Nutritional Merits of the Paleo Diet by Laura Kraber, NTP
Comprised of nutrient-dense whole foods, the Paleo diet is based on the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors of the Palaeolithic era, 2.5 million years ago. Paleo includes grass-fed meats, quality poultry, wild or sustainably farmed seafood and eggs, as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. All dairy, grains, legumes and beans are excluded from the diet because humans only began eating those foods with the advent of farming, a mere 5000 - 10,000 years ago.
Popular among health fanatical “biohackers” as well as dieters eager to shed pounds, the Paleo diet gained enormous popularity in the last decade as increasing research shows the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet and the health dangers of the processed and sweetened foods that dominate our meals and snacks.
A central tenet of the Paleo philosophy is the belief that the optimal human diet is the one that we ate during the long course of human evolution, and that our bodies were not designed to eat grains or dairy, both of which are relatively recent additions to the human diet. As much as farming unquestionably improved the course of humanity by creating a stable food supply, there is some evidence (controversial, of course) indicating that our health has in fact declined since we adopted a grain-heavy diet.
By removing the ubiquitous wheat and grain-based foods such as bread, crackers and chips, and increasing the intake of protein and fat from natural, healthy sources, the Paleo diet succeeds in reducing refined carbohydrates completely, which helps to manage blood sugar, cholesterol, heart health and autoimmune disorders. A large part of the popularity of Paleo is derived from its beneficial impact on autoimmune disease sufferers who find a great reduction in symptoms, and sometimes even complete remission, in conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
What I like about Paleo is the focus on “real foods” and the emphasis on the quality of the food as a key aspect of dietary compliance. For this reason, I believe that most people can reap powerful health benefits by loosely following the Paleo program, without being overly restrictive or adhering to the diet 100%.
From a nutritional standpoint, the key takeaways of the Paleo diet phenomenon are:
- Focus on the quality of your meat and fish — don't compromise when it comes to fish and animal products, because your health is based on the health of the animals you eat.
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Eat food as close as possible to its natural state.
- Eliminate processed food contained preservatives, additives, chemicals or colourings.
Paleo teaches us that our bodies respond to the quality of our produce, our meat, our fish and the fats and oils we use for cooking and that our health depends upon eating real foods, close to nature, without additives, pesticides, subpar animal feed or polluted conditions for our meats and fish.
A key component of the Paleo diet, bone broth is currently enjoying a resurgence of interest due to its powerful health benefits and impressive array of nutrients. Full of gelatine and collagen, bone broths are healing to the intestinal tract and helpful with a range of digestive disorders from reflux esophagitis to IBS to intestinal permeability. As a base for soups and stews or simply sipped from a cup, bone broth is a traditional folk remedy for colds and flus, thanks to its nutrient-dense profile which supports the immune system and provides an excellent means of boosting mineral intake. Additionally, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and gelatine support your joints and bones, and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Take advantage of the health benefits of Paleo by enjoying animal products which are raised humanely, in pristine nature, free of antibiotics, pesticides or the unnatural feeding practices common in today’s farming businesses. The products from Sasha's Fine Foods fit perfectly with Paleo because they take extreme care in sourcing superior quality meat, fish, eggs and dairy, free from antibiotics or hormones. With Sasha Fine Foods’ produce in your shopping cart, you can eat Paleo-style every day of the week — just add fresh vegetables and a few other dietary staples to their selection of chicken or their mouth-watering Alpine King Salmon, or their delicious beef raised in the some of the purest, most natural conditions in the world. In fact all of Sasha's Fine Foods’ seafood and meat is fantastic for Paleo-style eating.
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