One of the new endeavors I have embarked on since becoming a health coach has been speaking engagements. Let me be totally honest with you… I may know my fair share about health and wellness, but public speaking isn’t a skill that comes easily to me. In fact, it scares the shit outta me. But, I have a passion, purpose, and a message I want to spread to as many people as I can and getting out there in my community is part of the game. Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of stepping my toes into this unfamiliar territory has been the opportunity to learn so much from my audience! For example, last week I gave a talk on Paleo to a small group. I naively assumed most people in attendance had a good grasp on the Paleo lifestyle, but came simply to expand their knowledge and maybe learn a few extra tips in the kitchen. Instead, I was beautifully surprised that while most knew very little (and even struggled a bit to pronounce “Paleo”), they were mentally open and committed to making a lifestyle change. They were intrigued by this somewhat buzz word “Paleo”, but really needed somewhat to cover the basics. By the way, I know “basic” gets a bad rep in slang vernacular, but allowing yourself to be a beginner is actually basic-ally pretty awesome ; ) On the that note, thought I would share some of what we discussed the other evening at my talk…
What is Paleo and why might it be what your body needs?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Paleo” by now. It’s kinda allll over Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Most people have heard of it, but many are not quite sure what it is… or that it is pronounced “PALE (like the color of my pasty winter skin)- eyo”. Regardless, I’m here to tell ya it is absolutely one of the healthiest and easiest lifestyles to embrace!
To explain – picture yourself as a cavewoman (or man, whaytevs) millions of years ago. There was no such thing as cooking, let alone electricity to do it. So what would you eat? The answer is: anything that you can find.
Cavemen and women ate anything they could find in an effort to survive: fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and greens made up the majority of their diet. Eating certainly wasn’t a hobby such as what it has been made into today, but a means for survival – a means to nourish the body and thank it for all it does.
You’re probably thinking – That’s a great history lesson you’re teaching, but it is 2016 and this shit has nothing to do with me. My answer is: It has a lot to do with you, especially if you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, get happier and live longer.
You can do a Google search for Paleo studies in your spare time and learn about the massive effects a Paleo lifestyle has on a person’s health, but I’ll give you the rundown: it kills depression, slows down or prevents diseases and autoimmune disorders, gives you a boatload of natural energy and provides your body with every nutrient it needs. And that’s not even all.
Before I get into the benefits, let’s state the hard, cold reality of Paleo – there are NO grains allowed, NO sugar allowed, NO processed foods allowed and for the most part, NO dairy allowed. Hold up, wait a minute…? Yep, you heard it right. Your favorite grains – cereal, rice, oatmeal, crackers, quinoa, bread, pasta, etc., etc. – aren’t typically in a Paleo lifestyle, and there’s a very good reason for it. Neither are your sugary treats, prepackaged meats or yogurt.
Before you ditch this article altogether and tell yourself there’s no way you can do that, listen up, homies. Trust me, your health is in jeopardy if you don’t.
How Glucose Harms the Body
The glucose, or sugar, consumed through grains by the majority of Americans is the first reason grains aren’t allowed.
But why? Grains contain glucose that when consumed, and not used right away for energy, turns into fat. You can see this example in action by just looking around you at the obesity epidemic. Put simply – eating grains make us gain fat, and being overweight is harmful to every system and cell in your body.
The second-way people consume glucose is pretty much straight-up. In their coffee, in their baked goods, in their pantry, in their fridge, and probably most other places you look.
We all know that too much sugar is bad. And quite frankly, I hate to break it to you but any sugar that is not natural – such as what is present in fruits and vegetables – is bad.
Sugar doesn’t just make you fat; sugar harms nearly every component of your body. It spikes your blood sugar, damages your liver, causes insulin dependence, and those factors are just the tip of the iceberg.
Lectins, Glutens…Oh, My!
The second thing we should discuss are the two other things found in grains that also put your health in jeopardy. These evil little dudes are called lectins and glutens, which pose a serious risk to our bodies.
Gluten is a protein that an overwhelming majority of Americans are sensitive to and leads to a solid number of diseases and disorders. I’m sure your eyes and ears have been inundated with the term “gluten-free”, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about.
Grains also contain lectins, but we should probably just call them what they are – TOXINS, which are not meant to be consumed by the human body. What do toxins do? Prevent your body from doing its job.
What about Dairy?
I know you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about dairy. Dairy actually falls into a bit of a grey area in Paleo. As part of a Paleo lifestyle, you likely wouldn’t be consuming dairy (many don’t). I do consume a little, but mostly in the form of grass fed butter (which has a much higher amount of anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s in it) or goats’ cheese (which is most similar in composition to human breast milk, so we tend to be able to digest it better).I do want to mention raw milk and how some Paleo experts suggest it is a benefit to a Paleo diet. Raw dairy contains the enzymes needed to digest it, while pasteurized dairy does not. Therefore, some people that are sensitive to pasteurized dairy and whose body does not contain the enzyme, lactase, to help digest it, may do better on raw milk – if that’s what they choose. Also, But don’t worry, dairy isn’t as important as the dairy industry makes it out to be.
Can you drink it? Yes, you can, although many people have an extreme sensitivity to dairy and it causes health problems for many. Do you have to have it to be healthy and is it considered in the Paleo diet? No on both accounts.
What Can I Eat?
Here is a basic list with what you should and shouldn’t be eating in your Paleo diet. However, for more advice on this, please contact me or refer to my Paleo program here:
What’s Important to You?
By going grain-free and only consuming natural foods, you’re preventing all of these toxins from entering your body, thereby boosting your health immediately, draining your body of toxins and boosting your immune system so that illness and disease stands no chance against your body!
Going Paleo is a personal choice that only you can make. But before you eat that next French fry or chug down that soda, be mindful of what it’s doing to your body – creating a perfect environment for disease to enter and thrive. And that is no bueno, right?
Oay, so that’s my food for thought today ; ) Happy Friday, friendos!
p.s. That pic is of some of fav chia seed/coconut milk pudding! Yes, recipe is available in my 14 day Paleo program