Monday, June 4, 2012
Guest Post: Roughing It—The Basics of the Paleo Diet
Yay, I have a guest post for you today!
Who isn't doing the Paleo Diet right now? As it gains more and more attention, I have this fabulous post by Susan so you can learn more about it........enjoy!!!
Roughing It—The Basics of the Paleo Diet
As we all know, diet and exercise play a vital role in our overall wellbeing. That being said, it's no surprise that diet and exercise play a huge role in our overall medical expenses as well. The better we care for our minds and bodies, the less likely we are to become ill and wrack up serious health bills and insurance payments. Our society has a long history of hoping on the bandwagon for the latest dieting fad or fitness trend. And, of course, there are many times that these fads and trends fall short of their promises. The Paleolithic diet (also called Paleo or the Caveman diet) and crossfit workouts are the latest trends in the health and fitness world. As with any hot new thing, there are many skeptics. But, as strange as the Paleo diet may sound, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who swear by it. Not just a diet focused on losing weight, the Paleo diet seems to become more of a way of life for its devotees.
The Concept Behind Paleo
The idea behind the Paleo diet is not necessarily a new one. For many years, people have been creating diets and swearing by them that follow along the same basic lines. With Paleo, people commit to only consuming items that were around for our early ancestors (hence, Caveman diet). After the industrial revolution, the food we consumed took a major shift within our society. Much of the food we consumed became processed and readily available in mass quantities. While this was a huge success in many ways, it also caused the diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors to change severely.
The Paleo diet is about going back to the diets of our prehistoric ancestors during the Paleolithic age. At this time, humans either hunted or gathered the food they ate. This meant that they performed heavy manual labor in order to produce the food they needed to eat—today, we don't do this. We drive to the store, walk a few yards, and buy our bag of potato chips. It should come as no surprise at all that we are living in a way that is significantly more challenging and unnatural for our bodies today. When dedicated to the Paleo diet, individuals only eat foods that would have been available to humans before the age of technology. You eat like the cavemen ate—relying on means and produce that would naturally occur in the environment without manmade artificial processes.
What the Actual Diet Consists of
While this all may sound pretty far-fetched, the Paleo diet isn't as difficult to grasp as I may be making it out to be. Dieters would eliminate any grains or carbohydrates because those are foods that humans only consumed after their hunter-gatherer phase. Paleo dieters eat things that can either be hunted or gathered, such as red meats, fish, chicken, eggs, certain vegetables, and certain nuts and seeds. These are items of our diet that would have either been hunted or naturally growing in the environment without any agricultural advances in place. Anything that we consume with the help of agricultural advances—grains, beans, dairy, sugar, salt, legumes, flour—are not permitted in the Paleo diet. While the diet itself does sound somewhat extreme, it might not be as restrictive as it first sounds.
The Health Benefits
With the Paleo diet we are remove all aspects of our diet that are highly processed. Processed foods play a large role in diet related illnesses like they two diabetes and heart disease. Protein plays a large role in the Paleo diet. By eating more protein on a regular basis your appetite decreases and your metabolism goes up. Also, more protein in one's diet can also prevent the loss of lean muscle. Of course, the benefits of eating red meat regularly can only be fully met with regular exercise and an otherwise well rounded diet. Furthermore, the Paleo diet promotes eating several necessary and beneficial fatty acids. Overall, the Paleo diet is very successful in eliminating some of the most problematic food items in an individual's diet. With things like carbs and sugars extracted from one's diet, risk of obesity, heart disease, and other diet related health issues is significantly lowered. In recent years, obesity has become the number one cause of health related deaths and is one of the most costly diseases for sufferers and our health system. Educate yourself on the Paleo diet and see if it can be beneficial for you.
Susan is a freelance blogger