1. Paleo diet refers to our historic human lifestyle as hunter-gatherers. This not only accounts for the type of food we ate but also the activities and general lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.
2. In essence, Paleo diet promotes a high protein and fat diet with some carbohydrates derived from fruits and vegetables. Ideally, all food sources are organic, grass-fed, and hormone free. Sustainable and locally sourced farming is ideal.
3. The food choices are all types of meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts & seeds. Tubers (potatoes, esp. yam and sweet potatoes) are also widely accepted in the Paleo community although the food was not available during the hunter-gather era.
4. The key foods eliminated in a Paleo Diet are: all high starch and processed carbohydrates such as rice, legumes, peanuts, and bread. Any foods made from flour, wheat, corn, barley, rye, and any other grains are not consumed.
5. There is no dairy consumption in the traditional Paleo diet. For those who follow the 80/20 principle, partake in small quantities of dairy. As well, as pseudo-cereals (a type of grain but considered low in the GI index) such as quinoa, flax, and chia seeds. (This is only 20% of overall food consumption)
6. Food preparation is also integral. All natural herbs and spices are approved. Moderate use of sea salt or Himalayan salt are promoted. Fermented soy and vinegar are permitted. Particular cooking and dressing oils are advocated for their nutrients and chemical stability. Dressing oils may not be used for cooking as they change the chemical make-up of the oil promoting unhealthy digestion and metabolism. Ideal oils for cooking are coconut oil, palm oil, and butter from grass-fed cows.
Following the Paleo, hunter-gatherer (HG) physical lifestyle can help in regulating stress, hormone levels, and promote overall optimum physical health.
7. Exercise: The average HG was active, having to forage for food and run from predatory animals. How does your physical activity compare? Ideally it’s about moving more and sitting less. Too much exercise is also not good as it creates a different type of stress on the body, thus move just enough to stay healthy and fit. The diet will take care of the excess weight you would like to lose.
8. Life Balance: Some stress is good; for example we want just the right amount of cortisol levels (so-called “stress” hormones) that we maintain a healthy and vibrant body. Strive for short-term, infrequent stress, and try to find healthy ways to deal with stress such as working-out, practicing a mind/body practice (yoga, Pilates, meditation, Tai Chi), journaling, and / or start a fun and relaxing hobby. Avoid chronic stress.
9. Rest/Sleep: HG also slept longer and took naps. Getting a consistent, good night sleep helps prevent disease, aids in fat loss, and maintains youthful looks. Each person is slightly different, but overall most need 7-9 hours of sleep. There are those who can function with less, so learn about your energy cycle, or circadian rhythm to find out when and how much rest you need to be at your best.
10. In general no alcohol or energy drinks are consumed in the Paleo lifestyle. BUT IF YOU MUST – with in your 20% limit, choose clear alcohol with no added sugar (no frou-frou mix drinks). No beer. No energy drinks. Caffeine in moderation via tea or black coffee.