Living a healthy lifestyle means making the right choices when it comes to the food we put in our bodies. So, what are the right choices when it comes to food?
I think most of the American millennial generation can agree we had one tasty childhood: Captain Crunch for breakfast, PB&J sandwiches for lunch, and Totino’s pizza rolls for dinner. I look back on my childhood and wonder how I ate without gaining a pound – fast metabolism, right? Now that I’m in my late twenties, that fast metabolism has unfortunately slowed down. Thankfully though, I have a wife who wants me around for a long time, so we decided to make some changes. For us, those changes were to follow a diet closely related to Paleo.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few years, you’ve probably heard of the Paleolithic diet. The Paleo lifestyle is about eating whole foods that provide optimal, nutrient-dense fuel for your body while avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods. There’s plenty of research on both the pros and cons of this lifestyle but for me and my wife, it’s been nothing but a positive experience! Our clothes fit better, we have more energy, and we feel good from the inside out.
If you’re thinking about making the switch to a Paleo lifestyle, you may want to consider a few things first:
- What you can and cannot eat. Figuring out what you can and cannot eat can be a big stumbling block for many people.
- Enjoy: Beef, pork, wild game, poultry, eggs, seafood, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds.
- Avoid: grains, soy, legumes, starches, processed dairy, alcohol, refined sugar, food chemicals, food colorings, and artificial sweeteners.
- Your grocery bill will likely increase. Fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed/antibiotic-free meats cost more than highly processed foods that contain little to no nutritional value. However, you may end up spending less on medical care and dining out in the long run.
- You will get enough calcium, even without dairy. You need calcium to form healthy bones and teeth, but there are more sources than just cow’s milk. You can find calcium in kale, spinach, salmon, sardines, nuts, dates, figs, olives, and bone broth.
- There are a multitude of potential health benefits. Yes – you may lose weight! But you might notice other benefits like stable blood sugar, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of disease, clearer skin, more energy, improved sleep patterns, reduced allergies, increased insulin sensitivity, and a healthier gut.
- Having a plan goes a long way. By planning out meals for the upcoming week, my wife and I have reduced the amount of wasted food we throw away.
I understand Paleo is a lifestyle choice – it’s not for everyone. The added time and expense can make it difficult for some to make it a permanent lifestyle. It takes some extra time to cook the meals each night, and you might end up with more dishes to wash. But think about the added family time you can have in your own home! If you would like more information about the Paleo lifestyle, or how my wife and I made it work for us, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!