Whether you want to lose weight, reduce symptoms of illness or simply feel better on a daily basis, the Paleo diet might be for you.
The Paleo diet is a nutritional approach that involves the consumption of foods that humans are genetically intended to eat. Our Paleolithic ancestors consumed a variety of vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish and natural fats.
The average American diet today, unfortunately, is far from that. Low in nutrients and high in sugar, salt and a host of additives, the standard American diet is believed to contribute to many of the major health issues people are struggling with today.
Whole, real and fresh, the Paleo diet excludes grains, legumes and dairy as well as white sugars and anything refined or processed. Grains (yes, even the gluten-free ones) and legumes are thought to have what’s known as “antinutrient properties,” which means they bind to the vitamins and minerals in the foods we eat, preventing us from properly absorbing them.
Excessive grain consumption is also believed to contribute to what’s known as “leaky gut.” Although not yet fully understood, leaky gut involves digestive irritation and increased intestinal porosity—which allows the escape of unwanted substances into the bloodstream. The symptoms range from minor bloating and cramping to more significant discomforts, aches and pains.
The Paleo diet also eliminates dairy foods from the diet. With a high acid load, dairy foods are thought to throw off the body’s pH balance, creating a situation where calcium is taken from skeletal bone in order to restore an alkaline state. In following the Paleo diet, an alkaline-forming cup of spinach, with 225 mg of calcium, is the preferred choice over a cup of milk (which delivers nearly the same amount of calcium, 250 mg).
Wondering why I went Paleo? After years of experiencing GI distress, I made some dietary changes and was able to identify the culprit: gluten. I felt better almost immediately. The more I researched it, the more the Paleo diet made sense. I’ve been following it since 2005 and now work with people around the globe teaching them how to integrate the Paleo diet into their lives.
As for my trademarked name, “Paleoista”— it’s a combination of the words Paleo and Fashionista. I wanted to send a message out to the masses that while the principles are age-old, we needn’t take a “cavie” approach if we don’t fancy it.
Modern, easy to follow and perfectly appropriate for anyone who happens to be human, Paleo living is the way to go.
Nell Stephenson, the original “Paleoista,” is the author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat (Touchstone, 2012) and co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD (Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition to her work as nutrition consultant and trained chef, Stephenson is a personal trainer and competitive endurance athlete who credits the Paleo diet for her transformed health and athletic success. Visit her blog at www.paleoista.com.
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