Eating Paleo: An Introduction

The concept of eating Paleo is, well, age old, because it is basically eating like our ancestors did: no preservatives, no processed food, no sugar, dairy or gluten. Simply put – it’s eating clean with as little steps from source to table as possible. So out the kitchen goes flour, pasta, legumes, refined sugar, milk, cream, cheese etc. But let’s focus on what you can consume when eating Paleo and whether it is a viable dietary choice. As with everything, what works for one person may not work for another, but we know of many Circuit Works athletes who have enjoyed great success with this way of living.

Followers of the Paleo lifestyle enjoy a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, fruit, seafood, nuts, seeds and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados. Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, says the program works because it is “the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic!” Benefits of a Paleo lifestyle includes having a stable blood sugar level, balanced energy throughout the day, improved sleep patterns, more efficient workouts, better fat burning and clearer skin. Here are some tips for getting started if you want to give Paleo a go.

1. Have a plan. Clear out your fridge and cupboards and stock up with only Paleo-compliant food. You can’t get tempted if the food isn’t there.

2. 85/15 Rule. It’s advised that after the first month on Paleo you should eat that way 85% of the time leaving 15% of meals to enjoy non-Paleo food. May it be a special meal out, a burger with the bun or whatever your favorite treat food is. Being realistic is key.

3. Make your own meals. Eating strictly Paleo means a diet based on whole, fresh foods. This is easy to control when you make it yourself. Planning ahead and cooking in batches will help you to stay on track. Learning new recipes substituting regular flour for almond or coconut flour or using raw honey instead of sugar are just some of the examples of how you can eat without feeling deprived.

4. Plate redo. Instead of holding a place for grains and starches, when eating Paleo your plate should consist of lean protein, fat and lots of veggies. Remember that you will be getting your carbohydrate intake from vegetables but just not the ones that will spike your blood sugar level.

5. Better choices. Even though you can eat meat on Paleo, staying away from processed meat like salami and hot dogs is a must. Instead, choose pasture-fed meat and poultry, wild meat like bison and boar and wild-caught seafood whenever possible. Also swapping out corn, canola or soybean oil for coconut oil for cooking and use olive, avocado or walnut oil for dressings.

6. Sugar. We all know that cutting down on our sugar intake is beneficial, although it’s not easy. So keeping things like dried mango or fresh fruit handy for that after dinner sweet tooth is a great idea. Eating Paleo really isn’t that difficult and has a host of health benefits. Even eating out can be a breeze if you check the menu out before hand so you can plan ahead. For example, ordering grilled protein and extra veggies in place of the potato or rice option can give you a filling meal during your night out.