Thinking back to the days of hunting and gathering, food was reduced to simple and whole ingredients. The Paleo Diet is founded on the idea of maximum nutrition with minimum interference.
Jeremy Johnson, a registered dietitian at 2 Xtreme Physiques, explains that Paleo is less of a diet and more of a return to the foods that our body naturally craves and needs. He says that looking to simple and whole foods can lead to a variety of health benefits such as an increase in energy, less cravings, a mental clarity and a stronger immune system.
Paleo doesn’t include foods that contain additives, grains, starches, lentils, dairy, refined sugars or preservatives. Finding alternatives to these foods is essential to maintaining this way of eating.
The foods you would find on the outer edges of a grocery store like meat, fish, vegetables, berries, occasional nuts and seeds are the essential sources of nutrition needed to keep us strong, alert and feeling satisfied.
To live a lifestyle that can be practically maintained, simple adjustments like substituting pasta for spaghetti squash, dairy milk for almond or coconut milk, legumes for almonds and refined sugars for natural sugars found in fruits and berries can make the biggest difference in your physical health.
United States Army Sgt., Jonathan Fennell, advises that the less processed and preserved a food is, the more nutrient dense it is. Foods with more nutritional value will yield greater health benefits.
“A good rule of thumb is that if you’re reaching for something in the fridge, it has a better chance of being healthier than something from a box in the pantry,” said Shawn Ledford, co-owner and coach at CrossFit NukeTown gym. Carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and sugar should all come from the right sources of food: natural and unprocessed.
“Listen to your body. If you are craving sugar, grab a bowl of fruit. If you can’t seem to satisfy your hunger, slice up an avocado,” Johnson said.
The Paleo diet is meant to train your body to crave the right things. Our bodies were designed to know and recognize what nutrients they are lacking and what they need to function properly. The Paleo Diet website can be helpful in learning more.
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