During this time of year, we are all too familiar with New Year’s resolutions- and the stress that often comes with them as we try, fail, then try again and again to maintain them. We usually come up with little ideas of things we want to change, and when we do not see results, we give up. Okay so maybe that is just me, but I know a lot of others out there who feel the same way. So how about this year,instead of a new year’s resolution- how about we instead create a new LIFE resolution?! One that will transform you to a place of better health, making you feel so good that you never want to give it up?! Hmmm....that’s sounding pretty good isn’t it?
My favorite expert in the paleo world is Mark Sisson. He has a number of great books, all sighting plenty of legitimate scientific studies to support his claims. He also has a fantastic blog found at marksdailyapple.com, which I highly recommend. When you sign up for it, you will receive a daily email from him often talking about certain foods to add into the diet (or avoid) and workouts to try. Additionally, every Friday he sends a success
story from a person who has switched from the conventional diet to paleo- they are quite inspiring!
Ok, So What Exactly Is The Paleo Lifestyle?
As far as diet is concerned, it involves eating lots of high quality (wild, grass- fed, organic, local, etc.) meats, eggs, and vegetables. Lower glycemic fruits (berries are best), nuts, seeds, and some fermented dairy products are also incorporated.
What Is Not Allowed?
Mainly sugar, which includes things like candies, sodas, and other obvious sources, as well as all grains, beans, fast foods, and other processed foods. There is more to it than that, but that is the “nuts and berries” of it.
The basic premise revolves around the idea that the “NO” foods increase insulin resistance and lead to everything from diabetes, to heart disease, to arthritis. There seems to be more and more science out there supporting higher fat and protein diets over the conventional diets with lower fat and lots of whole grains. What? You mean it’s actually the bread and not the butter that’s making your cholesterol go up?! Yep, it sure is!
Exercise and Play!!
For the exercise part, the focus is on low impact for longer times- so for example, going for a moderately paced walk for an hour, where your heart rate isn’t over 75% of the max. Some occasional short bursts of sprinting and short sessions of heavy lifting are also beneficial. The CrossFit gyms showing up all over the place support this type of workout. The traditional “chronic cardio” style of workouts that most of us are guilty of, really do more harm than good, stressing the heart at high rates for long periods of time.
Lastly, some other great components that Sisson talks about incorporating into your life are to play and have fun, to get good sleep, to spend a little time in the sunlight for Vitamin D, and to use your mind to be creative. These last ones are the really fun part of going paleo- who doesn’t want to spend more time playing to boost health?!
As I sit here getting ready to eat a hearty homemade Bolognese sauce poured over a pile of tender spaghetti squash, with a side of organic broccoli- I’m reminded how incredibly satisfying the paleo way of life truly is! Mmmmm....