What is Paleo?

A year ago Raquel, her sister and I had a conference call to discuss redefining our lifestyle choices. The biggest change for all of us would prove to be giving up our more than once a week cheat day and adopting a Primal lifestyle (also referred to as the Paleolithic diet). We all agreed to read Mark Sissons’ book and regroup. However once I was done my mind was made up and I immediately knew that these changes were a necessity for my family.

Since adopting this change in lifestyle I’ve been approached by family and friends with questions, doubts and just regular old fear regarding what I will and won’t eat. We’ve also had a few reader emails regarding the topic, so I’d like to take a few minutes to give you a look into what the Paleo life is. First let me state that being Paleo is not just about what you eat but this post we will focus solely on diet.

Paleo refers to dietary lifestyle that centers around foods falling into two eras, Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras. The Paleolithic era, or the era before the agricultural revolution are considered healthiest and best for you because they are the least processed. These foods includes but are not limited to all lean meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.

The Neolithic Era, or foods that are the result of the agriculture revolution are obviously out and considered to be one of the many factors contributing to obesity and increased disease in our country. These foods include, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and processed foods.

Though conceived from similar philosophies and often used interchangeably there are a few differences between a pure Primal and pure Paleo diet. The most debated is the use of saturated fats  (e.g coconut oil and butter). Pure-Paleos do not believe in use of these fats and argue that they did not exist during the time of the caveman, and are also linked to heart disease and other disease. Pure-Primals, however, believe that our caveman ancestors used all parts of the animal including the natural oils from the skins and that in moderation these fats are fine. I guess I’m more of a cross between the two parties.

The benefits of a Paleo lifestyle can be further explained in the video below. Dr. Doug Willen is a NYC based Nutrition expert and the author of the acclaimed book, Quantum Paleo.

For additional information visit our resource page under fitness and nutrition.

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