An Introduction to the Paleo Lifestyle

SO WHAT IS PALEO?

Paleo refers to the Paleolithic time period in our human ancestry, prior to the agricultural revolution, when the people were hunter-gatherers (HG). It’s a basic, natural approach to eating which mimics our HG ancestors:

  1. EAT MEAT
  2. EAT VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
  3. EAT NUTS AND SEEDS
  4. NO GRAINS
  5. NO DAIRY
  6. NO PROCESSED FOODS

IT goes against our “grain”

Yes, it looks overwhelming.  These rules knock out a large percentage of most of our current diet, but the rewards of eating this way will far exceed the perceived hurdles.

Let’s look at where we came from and where we are now in relation to our diets.

THE HEALTH OF OUR ANCESTORS

  • Remarkably high level of health
  • Taller and stronger than modern Americans or Europeans
  • Virtually free of cavities
  • Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease was rare
  • Not near-sighted
  • Not plagued with acne
  • Low infant mortality rate
  • Often lived into their 60’s

All of this without one single bowl of high-fiber oatmeal or whole grain bagel!

So when did all this change?

The transition from HG to agriculture around 10,000 years ago and a diet dominated by cereal grains saw our ancestors become smaller, weaker and sick.  The introduction of hydrogenated fats only 100 years ago accelerated our decline in health.

JUST LOOK AT US NOW!

Contrast the HG diet to our modern diets which are based on grains:

  • “We’re #1!”  America gets the prize for being the most obese country (out of 33).  Two thirds of all Americans are overweight or obese.  The obesity rate has skyrocketed since the 1980’s.  Obesity costs us over $180 billion a year in medical bills.
  • Whole aisles of the grocery stores devoted to gluten-free products
  • Celiacs disease (gluten intolerance) is making the evening news
  • ADD and ADHD are acronyms so common that even elementary school children know what they stand for
  • Children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.
  • Onslaught of Alzheimer’s may be what breaks our Medicare system
  • Modern society sick with diseases we rarely if ever saw in the past:
    • Cancer
    • Depression
    • Parkinson’s
    • Heart disease
    • Infertility
    • Asthma
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Sleep apnea
    • Acid reflux
    • High blood pressure
    • Insomnia
    • Lupus
    • Colitis
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    • Osteoporosis

These diseases are related to insulin dysregulation and inflammation.

SO HOW DO I GET STARTED?

“I get it, let’s do it!”

Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO sugar for 30 days, no cheating.

That’s it. Clean. Healthy. Simple.

To receive the most benefits from the paleo lifestyle, it is recommended you approach this change as if your life depends upon it.  Eat only paleo foods for 30 DAYS and see just how powerful this paleo concept can be in your life.  Give your body the opportunity to fully adjust to the foods it was meant to run on.  Assess how you look, feel and perform.

IT’S ONLY 30 DAYS!!!

DO THIS:

  1. Clean house
  2. Go shopping
  3. Cook!
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Sleep!
  • KEEP A FOOD LOG

You are encouraged to keep a food log of everything you eat and drink for the first 30 days of your paleo journey (sample attached).  You should also record how you are feeling during the day.

I RECOMMEND YOU DO THE FOLLOWING TWO STEPS TO TRACK YOUR PROGRESS:

  • TAKE PHOTOS

It is a great idea to take some body measurements and pictures before you start so you will be able to document your progress.  Photos should be taken weekly wearing the same clothing each time, preferably form fitting clothing, light in color.  Photos should be taken in the same location each time.  Take photos from the front, back and side views as well as a close up of your face profile and straight on is also helpful.

  • MEASURE

Waist-to-hip (WHR) is the measure of the narrowest part of your waist divided by the measurement of the widest part of your hips.  Measure every week, preferably at the same time of the day.

Using a fabric type measuring tape:

measure the smallest part of your waist three times using centimeters.  Add all three measurements together and divide by three.  This gives you your waist measurement.  Do the same with the widest part of your hips.  Then divide your waist measurement and divide it by your hip measurement.  You have now calculated your WHR.  A WHR of .8 for women and above for women and .95 and above for men would indicate an increased risk of diseases related to insulin resistance.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE EVEN MORE PROOF, THEN ADD THIS STEP:

  • BLOOD WORK

If you desire to see further proof of whether or not the paleo lifestyle is making a positive change in your life, you may want to have some blood work done before you start and again after 30 days or so.  If so, there is an excellent section on blood work in Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution, in which he tells you what tests to request from your doctor.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT PALEO:

Pull up and subscribe to the following web sites:

http://www.robbwolf.com

http://everydaypaleo.com

http://thepaleodiet.com

There are a host of other sites you will find (see reference page), but these will give you more than enough info to get started.  These sites offer FAQ sections, weekly podcasts, and seminars which provide in depth info about paleo.

There is also a good overview at http://naturallyengineered.com/blog/concise-paleo-diet/

I recommend purchasing two books:

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Everyday Paleo by Sarah Frogoso (available late April)

Again, there are many books about paleo out there, but I consider these two indispensable.

Paleo is possible!  Go forth and live abundantly

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