Is the paleo diet healthy?
You may have heard of the paleo diet. However, I like to refer to paleo as more of a lifestyle than a diet; it shouts longevity rather than a short-term fix.
The Paleo lifestyle is based around the idea that we should stick to the foods our ancestors would have eaten and focuses on nutritionally optimising our minds and our bodies rather than placing all our efforts on foods which may not adhere to the paleo way. The Paleo lifestyle focuses on eating a large amount of veggies, fruits (mainly berries), raw nuts and seeds, eggs, fish and meats.
This may initially sound fairly restrictive, but fear not! The internet has gone mad with ways to make healthier cake and dessert alternatives from paleo ingredients, this ensures you aren’t left with cravings or feeling thoroughly deprived. Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup and coconut sugars enable you to indulge without consuming refined sugars and artificial additives. Although it is important to be aware that these should still be considered as treats and shouldn’t be over-consumed.
Although it’s still sugar and it is important to be aware that these should still be considered as treats and shouldn’t be over-consumed.
Which foods are classed as paleo?
For some people they may eat a heavily meat based paleo diet, for others a predominantly fish and veg based and for others a vegan based diet- admittedly this is tougher but it is definitely possible. As times are changing there are plenty of recipes for paleo breads, cakes, biscuits and dairy free yoghurts, milks and even cheese alternatives, It is all about experimenting with your food and trying new things.
One of the reasons why paleo is so popular is because everyone can do it their own way. There’s no number crunching involved in working out your calorie, fat or sugar intakes; it simply focuses on eating real foods. In nutrition there really is no size fits all and paleo is so adaptable that you can make it work for you and your lifestyle. Often people ask what to expect to happen to them when they initially start on paleo. The truth is everyone is different and there is no set timetable of events. However, often people report of weight loss, clearer skin, more energy and less sugar slumps
The first few days may be tough if you’re used to consuming lots of refined sugars and carbohydrates but once you have adjusted to this way of living the benefits soon kick in. People’s blood lipid profiles often improve too; it is not uncommon to have a reduction in cholesterol and improved blood sugar regulation. This results in reduced cravings as blood sugars maintain stability.
Top tips on going paleo
As a paleo lifestyle may sound daunting at first here are my top tips for living the paleo way without it taking over your life.
1. Ensure you always have a sliced paleo cake and or bread in the freezer – this means you always have a portion on hand.
2. Batch cook – you can make a super simple paleo granola which is lower in sugar than shop bought ones and can be stored in jars for weeks.
For the days you wake up late – throw some in a bowl with some almond milk and berries and you’re ready to go.
3. Always keep some nuts or seeds in your bag for the times you’re out a little longer than expected and you want to prevent a blood sugar crash. I hope these tips are helpful and that this article has provided a little more insight into the paleo diet and why it may be beneficial for you.
Recipe: Vegan and gluten free granola
300g Almonds (Raw)
100g Chopped Almonds (Raw)
70g Pecans (Raw)200g Cashews (Raw)
100g Brazil Nuts (Raw)
100g Desiccated coconut
25g Sesame seeds
100g Pumpkin seeds
25g Poppy seeds
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed spice
Zest of 2 large oranges,
juice of 1 large orange
How to make it…
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a pan heat the coconut oil until liquid and then stir in the rest of the wet ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry and ensure all the nuts and seeds are fully coated. Spread the mixture out evenly across one or two lined baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes. Leave in the oven, with the oven turned off to dry out the granola and give it that added crunch!
Serve with coconut yoghurt dairy-free milk or as an on the go snack. ENJOY!!
Thanks to Jenna Hope for this feature from our Autumn Issue of Thrive Magazine