What is Paleo?

For over a year I have been doing my best to “eat paleo.”  What is paleo, you ask?

The Paleolithic diet is a diet based on the premise that if our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t eat it. The diet is based on several premises, one of which is that our ancestors evolved for thousands of years and became well-adapted to foods of the Paleolithic era. Advocates argue that things took a turn for the worse about 10,000 years ago, with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals and that our species hasn’t evolved to properly digest new foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, much less the highly-processed and high-calorie processed foods that are so readily available and cheap, and this has led to modern-day problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

While the diet is prevalent among Crossfitters, I actually found myself eating Paleo prior to starting Crossfit. A little over four years ago, I found myself suffering from fatigue, light-headedness and a host of other unexplainable symptoms. Several doctors visits, tests and even several days at the Mayo Clinic didn’t reveal any substantial findings. Early on, I didn’t change my eating habits much, but began taking vitamin D supplements and slowly noticed improvements in the way I felt.

How I Got Here

Over time I began noticing several sensitivities to various foods like breads, milk, etc. Slowly I began to remove these from my diet.  I cut out cereal and milk, which I usually ate daily.  I cut out coffee, because I found it difficult to drink without four teaspoons of sugar and creamer.  Before I knew it I had trimmed most of the grains, sugars and dairy from my diet.  I had essentially begun the Paleo diet without even knowing it.  Then about a year and a half ago, I officially began focusing on Paleo as a lifestyle.  I paid more attention not just to what I wasn’t eating, but also to what I was – the types of meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. In addition, I increased my focus on how these foods were being prepared.  Without going into to too much detail, I now feel great.  I enjoy Crossfit workouts five days a week, have increased energy and have reduced my body fat to 10%.

How to Get Started

I will be the first to say that the Paleo lifestyle is not for everyone.  It will not support the goals of everyone.  However, if you think it may be for you, you might be wondering what steps to take next.  There is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming to try and process it all in the beginning.  One of the resources that I have relied on since I began Paleo is Paleoplan.com.  They make it easy with recipes, weekly meal plans, ebooks and even expert-designed workouts to get you fit. They’ll even send a weekly shopping list directly to your email inbox! There really is no easier way to get started with Paleo.

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