Paleo is an incredible way to live and thrive. We are making great progress with informing thousands and thousands of people about the huge improvements you can make in your life. But, what about the hundreds of millions of people that don't have a clue what Paleo is, what a podcast is, and especially what the hell Grass-Fed Beef is.
If we never messed with the food process methods in the first place we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place! But, we are in a big mess, so let's not waste any more time and start making changes to ourself and watch others follow.
I wanted to cover a few things that you can encounter when you're new to these changes, or are trying to help others.
Why does paleo work?
Because it involves eating real food that makes sense. The modern conveniences of packaging, preserving and conserving things such as protein bars, clif bars, snack packs, etc are convenient and I can't deny that.
However, beyond the ability to put them in your pocket, these foods still don't make sense. Stare at a cheez-it for 15 seconds and then tell me what it is.
Okay, now stare at a grape for 15 seconds and tell me what it is. Kind of silly, but food needs to look natural!
Paleo is about eating high quality meat labeled as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and eggs and seafood.
What's up with the terms "grass-fed and pasture raised"?
Let me explain. See when your grandparents or great-grandparents lived on the farm, they knew exactly where their food was coming from.
We'll assume that your family had a farm at one point, and their chickens and other livestock would have roamed the pasture eating worms, bugs and...grass, not corn.
The standard American mega-farms feed the cows corn, grains and many other disgusting things you don't want to know about. If you do want to know about it, look around on the web for CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) and you will see.
What about our chickens?
Well our chickens are fed corn, grains and other chickens. It's disgusting, unhealthy and unsanitary. Disease and infection is rampant in these warehouses that house hundreds of thousands of chickens, which explains why the use of antibiotics to keep these animals from dying is so popular.
Beyond the additives, hormones and steroids that are introduced into the chickens, these types of places are just a detriment to our health.
People are curious about studies that show how bad they are, the most important study can be done with your own eyes. Look at the unhealthy majority of society stricken with obesity, diabetes and disease. It's time for us to start consuming animals they way that they were raised just a short time ago.
All of these changes with warehouse operations have occurred in the last 100 years. It's not a coincidence. These changes coincide with the huge spike in obesity and other health problems!
To sum it up in one sentence, cows are supposed to eat grass, so it's labeled grass-fed to let you know. Chickens are supposed to be roaming the pasture instead of being crammed into a warehouse on top of other chickens, so it's labeled pasture-raised or free range.
So what about eggs? Are those safe to eat?
Well in terms of the Paleo diet, absolutely! Eggs are an amazing source of protein and fat.
Eggs actually contain more essential and healthy fats than protein. So eat eggs and love them as they provide a great source of omega-3 fats.
It's important to get organic, free-range eggs.
The price difference isn't that much different, and doesn't matter if you are truly concerned about your health. If you are ultimately concerned about your health and have your own backyard, you can easily purchase chickens on the internet and have them shipped to your home and start your own egg operation. You can have your own eggs!!!! You can purchase them from McMurray Hatchery. You can read about how great chickens can be to have alongside your small vegetable garden.
What about cage-free eggs?
Well, cage-free is one of those weird marketing terms. Cage-free can simply mean they aren't in a cage, but they can still be confined to harsh conditions which can result in lower quality eggs.
You want to find pasture-raised chickens and eggs. Quality makes a difference and can make improvements upon your health. There is a notable difference in the content of omega-3 fats.
Do I need to eat eggs?
If you can tolerate them without any digestive problems afterwards, go for it! Eggs are a quick and easy way to get good quality fats and protein into your diet.
Now I can't eat anything from the grocery store. What am I supposed to do?
Everyone says the same thing, but it really is your best option. Farmers markets and calling up some farms in your area to do direct sales with farmers.
They're out there, you just have to search for them!
This is a way that you can actually save money compared to the conventional grocery stores. Farmers are hurting right now because of the monopolization of the agriculture industry itself, they are waiting for your call.
Or you can raise some chickens! You don't have to kill them or eat them for years. They will lay many many eggs for you.
Not a farmer? You don't have to be!
There is a grass-roots movement for people that are raising chickens for even the smallest of backyards and are getting home-fresh eggs. Having chickens for the meat is actually a pretty long process and you'd be much better off just having chickens for their egg production.
Obviously this depends a little bit on your location.
I have found that human health is second to profit. Don't feel helpless, vote with your dollars; support your local farmers and local markets whenever possible. This ensures local stability in agriculture and more importantly, your health!
Local farmers markets are sometimes more expensive than the typical grocery stores, that's why I say to go direct.
There are many reasons behind the high prices.
