Saturday, January 7, 2012

What is Paleo?

I have had several people connect with me this week because they want to know more about Paleo. I thought since I am still in the virginity phase of my blog experience a post about the basic of Paleo seems fitting.
My Paleo beginnings

I love to hear peoples “How I found Paleo” story.  Feel free to share yours as a comment to this post

These were the first words I read about Paleo


When I first saw this my thought was similar to most, what about carbs (especially “healthy” whole grains)? We need carbs to live, don’t we? What about diary? How will I get my calcium? I laugh now at my own ignorance. Being that I am a personal trainer I did not want to go around asking others about Paleo. Again this was a stupid thought, now I loving talking to others and soaking up all the knowledge I can. Ego is dumb.  I needed to know for myself about this Paleo diet. I had overhead someone talking about Robb Wolf and I had no idea who he was but he sounded like a good place to start. After some web searching I quickly found myself at the book store buying The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet. I took it home, read it and I was sold. I was just finishing up 30 days of trying out Veganism (I have tried almost every diet out there, sickening, I know) so moving into Paleo was an easy transition. I removed the fake diary and added meat. I have now been Paleo for a year and four months. Let’s move on to the basics of Paleo.

What is Paleo?

For anyone who is Paleo, this is a loaded question, but this post is all about keeping it simple. So even though there are many hats under the umbrella of Paleo I am going to stick to the very simple basics that I first learned.


That’s it? Yes this is it. Who said being healthy has to be hard or complex? I know it blew my mind too. Let’s break this down.

Eat meat

Paleo advocates eating the best quality meat. Grass fed, free range and organic, you may have heard some of these terms before. Don’t sweat it. Keep it simple, just eat real meat. As you grown into your Paleo lifestyle you will naturally seek out the next level. The documentary King Corn  is what took me to that next level, click the link to watch it now for free.


Yes organic is best, but again keep it simple just eat fresh vegetables; you can even eat frozen if you want. I would just plead that you no longer eat vegetables from a can. My Paper Crane has done up the sweetest dirty dozen cheat sheet.

 Download it here The Dirty Dozen.

Nuts & Seeds

These little guys will be your best friend when you are saying goodbye to bread, just be careful that they do not become your bread. Yes nuts can be unhealthy, but for the purpose of a newbie to Paleo go nuts on the nuts. To learn more about nuts read For the Love of Almonds by Balanced Bites, this is what made me break away from my daily almond habit.


Paleo says some fruit, here is my take on that. When you are used to eating a diet biased on conventional wisdom the amount of hidden sugar you are consuming is crazy, it is 10 times worse if you’re coming to Paleo from just a plain conventional unhealthy diet. Stand up right now and repeat after me “Hello my name is (insert name here) and I am a sugar addict”. Fruit will be your AA of sugar, use it to help you get through your cravings. Once you have banished all other forms of sugar from your life then you can tackle the amount of fruit you eat.

Are you ready to take your sugar addiction head on?

This is real simple for beginners. You can only eat root vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash and yams. It is the only form of starchy carb you can eat, get over it! Whay about Potatoes? Most Paleo followers will say no, but it is up to you. Read more  about it here. Are Potatoes Paleo? a great post by Marks Daily Apple.

No means NO! If you have to ask, it’s no. Again you will find your own sugar substitutes as you start to discover Paleo baking. (Check out Dessert Stalker for some Paleo baking ideas.) I use local honey and agave nectar. These are personal choices everyone one has their own thoughts about it within the Paleo community. I would suggest when starting out that you ditch any fake sugar substitutes even the ones that claim to be natural.
What to drink?  Keep it Simple… WATER!  I also drink black coffee and I love my herbal teas. If you love smoothies check out Toadally Primal Smoothies. Alcohol? Again this is a personal choice. I drink wine, gluten free beer and I love me a margarita.

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