The Paleo Lifestyle

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Everyone’s favorite 4-letter word: DIET

Don’t think of the Paleo lifestyle as a diet. The word itself suggests restriction.

Diets are something people historically undertake with a weight loss goal in mind, and there is a set beginning and (hopefully) a speedy end. If you’d like to make this year different, think of your commitment to healthy eating as an indefinite choice you are going to make, not to achieve a short term goal but to live a long life looking and feeling your best.

At Steve’s PaleoGoods, we are on a mission to redefine the meaning of “healthy food.” Trends are just that, they come and go. Who can keep up? Get off the low-fat, no-carb, no-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, no-sugar roller coaster and keep it simple. Just eat real food.

Eat meat, vegetables, fruits, some nuts and healthy fats when you’re hungry and only until you’re full. Ditch manufactured, chemical-laden processed products for meals and snacks made from single, whole-food ingredients you can actually pronounce. Here’s some more guidance on what to eat and how to shop.

Most do not set out to purposefully ingest toxins in their food, but consuming preservatives, chemicals, added sugars and gluten can have poisonous short or long term effects on many people. Choosing nutrient-dense foods free of added preservatives, chemicals and sugars help our bodies function optimally.

Sugar, preservatives, gluten, and chemicals are everywhere. Look through your kitchen cabinets and they won’t be hard to find. Packaged foods are laden with added sugars, modified cornstarch and artificial colors and flavors. Checking the ingredient deck only tells half the story. In order for food to be close to what nature intended, ingredients must be responsibly sourced. That means no pesticides on your produce or hormones and antibiotics in your meat. Look for suppliers that are committed to minimally processing pure paleo ingredients.

Eliminating potential toxins can help relieve things like bloating, acne, eczema, chronic inflammation, joint pain, allergies, migraines, acid reflux, insomnia and high blood sugar. It’s hard to guarantee what will happen once toxins are eliminated from a diet, but eating clean food as the first line of defense against any chronic condition is a great place to start.

Processed foods tend to be calorically dense and nutrient poor, causing spikes in both insulin levels and blood sugar, sending us back to the fridge sooner than we should go. Eating real food in the right portions helps blood sugars stay even and hunger hormones to balance, causing us to eat less which is the first step in weight loss. If you subscribe to the 80-20 rule that success in shedding pounds is 80% diet and 20% exercise, then most of the battle is won with healthy food choices.

We still need to get moving for that 20% push! Whether you like to CrossFit, run, walk, bike or play sports, feeling energized from using real food as fuel and avoiding excess sugar and alcohol will help maintain an active lifestyle. Being active is just as important for adults as it is for kids, and just because things like recess and gym class aren’t built in to the workday doesn’t mean you should not make time for them.

Eating processed carbohydrates alone causes a crash. Energy levels plummet and hunger sets back in WAY sooner than it should. The three macronutrients needed for optimum health are healthy fats, clean carbohydrates and proteins. Fats contain essential acids to support vitamin absorption and body functions, carbohydrates provide energy and proteins provide the structure and regulation for the body’s tissues and organs. Think of each meal and snack as a balancing act between lean proteins, clean carbs and healthy fats, and you will feel satisfied much longer.

Don’t diet! Get off the roller coaster and just eat real food! Just using the D-Word sets a stage for restriction and limitation. Give yourself 30 days to adjust to any lifestyle change and journal your experience for reference along the way. Check out Steve’s PaleoGoods for one-the-go convenience meals, snacks and sauces that help make every meal real (and really delicious).