Paleo: A Diet or a Lifestyle?
So what IS Paleo?
The paleo diet is a way of life. Diet doesn’t really cover it. Let’s keep it simple to begin
Pale focuses on Quality organic, ethically and humanly raised grass fed meat, wild game, grass fed poultry, wild fish and seafood. Also eggs from free range grass-fed poultry.
The concept behind this is as follows. People have moved away from how we would have eaten during the Paleolithic period. In order to create readily available food sources humans began to cultivate, modify and grow food. The idea of Paleo is to move more towards how humans ate before we domesticated ourselves.
Many illnesses can be attributed to pesticides, medications and poor food sources. The idea is to remove as much of these toxins from our food. To take our bodies out of inflammation. To avoid diseases such as Cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases.
A huge focus of paleo is eating ALL of the animal. Using every part of the animal and minimizing waste creates a more sustainable future for us and the animals. Not only are organs full of nutrients they are less expensive.
So focusing on eating different things and testing your boundaries not only helps you grow as a person, but you are doing a service to your planet and your body. As consumerism and capitalism grew and our planet shrunk. The change in infrastructure created super farms. The vast over production of meat pumped with chemicals, medication and pesticides created unhealthy meat and an unhealthy attitude towards animals and the consumption of them.
Humans now more than every could be choosy. Why eat the parts you don’t think are nice if you have all these muscle meats to choose from?
When the globe was small we had smaller communities with smaller farms and less waste. A farmer would use all parts of the animal from nose to tail even the hooves. Bones for broths,
utensils, cups,jewelry, ear and tail hair for paint brushes,hooves for dog treats, head for brains and tongue, the body for meat, the organs for sausage casing and eating, pig blood was made into blood sausage,Skin for pork rinds or leather. The list goes on and on.
Even tennis racket strings were made of intestines.
So the point being. Get involved with your local farmer and get creative! Consume mindfully.
Fats are a huge portion of the Paleo diet portion of the lifestyle. Fats are what insulate our cells. I heard a Dr. refer to fats like building blocks. “Do you want to build your house with styrofoam or bricks?”
This was a huge “Ah ha!” moment for me. The Dr. explained that when we use poor quality fats derived from sources using solvents and harsh chemicals or heat, we degrade the quality of the fat and also introduce those chemicals into our bodies damaging cells! like “Boom!” 🤯 Because fats insulate us, fuel our brains and insulate our cells we want to introduce healthy fats!
Some examples of healthy fats are:
Mct oil (Medium chain triglyceride oil) this oil is derived from coconut oil. It is extracted from coconuts using a low temp. It is considered a virgin oil.
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Extra Virgin Coconut oil
High quality animal fats such as: Duck fat, lard(pork fat), tallow(beef fat), and schmaltz(chicken fat)
One of my personal favorites is called Ghee. Another name for it is clarified butter. By removing the milk solids it becomes pure fat.
Some people use grass fed butter but I prefer to remove the milk solids which I will discuss later.
3)Vegetables, Nuts and seeds and fruit.
Eat your vegetables!:
Eat veggies! Eat them all the time! follow chefs, cooks, social media influencers and people IN YOUR AREA. Get recipes and follow them. Let them take the thinking out of it for you.
Paleo has a huge focus on foods our hunter gatherer ancestor would forage for in the wilderness. Between kills our ancestors would have been grazing on Vegetables found, seeds, nuts and berries. The idea is that by eating the food in its whole form is allowing our bodies to process it as it was meant to be digested allowing the body to naturally balance the blood sugar.
I think of of the most challenging parts about changing a lifestyle is switching ingredients. When I changed over to Paleo I watched “The paleo way” by Chef Pete Evans “The Magic Pill” the documentary “Fat” the documentary and ordered all of Chef Pete Evans books. There is no way anyone can come up with as many delicious an creative dishes that Pete and his team have created. He has done research with nutritionists and naturopaths and has come up with healthy, mindful recipes that will satisfy anyone.
Veggies to focus on are your greens, sprouts, cruciferous veggies and tubers.
Eat them Raw! Eat them cooked! Ferment them for gut health!!
Snack on nuts and seeds, make crackers out of them, garnish recipes with them! I use them to make paleo bread. The options are endless!
Keep nightshades to a minimum due to the fact that they can cause inflammation In certain people. If you find yourself struggling with eczema like myself it may be a good idea to remove them from your diet and then introduce them back. I have learned I have an immediate reaction to raw tomato where as well cooked things (like spaghetti sauce) do not bother me nearly as much.
I also react to almonds.
An alternative to potatoes is sweet potatoes. They are highly nutritious and do not cause inflammation
An option for people dealing with inflammation is to consider an auto immune protocol (AIP) diet. This version of paleo removes all ingredients that can cause inflammation. I haven’t had the resolve to dive into this one just yet as I have a toddler and am constantly grazing on whatever I feed her. But this summer I decided to eat the tomatoes I grew in the garden fresh and I paid for it. even touching the plants causes a reaction for me now. So in order to get the immune system response under control I am working on trying to remove as much as I can.
