Crista here for this post! Alexis follows a little bit of a different diet (hence the “Plant Meets Paleo” title!), so decided it would be a good idea to highlight our own dietary approaches with a post each. Alexis will be posting about her Blood-Type diet soon 🙂
I recently went on a 30-Day Paleo Challenge, similar to what I did last year for my 30-Day Vegan Challenge. This time, I went in expecting to make some mistakes, and to focus on trying my BEST.
Chances are you’ve heard of the Paleo diet before, but just in case you haven’t, let me give you a short and sweet run-down.
The “Paleolithic Diet” has many names, including the “Paleo diet,” “Paleo,” “Hunter-gatherer diet,” and “Caveman Diet.” According to our friends at Wikipedia, the Paleo diet is: “a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.”
On a Paleo diet, you would most likely find yourself eating fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, root vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds.
These foods are a big NO on the Paleo diet: Grains (gluten), dairy products, potatoes (except sweet potatoes, I’ll explain this later), refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
There are countless research articles that assert that the Paleo diet is an ideal diet for human health and well-being. A clinical, randomized, controlled cross-over study compared the Paleolithic diet with a commonly prescribed diet for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Those who ate a Paleo diet resulted in lower means of triacylglycerol, diastolic blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumfrence. They also had high density lipoprotein when compared to the “Diabetes” diet. Glycemic control and other cardiovascular factors were improved significantly on the Paleo diet. Another set of research studies have concluded that the Paleo diet (in comparison to several other “popular” diets), have shown a significant difference in metabolic and physiologic movements, in addition to weight loss.
So, without further adieu…
Ten Things I Learned on a 30-Day Paleo Diet
4. It’s pretty easy to stick to socially and eating out. Unlike when I went Vegan and could hardly eat anything out at restaurants, eating Paleo is pretty simple. The majority of the time, you can find animal protein, vegetables and fruit at a restaurant. All you need to make sure of is that they aren’t cooked or fried in fat or butter. Opt for steamed veggies instead of fried. Also watch out for sauces, which contain a lot of Paleo no-no’s like sugar, salt and other ingredients that wreck havoc on your body.
5. You’re guaranteed to feel better. I double dare you. I mean it. I DARE you to try going Paleo for a month and not have more energy, feel healthier and have less digestive problems.
6. You minimize harsh chemicals/ additives/ preservatives in your food. Sticking to a Paleo diet reduces a large amount of crap that you might be putting into your body through gluten, dairy and sugar-filled products.
7. Bacon is AMAZING. Having it every single day, is not. Although bacon is allowed on the Paleo diet –as long as it is NITRATE-FREE– (which is a game-changer for me, because I simply cannot live without it), nutritionists advise against having a diet heavy in it. Stick to once or twice a week at best. The first week I went Paleo, I was a bacon addict.
8. Coffee and green tea are your friends. Sad you can’t have your mocha-frappe-lotte? Welcome to being an adult. Learn to drink your coffee black (or with a little homemade cashew creamer), and your tea without sugar. Your body will thank you. And you’ll adjust to the change. I’ve been a huge fan of yerba mate this past month.
9. Refined sugar is a no-no. Read here to learn more. Raw honey, on the other hand, is a YES.
10. Almond Flour and Coconut Flour are going to become your best friends while baking. I replaced normal flour with both of these, and am shocked at how good my recipes still taste!