Tuesday, March 27, 2012

THE Paleo Lifestyle

A week ago I hit up one of my best minimalist/barefoot/blogger buddy about writing something up about the paleo goodness, and man did he do a kick ass job! So from here I will turn it into the one and only Barefoot Puffin!

I'll list the question, then obviously type my response below. Savvy? Good let's get this rolling.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Clearly, if you have to really ask this question, you've been living under a rock. Or perhaps if you had been living under a rock, you'd know exactly what this diet is. First of all, it isn't really a diet. It's more of a way of life. Yah, sounds cheesy, but it's the best way I know how to get the proper scope into what we are going to talk about. What I am going to do for you is break down the Paleo lifestyle in the way that I understand it to be. Will I provide you with teh sciences??? No, instead I refer you Robb Wolf or Marks Daily Apple. They have done the research and they know their shit. I want you to understand it on a normal human level, not an uber Bill Nye the science guy level.
I suppose the simplest way to put it, is the Paleo diet (from a purely nutritional standpoint) is an elimination diet. No, we aren't eliminating deliciousness in exchange for shittiness like most fad diet plans would call for. Instead, we are focusing on eliminating toxins from the food we eat. Believe it or not, today's "modern" diet, if you can call the cardboard processed crap that most people are pushing around in their carts, foods are pretty bad for us. We aren't designed to eat foods with preservatives in them. Hell, most of us aren't even designed (as in biology people) to eat the almighty "healthy whole grains". In fact, most people have a pretty bad reaction to grains. Our bodies tend to treat them like toxins. Believe it or not, almost ALL processed foods contain some sort of toxin that most people don't tolerate very well. But you say to me, Oh wise and almighty Puffin, how come I don't feel terrible eating what I normally eat? Because you've been doing it for so long that you don't realize that the bloated feeling you get after eating isn't normal. That nauseous feeling you get after eating dairy isn't normal. We have been dealing with these for so long that we just accept them as part of life and move on. They don't have to be. Being on the Paleo diet for 30 days will change your entire view of food. You'll realize that you can feel awesome after eating, as opposed to nauseous and lethargic.
So, what can we eat? Fresh fruit, veggies, Eggs, Grassfed (if you can afford it) meats, nuts (peanuts don't count they are legumes folks), and delicious oils (coconut and olive oil are my favorites). The list goes on and on. I don't have the patience to list every single food, so I'll make it simple. If you can't find it in nature, you probably shouldn't be eating it. Simple right? Fortunately, it is very simple. Keep away from boxed food items, and shop for fresh ingredients. It's really not that hard.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are numerous. But I know what most people want to talk about. They want to know, can we lose weight on the paleo diet. Uhm, duh? Most people come to paleo for weight loss, but stay because they realize how awesome they feel. You'll get this feeling even before you start losing weight. Within a few weeks you'll feel a steady level of energy, enjoy deeper more restful sleep, an increased libido (hopefully you're married like me and have already hit your wife with a club and drug her back to the cave), a notable desire to eat real foods. You'll also kick that sugar habit that everyone suffers from. Seriously, sugar is, in my expert opinion, a legal form of crack. Like I said, I'm not going to give you all the benefits because it's different for everyone. You'll have to see for yourself.

How has it changed my life?

For those that don't know, I had gastric bypass in 2009. While this bypass helped me get started on the path to a healthier life, I'm more proud of the 35lb I've lost since going paleo than I was of the previous 80 from bypass. I feel better, I have more energy, and my mood is remarkably stable. Little things that used to bug the shit out of me no longer bother me. It's fantastic. My running has improved, my overall fitness has improved, and my quality of life has shot through the roof. Rather than feeling tired at the end of the day, I'm ready to go bang out a long run, lift something heavy, or play with my dogs. I can't imagine my life without being paleo. Don't get me wrong, there are days, like today, where I really want pizza. So, I have it. I eat it. I feel like utter shit later, but I enjoyed my pizza. I know what the pizza is going to do to me, and it's my choice to weigh the pros and cons. Pizza doesn't always win, but life is too short to not enjoy something once in a while.

So take 30 days out of your life, go paleo for just 30 days. See if it doesn't make your whole life view change.I know it did for me. If you are interested in doing a 30 day paleo challenge, I direct you to Whole 9 Life. That's where I would start. It'll make all the difference.