What To Eat on A Paleo Diet (Plus a Great Breakfast Recipe!)
We see it everywhere. Paleo is the newest diet craze, but for good reason. I’ve eaten this way for a while now because it’s the diet that keeps me incredibly healthy and it also happens to be the most biologically appropriate diet that we, as humans, can eat.
But I really struggled with hopping on board with this diet for years.
Since it is the prescriptive diet for people with digestive or autoimmune conditions and I struggled so long with Crohn’s Disease, I knew that this diet would keep me incredibly healthy and well. I just didn’t realize how great I’d feel once I finally stepped in with both feet.
It started with my giving up gluten, which was actually no big deal for me. I confirmed that gluten was doing my body no good after which I decided to ‘cheat’ one night and eat cake. I woke up the next morning with my entire lower body covered in hives. Yep. That was fun! I ended up on a round of Prednisone (my favorite go-to steroid) to which as soon as I came off of it, the hives came roaring back to life. Finally, I had to go on a green juice cleanse for 4 days and that got rid of them. But I knew that after this experience, food was a big one for me.
The Paleo Diet consists of eating sustainable sources of meat, fish and seafood. All fruits and vegetables are included. Nuts and seeds are eaten on this diet too, which makes it easy to bake with things like almond and coconut flour. Honey and maple syrup can be eaten in moderation. Dairy products are a grey area for Paleo foodies. I still consume some dairy products (always full fat) as they don’t seem to bother me. But dairy is very often a problem for a good number of people. If you’re susceptible to skin conditions (such as acne or eczema) or have sinus issues or congestion issues, than dairy is likely not sitting well with you.
The beauty of this way of eating is that you don’t have to give up fat. Fat is not the enemy! Really! We need fat for energy, brain health, to make tissue and to manufacture biochemicals, such as hormones. This is why women who lose too much fat often stop menstruating. Fat is our friend. Sugar, on the hand is not. This way of eating removes refined sugar and leaves you with naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, honey and maple syrup. Lowering your sugar intake is a game changer. Just google it!
Here is what a typical day in the life of a paleo eater looks like (with a great recipe attached!).
Breakfast: Smoothies are big in my house. Every morning, I whip out my blender and make a huge smoothie. It typically looks something like, a banana, fresh or frozen berries, a spoonful of organic greek yogurt, a splash of orange juice, and some powdered collagen. I’ll often make some bacon or eggs with my breakfast for some added protein.
Lunch: I always make extra meat at dinner the night before so I can eat it with my lunch. Lunch can look like a mixed salad with chopped up chicken, goats cheese, strawberries, and a homemade dressing with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and fresh garlic.
Dinner: Dinner is easy on the paleo diet. And although I’m the only one in my family who eats this way, our dinners are most often fully paleo. They include things like sweet potatoes baked in butter, cinnamon and maple syrup, chicken marinated in a homemade teriyaki sauce and a garden salad.
Snacks: Snacks can be tricky because this way of eating isn’t overly convenient. And yet it’s foods of convenience that have landed so many people in health problems. Fruits are great. Making up an antipasto platter with artichokes, prosciutto, olives and smoked salmon, is a great and healthy snack (or meal!). Some people take a Saturday or Sunday morning and prepare their baked goods for the week. On the paleo diet you can make great tasting cookies, muffins, breads and protein balls that taste great and are actually good for you.
While it’s not the easiest diet to follow, it’s the one that we’re most adapted to eat. It keeps our insulin output very low, which essentially mitigates the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes anything from diabetes to heart disease.
It’s also the prescriptive anti-aging diet. If you want to age gracefully (and who doesn’t!) than this is the diet to eat. It is entirely appropriate for children and crucial for people with digestive or autoimmune issues.
Eating in restaurants is also completely doable. You may not get the oils or the exact ingredients that would constitute a paleo diet, but we’re not going to be psycho about it. Leniency is a pretty big key to eating well and enjoying your life at the same time.
I still drink a chai tea latte most mornings. Paleo? Hell no! Yummy? Why, yes…yes it is!
Here’s the beauty of eating this way. You can cut some corners here and there and it really won’t make a big difference to your health. Most people I know who eat a Paleo Diet do so about 80 – 85% of the time.
Here is a great breakfast smoothie recipe that is really tasty, filling and fully paleo.
The Nourished Soul’s Date Shake
2 medjool dates (pitted)
2 tbsp of almond butter
2 cups of almond milk
handful of ice
Blend in a high speed blender for 45 seconds and enjoy!!!
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