The supermarkets contain food that is artificially cheap due to the massive subsidies and money that corporations are paid to grow these things such as grains and corn.
Huge industrial farms depend on you eating CRAP!
Through TV shows, commercials, cereal boxes and other promotional methods, the majority of people have been convinced that that's the only option. How have we supported them? By purchasing Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos, and any of "those foods".
Voting with your dollar is real.
Notice the huge trend in "100% all natural products lately"?
That's an example of the companies trying to switch up their marketing a little bit to keep making money on generally crappy food!
Organic poptarts are still...poptarts.
This same principle applies to potato chips, organic soft drinks and candy. Sugar and cooking oils such as canola oil should be avoided as much as possible; they are toxic to the body. It goes deeper than I can explain, you can read Dr. Chris Kresser's article about removing toxins from your diet.
This is stressful, what am I supposed to eat?
As if your stress levels weren't high enough already. Well, first, you should probably relax, take 3 deep breaths counting to 3, and let the things you just read digest as you sniff some essential oils.
Hopefully you took the time to click some of those links, this is serious stuff! It's fun to learn, scroll on websites and read information, but until you actually start applying what you've learned and making changes towards getting results, you will be disappointed.
Reading requires action!
Now, what should you eat? Well if you want to be as clean as possible:
- Grass-fed beef
- Pasture-rasied chicken and eggs
- Organic vegetables and fruits (my favorites are spinach, green beans, blueberries, raspberries and apples)
- Nuts and seeds (my favorites are raw almonds and macadamias)
- Use coconut oil and grass-fed butter to cook with (Kerrygold is a great brand of butter. Trader Joes has some inexpensive, high-quality and organic coconut oil)
- Drink water, herbal teas only. A lot of people drink coffee too, which is okay if you aren't in adrenal fatigue from years of consumption of stimulants. Nutritional Therapist Wendy Myers talks about Adrenal Fatigue on the podcast.
Do I have to eat like this 100% the time?
If you are new to Paleo and all of these diet changes seem drastic for you, that's okay.
YES, you should eat strict for at least the first 30 days.
We need to eliminate any potential foods that may trigger IBS, upset stomach, inflammation and other health effects that wheat and other mainstream processed foods may cause that you are unaware of.
You can't imagine how much better you can feel.
After you get past the initial cravings for wheat, dead carbs and processed foods, you will feel and look much better. Once you see the results, you don't need me to tell you anymore! Then you can start telling others.
Why does this make people feel better?
Because we are eating foods that we are supposed to eat. We are eating foods that enabled our ancestors to get through life and make it here with powerful DNA.
It's up to us to reprogram the damage that we have done to our bodies and yes even our DNA. There is an entire division of study known as epigenetics that focuses on eating high quality foods to give your future children the highest chance to have elite health.
Can I live like this forever?
Yes, that is the goal.
This is called a lifestyle because when any sort of diet change gets in the news, it's portrayed as a diet or some sort of quick fix to health and weight loss.
While they are correct about losing weight and improving your health, this is more than just a 30 day ordeal.
We intend for you to reap the benefits for many years to come, and it will become incredibly easy for you once you take the time to learn what and how you can prepare food. Most foods are already in the correct form such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, you take them out of storage and eat them!
What is the difference between Primal and Paleo?
You know, I'm not too much of a fan of labeling any sort of lifestyle or diet.
The Primal and Paleo lines are starting to blur due to more research. The difference was in the outlook on saturated fats that the Paleo diet had.
They were not praised as much as they are in the Primal diet. Honestly, very soon there won't be a difference, as they both hit on the same key points. Eliminating grains and wheat, eating organic fruits and vegetables, and eating high quality meat. Mark Sisson wrote about the differences here.
If you want me to be honest, you should quit worrying so much!
I say this because I get countless emails about very minute, small details of portion sizes and different worries.
You should worry less, enjoy life more and go hang out on a dirt trail somewhere.
Reading and reading and "trying to figure this whole Paleo thing out" doesn't have to be some long, drawn out and complicated process. If you look at your food items, and it generally doesn't resemble anything from the Earth, you probably shouldn't eat it.
Where to go from here?
Diet changes are great!
Diet changes in combination with exercise and lifestyle formation is even better and should not be ignored, especially if you want to live like your DNA expects you to.
For example: Our body gets confused when sitting for extended amounts of time.
That's why after reading this, you should go enjoy a brisk walk, lift some dumbbells or sprint down the street.
I am working on workout guides for those that want specific exercise plans, but the main point is that you are moving. Great job for making it this far on the journey to optimal health.