I’m sure by now you have seen this word ‘Paleo’ floating around the internet and social media platforms quite a bit. Maybe you have even read #gopaleo and thought #gowhat? Well if you’re curious about this new diet and want to know more, then stay tuned because I’m going to run you through all there is to know about the Paleo diet.
What is a Paleo Diet?
Its all about the Paleolithic era (try saying that word 5 times)! What does that crazy word even mean? Well the Paleolithic era just refers to the cave man days when the latest trend on the market was making fire. There was no technology, no petrol and no McDonalds. So the Paleo diet is all about eating what humans would have eaten back in that era. i.e. simple foods that grew naturally from the ground or foods that could be hunted. It is commonly thought that these foods are healthier for us because our bodies were designed to only digest these unprocessed foods.
Back to the 21st century, let’s take a look at how people have been applying the Paleo diet to their lives. People are using it to help them lose weight, increase their energy levels and improve their digestive systems. The Paleo diet is seen not just as a diet but also as a change in lifestyle and a change in mindset. Paleo people ask themselves “would the cave man have eaten this meal”. Then they either eat it or they don’t. A typical Paleo meal plan looks something like this: eggs and steak for breakfast, a meat soup or meat salad for lunch and roast meat and vegetables for dinner.
Benefits of a Paleo DIet
The Paleo diet encourages a balanced intake of proteins, fats, carbs and greens. Having this balance will leave you feeling more energetic throughout the day and you won’t have any crashes.
Strength and Muscle
The Paleo diet is high in protein so there is no doubt that you will see a change in your muscle and physique structure especially if you exercise regularly.
Feel Full for Longer
Almost all foods in the Paleo food list are low GI, meaning they leave you feeling fuller for longer and with lasting energy. Low GI foods release energy into the blood stream slower compared to high GI foods, which leave you feeling hungry after just 30 minutes.
A Paleo diet introduces many vitamins, enzymes, minerals and unprocessed foods into daily meals. This in turn develops the immune system and overall health, which reduces the risk of becoming sick.
After just a few weeks on a Paleo diet you will begin to see changes in your weight. When you reduce your intake of processed foods and refined sugars, your body begins to repair itself and burn excess fat.
Challenges of a Paleo Diet
Missing Food Groups – Dairy & Grains
The Paleo diets says no to dairy and grains because these foods weren’t available in the Paleolithic era. Nutritionists would say that our dietary intake wouldn’t be complete without these two food groups. On the other hand Paleo people would suggest that if they weren’t around then they should never have been included into the human diet.
Meat Isn’t What It Use To Be
The Paleo diet recommends a high intake of meat. However meat isn’t what it use to be. Meats these days are higher in saturated fats and toxins due to the genetic modifications. This can be hard on our cholesterol levels, digestive system and heart health.
The most prevalent challenge for someone starting a new diet is the cravings. You may feel like pasta or lollies, and no matter what you eat, the cravings don’t go away. The good news is that you can make as many healthy desserts as you like that fit within the Paleo guidelines. I have included one of my favorite Paleo desserts at the end of this article.
Your Paleo Shopping List
Foods You Can Eat
- All grass-fed or free range meats and poultry
- All farm free seafood
- All fruits and veggies (except juice, potato, corn, beans)
- Free range eggs
- All nuts and seeds (except peanuts)
- Healthful oils: olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado and coconut
Foods You Can’t Eat
- Refined sugar
- Refined vegetable oils
- ESPECIALLY: processed foods, fast foods, chips, chocolate, lollies, soft drink, milk shakes, hamburgers, fried chips, pancakes etc
Must Have Shopping List
|Pantry – Jars and Tins||Dry Foods||Fridge and Freezer||Vegetables and Fruits|
Sweet Tooth Paleo Desserts
- 1/2 cup organic maple syrup or coconut nectar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 cups finely shredded carrot
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour
For the Icing
- 1/2 can light coconut milk refrigerated overnight
- 2-3 tbsp organic maple syrup or coconut nectar
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base of one large loose bottom round cake tin with parchment paper and grease lightly with melted coconut oil.
Combine apple cider vinegar, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and melted coconut oil in food processor. Add in almond flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg, then process. Add in carrots and process to combine. Lastly process in the pecans; add them in whole and once you pulse the mixture 2-3 times they will be chopped!
Pour mixture into cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until risen and browned. Whisk coconut milk together with all other coconut icing ingredients. Place in the fridge. Once the cake has cooked spread coconut icing on top.
This is a quick guide to what is a Paleo diet.