The Paleo Diet is a relatively new fad, based on the diets of cavemen or people during the Stone Age. It has a strong emphasis on including whole foods, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, and excluding refined and processed foods from your diet.
While the paleo diet is not for everyone, we’ve picked out a few healthy eating tips from it that we think should resonate with most people:
1. Eat foods with an expiration date. Think about your great-great-great grandparents. It is safe to say that they probably weren't eating cream-filled pastries or greasy potato chips. When it comes to food, consider staying away from items in modern packaging. If the food comes in a package and can be stored for years on end without going bad, get rid of it. Concentrate instead on including whole, natural foods in your weekly shop.
2. Ditch the sugar. In cavemen times, it was almost impossible to obtain sweet foods and refined sugar was not around. These days many people love, crave and depend on sugar for a boost so the thought of eliminating it is scary. Take baby steps to gradually get off of sugar. Be creative by incorporating natural sweeteners like Stevia, honey or dried fruit.
3. Don’t count calories. Counting calories can easily become very cumbersome and annoying. If you focus instead on eating foods of great quality in sensible portions you will end up with the same result.
4. You can't reverse bad eating with exercise. It isn't uncommon to come across people who believe that with a few extra sit-ups and an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill, they can cancel out the ice cream and pastry they had for dessert the night before. While both exercise and diet are important for a healthy lifestyle, weight maintenance is 80% about diet and 20% about exercise, hence why Paleo (being focussed on diet) can be so successful for some people.
5. Fats are nothing to be afraid of. The foods with the "fat-free" labels are actually often the ones to avoid. Healthy fats are good for the body, in moderation, and can be very satiating. Include more dishes with avocados in the diet (i.e. guacamole) and start using olive oil more in the kitchen. Coconut oil is another fantastic oil to cook with since it has tons of benefits for the body and can be heated to higher levels without ill-effects unlike many other oils. Be aware that oils are high in calories, though – if you’re watching your calorie intake, make sure you take them into account.
6. Eat lots and lots of veggies. Like most sensible, healthy eating plans the Paleo diet encourages consuming lots of healthy greens and fresh vegetables. Health guidelines recommend you try and consume at least 5 serves of vegetable and two servings of fruit a day.
7. Treats are allowed in moderation. Because sources of concentrated sugars were rare, heavily sweetened foods were not integrated into everyday meals. You don’t need to eat dessert or sweet treats every day. Try not to eat cake at everyone in the office’s birthday but instead reserve sweets for extra special occasions.
8. Move. You don’t have to start a hard-core fitness plan, but you should try to get some more exercise on a daily basis. Moving is excellent for the body and can help with not only weight management, but digestion and mood stability as well. Find ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine.