Choosing the diet that is right for you can be a confusing process. At Bloom Natural Healthcare, we recommend a variety of diets for a variety of people and conditions. One diet that we’ve been recommending regularly is the Paleo Diet. Though, for many of our patients, this diet can feel too extreme when taken on “cold turkey,” it is still a useful guide for a healthy, balanced and low-carb diet.
The Paleo Diet in a Nutshell
Roughly based on the diet of humans during Paleolithic times, a period that was pre-agriculture, The Paleo Diet excludes all grains and beans/legumes, as well as most sugars, dairy and all artificial substances. At its core it consists of grass-fed, organic meat and eggs; fresh or frozen vegetables; limited fresh or frozen fruits; good-for-you oils (olive, coconut, almond) and nuts and seeds. Red wine and dark chocolate are allowed occasionally, as are honey and maple syrup.
We like this diet for a few reasons. First of all, it’s low-carb and for the majority of people, this is a healthy way to eat. Contrary to what we were all taught as kids, using the Food Pyramid, carbohydrates are not an essential food group. Our bodies can make all the carbohydrates we need from proteins and fats. In fact, eating low-carb can make us less susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and inflammation in general.
Secondly, this diet focuses on whole foods and gets people eating foods and combinations of foods that they wouldn’t normally think to eat, introducing a greater variety of foods to their diet. And variety is not only “the spice of life” but it’s great for your overall health, bringing you a greater number of nutrients and antioxidants. Even if you don’t follow the Paleo Diet 100%, the recipes and cooking ideas featured by devotees all over the internet are a wonderful resource for introducing that variety to your diet.
Maybe chocolate chip cookies are your favorite? Why not try making them with almond flour instead of wheat flour. It gives a new twist on your old cookie recipe as well as adds heart healthy fats, fiber and protein that you won’t get with plain white flour and will give your blood sugar less of a spike. Maybe you love white rice? Vary it up with riced cauliflower, adding its potassium, phosphorous, vitamins B & C, fiber, cartenoids, phytonutrients, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to your dinner table.
Most importantly, the Paleo Diet’s focus is rich in vegetables and heart-healthy oils, as well as on high-quality meats and eggs. Many of our patients adapt the paleo diet by adding some gluten-free grains and dairy, in moderation, here and there. Whether you go Paleo all the way or just cut down on the processed, refined and starchy white carbs, while increasing your overall intake of high-quality protein, fresh veggies and good fats — your diet and health will see a natural improvement.
Bonus: Weight Loss & Blood Sugar Benefits
This diet has a great weight loss record, especially for people who have hormone/endocrine imbalances, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Hashimoto’s hypothyroid. This is because, when you eat like this, you don’t interrupt your body’s ability to properly metabolize the food it’s getting with blood sugar spikes and hyper-insulin responses. With your blood sugar in check and your body’s hunger needs being met by highly satiating proteins and fats (backed up with solid nutrition from non-starchy vegetables) your body is free to burn existing fat, instead of activating insulin (which tells the body to store fat, as it clears the excessive sugars from your bloodstream.)
In exchange, most people find they’re able to eat less calories (without counting them) but feel more satiated, eating until they’re full. They also report increased energy (the ability to exercise more), much less inflammation and reduced sugar cravings. All of which leads, naturally, to sustainable weight loss and better overall health.