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Paleo for Beginners: Paleo Diet Foods for a Healthy Lifestyle

The Paleo diet: it’s been around for a while now, but I hear from a lot of our customers that they still don’t fully understand what it entails. Don’t be intimidated! As a Certified Paleo company, our team at Within/Without has you covered! I started the company after experiencing all of the health benefits from following the Paleo lifestyle and developed my Paleo granola recipes to be the perfect Paleo diet food, so you might say we’re experts.

I’ve outlined the basics of Paleo for beginners below, so jump in and see if it’s right for you!

The Paleo Lifestyle: The Founding Concept

Paleo is short for “Paleolithic,” implying that it’s the diet humans followed when they first evolved thousands of years ago. The creators of Paleo essentially want us to get away from modern processed foods and sedentary lifestyles and go back (way, WAY back) to our hunter/gatherer roots.

A common misconception about Paleo is that it’s rigidly “caveman,” i.e. if you can’t forage for it in the wilderness or hunt it down with a spear, it’s off the table. Nope. Not the case at all. Another misconception about the Paleo lifestyles is that it’s about loading up on excessive amounts of fat and protein. Nope, that’s not right either.

The Paleo diet is all about the right fats—the right ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, if you want to get technical. According to the creators of the paleo diet, the fats from fish, lean meats and fruits and vegetables provide the optimal ratio your body needs.

Paleo’s biggest impact on your diet will be the elimination of dairy, grains and legumes. Dieters reading about Paleo for beginners often get turned off when they see these big changes, but just like any diet, you don’t have to treat each rule as law. You should do what is right for your body, and incorporate the habits from a Paleo lifestyle into your routine that works for YOU. Think about it like this - not paleO, but paleYOU.

So, what foods does the Paleo diet approve of, and which ones do they recommend not consuming?

A Within/Without meal inspired by the Paleo lifestyle

Recommended Paleo Diet Foods

  • Meat: Lean and grass-fed & grass-finished
  • Seafood: Fish, shrimp, crab, mussels
  • Eggs: Cage-free and/or free-range
  • Fresh Fruit: Bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, berries, etc.
  • Fresh Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, onions, etc.
  • Herbs and Spices: Salt and pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, cilantro, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: Avocados, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil

Not Recommended Paleo Diet Foods

  • Artificial sweeteners/refined sugars: Splenda, sucralose, aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, candy, etc.
  • Grains: Bread, pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Peanuts, beans, lentils, etc.
  • Trans Fats: Fats in processed foods, usually labeled as “hydrogenated” oils
  • Processed Foods: Soft drinks, margarine, ice cream, vegetable oils, etc.
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, etc.

It’s important to note that the creators of Paleo have an “85:15 rule” (or 80:20 rule if you’re like me!) that says you should eat three non-Paleo meals a week. This way, you’re not banned from enjoying your favorite non-paleo foods or healthy sweet snacks. After all, who doesn’t love a bowl of pasta every now and then!

Blackberry smoothies

So What Are The Benefits?

Beyond being a prehistoric-based nutrition plan, many Paleo beginners wonder why the lifestyle has so many restrictions. Like we’ve said before, everyone should decide what food and lifestyle choices make sense for their unique body. In general, many turn to the Paleo lifestyle because of its host of benefits associated with increased energy levels, reduced cravings and lowering your risk for disease.

The creators of the Paleo diet heavily emphasize the importance of nutrient density. By eliminating foods that take up the bulk of a Western diet (like dairy, grains and soy), you’ll be forced to replace them with foods that are nutrient-rich and have greater health benefits.

When you’re regularly eating these nutrient-dense foods, your body will stop sending as many hunger signals to the brain, thereby curbing cravings. Approved foods of the Paleo diet will lower your blood sugar and insulin levels as well, causing your energy levels to stabilize throughout the day, i.e. no more crashes!

Another tenet of the Paleo diet is the removal of anti-nutrients. These are commonly found in grains like wheat and quinoa and can cause inflammation and autoimmune illness over time if over-consumed. The Paleo diet is very low in anti-nutrients and other acidic foods that are harsh on your gut and can increase the risk for osteoporosis.

Will Paleo Help Me Lose Weight?

The truth is, the Paleo diet isn’t meant to be a weight-loss diet; rather, it’s meant to help keep your weight controlled and your body healthy.

Many people who struggle to lose weight are eating foods that lack the nutrients needed to abate the body’s hunger signals. A beginner Paleo plan is great to curb these impulses because you’ll have fewer cravings when eating more nutrient-dense foods. While there are many more factors involved in weight loss than just the foods you eat, Paleo is great to use in conjunction with an active lifestyle and has many benefits that extend beyond just slimming down.

Within/Without Granola is Perfect For A Paleo Lifestyle

At Within/Without, we’re passionate about mindful eating. Our Paleo granola brand is focused on creating Paleo snacks that taste absolutely delicious. From maple pecan to blueberry granola, we have a tempting range that satisfies your taste buds while also nourishing your body.

Paleo for beginners doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming. If you’re on the fence, try our granola and a simple Paleo plan for a few days to see if it’s something you enjoy and can stick with.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs or leave a comment below, and we’ll help talk you through it!

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