So What is the Paleo Lifestyle?

Some of you may be wondering what the Paleo Lifestyle is.  This post will provide a brief overview along with references in case you would like to do some more in-depth reading on this topic.  There are many resources available on the Internet which cover this topic very eloquently and in great detail.  I see no need to reinvent the wheel.  The scope of this blog is to cover my experience transitioning into the Paleo Lifestyle.  From time to time I’ll post about topics that interest me with links to more in-depth material.

The Paleo movement is a subset of the Ancestral Health movement.  The Ancestral Health Movement is an interdisciplinary movement of scientists, healthcare professionals and ordinary people who focus on the human niche in ecology.  A part of this focus is to look at what behaviors allowed them to succeed and thrive.  What did they eat?  How did they behave?  What health problems did they have?

Modern day hunter-gatherer societies are used as a paradigm of how early man lived.  One of the key findings is that the members of hunter-gatherer societies are generally very healthy UNTIL the introduction of processed foods like wheat and sugar.

Two of the main proponents of the Ancestral Diet and Life style are  Robb Wolf , author of The Paleo Solution:  The Original Human Diet and Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint.  Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson both have a summary of their paleo/primal concepts on their website’s.  This is Robb’s and this is Mark’s.  Their recommendations are very similar.

There is no single Paleo or Primal diet that states specifically what people should eat.  Paleo/Primal nutrition is a template.  General guidelines regarding foods to eat, as well as the percentage of each of the macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) that should comprise the diet are given.  The food guidelines are based on what people typically ate prior to the introduction of agriculture.

Each individual needs to find the sweet spot in the template that works best for their own individual biochemistry.  For example, TMOTH needs to eat a higher percentage of carbs than I do.  We both can eat within the Paleo template, but our diets are not exactly the same.

If you don’t want to do in-depth reading on this topic, here are some general guidelines for eating Paleo.  Diane Sanfilippo at Balanced Bites gave a nice summary on her October 4th podcast:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Avoid gluten containing foods and grains
  • Avoid seed oils
  • Avoid non-gluten grains
  • Avoid chemical sweeteners
  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid legumes
  • Avoid dairy

I had a comment asking whether a Paleo diet could be adapted to vegetarian eating.  This is actually a big topic.  I’ll do a post in the next week or two linking to some resources on the topic for those who are interested.

Stay tuned for posts on some of the other components in the Paleo lifestyle: Exercise, sleep & play.

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