Which brings me to my next point:
Grains, legumes, pasteurized dairy from conventional farms, conventionally raised meats and Non organic and GMO foods.
These foods are known to cause inflammation in the gut and can be detrimental to human health. This inflammation can lead to autoimmune responses, insulin resistance, diabetes and gut issues.
Grains as a globe they are one of the most highly consumed sources of carbohydrate. The damage they do to the environment and our health is insurmountable. They degrade soil and are not a healthy answer to a sustainable future.
The grains themselves cause inflammation in the gut, over production of microbes and candida. Grains spike blood sugar and permeate the gut causing inflammation which then triggers an immune system response. I would recommend the documentary “The magic Pill” and the book “Gut health” by Chef Pete Evans and his team.
Legumes are high in lectins and phytic acid basically legumes hamper the functioning of enzymes that aid in digestion. I can personally attest to this as any time I eat a legume I get acid reflux. If the legume is in its green form I can tolerate them.
Dairy is a no brainer. Mammals are weened. We don’t need it. It causes over production of mucus, yeast and microbes. If you have to have it, organic and raw is best and goat dairy is the most easily digestible by humans.
This is why I use Ghee in place of butter.
I have begun to culture my own yogurts made with coconut milk. This can be used as yogurt or sour cream. There are so many alternatives that are wonderful for the gut and heal vs causing inflammation.
And of course nightshades if you find you have issues with them.
Why is paleo considered a lifestyle?
I consider paleo a lifestyle because it isn’t a fad diet. It isn’t about losing weight (although one of the happy side effects of eating a low sugar nutrient dense diet is weight loss) The concept is that removing toxins, fillers, preservatives, pesticides, genetically modified foods and foods that cause inflammation we will function at our most optimal.
Our bodies will take the nutrients and rebuild our cells with quality nutrients “bricks not styrofoam”
In order to ensure I was getting as much clean and healthy food I started to follow the Paleo way of life and not just a diet
1) Plant Gardens!!
Use your space to grow your own food!
create a living wall in your home!
My gardens were a success! I planted them late due to being in Texas over the winter but just start! Every bit counts and it helps combat major agriculture which is decimating the environment. If you don’t have the space to grow your own, purchase locally or buy organic from a whole food market in your area.
Alternatively create a living wall in your home! I will be providing the service of installing living walls for people wanting fresh greens through out winter. Including full spectrum lights, waterproofing the walls and the planter systems. The client can provide their own seeds.
2) Raise your own meat!
Smaller operations means less of a footprint and less waste.
If you have the space raise your own meat. This ensures the meat is chemical free, medication and pesticide free. Get a few meat chickens and a few layers to start. If you can slowly add animals do! I promise you can taste their happiness! 😆
Find your local abbatoire, farmer or butcher to help you process your animals.
If you don’t have the space to raise your own find an ethical, reputable small operation in your area to order meat from.
3) Get Set Up
Get the appliances you’ll need to get your healthy lifestyle off the ground!
Changing to a paleo lifestyle can be challenging but in order to make the transition smoother I have included a list of equipment that will really help. Most dishes will be made from scratch. I offer to cook these dishes for people in my area but if you’re not close you want to set up right to make things more simple.
Some equipment I highly recommend if you’re going to make the transition!
My dehydrator have been a god send. I have dried fruit, herbs, crackers and more! I use it every week with out fail!
A large commercial freezer. I have opted for a three door commercial freezer. This gives me the ability to freeze a quarter cow, half pig, lamb and venison my husband hunts for. I have frozen fruit from the glut this summer and pre made foods such as sauces, soups, stocks and meals.
making everything from scratch is tough work. I offer food to order for clients making their paleo transition as well so I need the time. Having frozen meals is key!
A back up Fridge! I have a commercial fridge for all my fresh vegetables and perishables. I have so much fresh food that I need a large fridge to hold it all.
A meat grinder. I have a commercial grade grinder for my large amounts of meat. this allows me to minimize bacteria and have freshly ground meat. Its been an amazing asset.
A quality blender If you decide to go dairy free you need an amazing blender. You’ll be making smoothies, pancakes, sauces and more. a food processor can’t always blend as well.
A quality food processor Without my food processor I would be lost and I actually have two. I have a lot of food to make so this enables me to make multiple dishes at once. I could never live without two processors now.
A living wall During the winter months in Canada having fresh greens can be difficult and costly. A lot of the time the vegetables are less than savory or in poor condition. Adding a living wall will give you fresh nutrient dense greens and herbs. The more alive the food the better for your health it is.
I have all of this equipment available on my site to order in the lifestyle section. Living walls are by quote only.
So there it is. This is Paleo in a nutshell. The diet vs the lifestyle. Thank you for joining me today and I look forward to our journey together.