The easiest generalization is: “don’t eat processed foods, grains or beans.” Processed foods are the “fake” foods, and grains and beans are the “new” foods. *The more IN to Paleo, you become the further into that statement you can divulge, but essentially if you’re just starting out, just following that simple definition, even just the fake foods part, is a HUGE improvement to your lifestyle & health > Hello, CLEAN eating!
We can also phrase it positively: “Eat fruits, vegetables (*nothing in the nightshade family), meats (*yes, fresh/unfarmed fish counts), eggs, berries, nuts (*except peanuts!) and nothing else.” Again, for peeps just starting out, 90% of the good that will happen in your body from eating Paleo will happen from eliminating processed foods — especially processed sugars!!
Deciding whether sweet potatoes are Paleo or not and avoiding foods of the regions from which your paleolithic ancestors wouldn’t have had access, (*i.e. white Euro peeps, shouldn’t be eating pineapple, and other tropical fruit… why not? It’s GREAT for you!) The Anthropology, the SCIENCE *Nerd-gasm* can sound cool to think about, but save that for AFTER you’ve got the basics down.
Again, the point is to be healthy, and if you are coming from a SAD (read “Standard American Diet”) eating lifestyle, doing the aforementioned will VASTLY improve your health. Keep it simple >> Understand and DO the biggest, most important things first, and do them consistently. Commit to it for 9 out of 10 meals for a month. Once you have succeeded in that, focus on the details,
NB: Any time you make any adjustments in your body, even positive ones, there will be initial discomfort. (*E.g. exercising for the first time in a long time, or quitting smoking: both can feel like crap initially, but you will eventually feel better and be WAY healthier.)
So what is Paleo? It’s about working WITH your body instead of against it. Period. People can argue about what cavemen actually ate, but that’s irrelevant. Once foods are nutritious AND my body has no adverse reactions to them, there should be no reason to omit them. When you eat things that are GREAT for your body, you don’t have to count calories. Obviously, bingeing on anything, isn’t ideal but the fats and protein work WITH your body to signal when you’ve eaten enough, and theoretically you shouldn’t experience hunger-inducing insulin crashes from low-fat whole grains.
All the books advise that you START from Scratch. That is, remove EVERYTHING that is Non-Paleo, and see what happens. From what I’m reading, you HAVE to go strict for a minimum of 3 weeks to reap the benefits. The 30 day strict programs are really popular for a reason: they yield results. If you completely remove grains, added sugars, potatoes and the like from your diet, you’ll see the greatest results, since your body will have enough time to spike, recover & adjust to the change.
(*Remember, in a past blog, I said: 3-6weeks on average for "results" in changes...)*Disclaimer – I don’t “Eat Paleo” per se. I “Eat Clean” – I eat Grains, (a LOT of) Beans & (limited) Soy, but I do omit processed foods, especially sugars & bleached grains, and I avoid as much “fast” & “fake” foods as possible*
That being said, September 1 – 30, I’m doing a Paleo Experiment, 9/10 meals will be Paleolithic – the only MAJOR issue I see will be removing Beans (I LOVE THEM SOOO MUCH) & Grains (what will I do without OATS?), and re-adding “Real Meat” back into my usual diet (I may stick with Fish/Poultry, due to available cuts*)
I am excited to see what the “hype” is all about, first handThe first couple weeks are probably going to be HARD going cold turkey, but (*as with quitting any - bad - habit) the cravings will disappear. Not only that, but “cheating” after going strict will actually feel like a punishment, and I always end up not wanting to eat that stuff anymore. (*You’ve seen my tweets about "real" French fries now causing my curling into the fetal position).
*blogger’s note :: because of the quality of foods available in Jamaica, I may still be taking supplements/ vitamins, I have yet to decide, I need to do more research.