First of all, I’m not 100% strict paleo. I don’t find that to be a reasonable way to live my life (some people do, but I doubt most people would). I have bouts of strict paleo, but mostly I try to stay at 80-90% or better.
I find that the “paleo” way of eating makes the most sense to me, makes me feel great, and time and time again, it’s given me results. Everybody’s different, so it’s not necessarily right for everyone, or it may require some tweaks. At the very least, it’s a great jumping off point if you’re looking to get into a whole foods diet (and you should be).
It’s All About Health
Something I notice frequently about myself and others who follow a paleo diet is consistently solid energy levels. There’s less (or no) need for daily “pick me ups” like coffee, (constant) snacking, or sugary junk foods. That’s because your body becomes fat adapted (learn more at Mark’s Daily Apple), letting you efficiently use your own fat stores for energy, and because you aren’t constantly slamming sugar into your bloodstream.
Using fat as an energy source means your blood sugar won’t be rushing up and crashing down like when it’s used to constantly having simple carbohydrates available for fuel. That can help you fall asleep at bed time, while not crashing during the day when you need to focus. Exercise becomes less of a chore because your body wants to move.
Intolerances and “Minor” Symptoms
I’d guess a lot of people are walking around with a bunch of “minor” symptoms and intolerances that seem unavoidable. They either think it’s “just the way their body is” or that it’s just a fact of getting older. Maybe some of them are, but for me, that wasn’t the truth. For me, these were all caused by a terrible “standard american diet” (SAD).
I’ve had all sorts of “getting older” issues that have cleared up with a proper whole foods diet. When I eat junk, I get stomach aches, head aches, coughs, stuffy noses, sore throats, dry skin, low energy, and heart burn. I thought these were all just the minor annoyances you deal with in life until I got rid of them.
Now that I’ve dropped these problems, I’ve realized how an amazingly simple thing like “eating real foods” can make my life so much better. When I go back to eating junk (it happens once in a while, I’m looking at you December!), the issues start to come back and I remember just how amazing this way of eating is.
I think the items above are more important than this one, but this is why I started looking into the paleo diet in the first place, and probably why a lot of you are reading this now. Weight can be a key indicator of health, and while there’s no guarantees, I’ve personally seen boatloads of success with people switching to a paleo diet to get to a healthy body weight.
I lost about 60lbs when I first got serious about paleo, and while I’ve fluctuated from there, it’s helped me to remain a healthy weight since. Although my focus here is on health more than weight, sticking with a whole foods approach can be a great way to lose weight (if you’re overweight in the first place).
On top of the amazing benefits of a paleo diet, the community has generally had an approach to other health topics that just makes sense to me. Consider making some of these important non-diet lifestyle changes:
- Getting enough sunlight for vitamin d production
- Getting outside and into nature
- Getting enough quality sleep (crazy important)
- Moving in a way that supports health and improves mobility
Combining these changes with a paleo diet can have almost unbelievable effects on your life, including improved mood and focus, reducing or eliminating aches and pains, and much more. If you’re like me, you’ll solve problems you didn’t realize were there until they were gone (I had no idea how good I could actually feel).
Paleo For Life (maybe…)
Up to now, paleo has been the absolute best thing that’s happened to my health. Being open-minded got me here, and it makes no sense to change now. I’m always open to changes that could make me feel even better, but it sure feels like I’ve already made some huge steps in the right direction.
When you’re looking to improve your health, that’s what you should take from this: start with something that makes sense, stay open minded, try new things, and do whatever works for YOU.