pronounce.

Paleo eating focuses more on including whole, healthful foods that are full of awesome nutrients, and getting rid of processed items entirely. The bulk of this method of eating consists of high quality meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots, and healthy fats. It eliminates grains, legumes, refined sugars, and processed oils. Depending on the individual, some exclude dairy entirely as well. Others will include high fat dairy items sparingly. HERE is a more detailed list of foods you can eat if you are interested.
Some hear the composition of the diet and argue that it is just another "low-carb" diet like the Atkins craze. The difference here is that most who engage in this diet eat a plethora of fruits and vegetables which are foods almost entirely made up of carbohydrates. Because fruits and vegetables are lower in calories, this method of eating happens to result in a lower carbohydrate diet. It isn't necessarily that this is the focus, it is just the result of food choices. Many people also think that this diet is lower in carbohydrates because they are comparing it to their vending machine diet that is comprised mainly of Doritos and Skittles. Yeah, I guess if that is your comparison it is quite a bit lower in carbs. 

There you have it...there is the WHAT. More to come. I'd love your questions, so throw them at me if you have them! 

13 comments:

Cassie said...

Grains... So no breads or cereals?

Smith Clan said...
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Smith Clan said...

Megs, you have taught me well! I love it! It has been such a huge help to me.

Amanda said...

I love reading your blog and always look forward to your new posts! A couple questions I have wanted to ask you. 1. How/why did you decide to run your first marathon? I am 24 and have done one half (2:08) and would love to complete a marathon one day but just don't know if I can do it! 2. I often run 3-5 miles in the morning before school (I'm a teacher) .. would you recommend that I eat before the run? If so, what? and any recommendations of what to eat after? Thanks so much!!!
-Amanda

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