Paleo: What is it, What can you eat?
In the Paleo diet, foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, nuts & seeds are recommended; whereas dairy, grains, legumes, processed food, sugar, starch & alcohol should be avoided.
The idea behind this type of eating is that it causes you to burn fat for fuel decreasing body fat, avoids storing excess glucose as fat, helps maintain hormonal balance and decreases inflammation in the body, which can be caused by foods that are excluded from the diet. Paleo has some great aspects in that it promotes nutrient rich whole foods that are unprocessed.
It helps to keep the body in a more balanced state causing an increase in energy, nutrient uptake and overall health. It is also good for weight loss due to the decrease in caloric consumption and water retention associated with the absence of starch in the diet.
I Gotta Have My Milk! What about “Clean eating”?
The Paleo diet is not for everyone however, and this is where “Clean Eating” comes in. Clean eating includes all of the foods in the Paleo diet but is more flexible and adds whole grains, dairy products & legumes. This type of eating is great for individuals who want to maintain or gain weight as well as those who can tolerate foods excluded in the Paleo diet.
When choosing whole grains, as well as any other food, it is important to consume foods in as close to their natural state as possible. The closer the food is to how it exists in the environment, the more nutrient dense it is. Also, make sure to rotate your foods and vary your choices. Eating the same thing every day can cause nutrient deficiencies in macro and micronutrients those foods are lacking.
This is true whether you are eating clean or doing Paleo. In general, a diet that consists of a variety of meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, with intake at levels that will support exercise but not body fat, is ideal. Also in today’s era of generically modified food, whenever you can try to opt for the organic and grass fed options.
What Works For You?
Ultimately it depends on the individual as far as whether to do Paleo or Clean Eating. Each of you needs to find what works best for you. It is also important to find something you can stick to long term. This shouldn’t be approached as a typical “diet” that will only be followed until you reach your goal.
You should approach this decision, not as starting a diet, but adopting a healthier approach to your nutrition that you will maintain for the rest of your life. So find a plan that you can realistically maintain. With that being said, we encourage you to consider the 80/20 rule.
Life happens and things come up, so as long as you stick to your meal plan 80% of the time, you can allow yourself to indulge for the other 20% and still be ok. It’s ok to cheat every once in a while. What’s the point of increasing your longevity and quality of life if you can’t enjoy it and let loose every once in a while? In the end, everyone should consume a diet that is wholesome and includes a variety of foods from different food groups for the majority of the time. Just keep it clean guys.