We love a good throwback, and this time we’re taking you back 10,000 years to see what our ancestors devoured – and why these paleo foods are proving so popular among world class athletes, many of our own #TeamBearStrength ambassadors and everyday gym-goers alike.
More of a healthy eating-plan than a diet, going paleo means no limiting calories and no restricting fat (hooray!) but focusing your attention instead on eating top quality proteins (think grass-fed meat, fresh fish, poultry, and eggs), plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
So far so simple – but, although it’s hard to go wrong with a clean eating diet that includes so many healthy, nutrient-dense foods (translation: you’ll never likely feel hungry), going paleo also means cutting out all sugar (except for those naturally found in fruits), grains, and processed starches.
Going cold turkey can be these convenience foods can be tough to begin with, but starting strong is a proven way of making new healthy habits stick – and knowing that there’s room for those coveted ‘cheat days’ in the mix, can also help soften the blow, too. But if that’s not enough to make you clean up your eating act, be mindful that going paleo can also:
Rev up your metabolism
Provide essential nutrients
Offer a more sustainable and seasonal way of eating
Sound tempting? If you’re ready to travel back in time and dine as our ancestors dined (or at least as closely as possible in this century), then here’s what you’ll need to focus on…
Include high quality protein in every meal – lean, unprocessed grass-fed meats, sustainably caught fish and omega-rich eggs are preferred
Don’t get too caught up in the no-carb idea. Clean eating can include ‘approved’ energy-boosting carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, squash and bananas
Unlike many faddy diet plans, paleo embraces healthy fats – and the good news is that there are plenty of them to choose from. Healthy sources include olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil and natural fats from nuts, seeds and avocados
Though super-strict paleo plans cut out processed dairy and soy, many clean eating plans approve whole milk, cream and butter. If you’re opting to go the whole hog, then be sure to take a supplement so avoid any deficiencies
Relegated to the blacklist, processed foods (that’s anything that’s been changed from its original state) are a no-go when eating paleo –which means no bread, ready meals, chips, crisps, soft drinks, biscuits, dairy products (see above), chocolate, candy and reformed meats
Though your food options may be limited, snacking is not (every cloud…). Nuts, seeds, paleo bars, bananas and vegetable crisps all make for ideal snacking when hunger strikes
While most sweet treats are not allowed on the paleo diet, it’s possible to get creative in the kitchen and whip up your own clean versions. Swapping grain flours for coconut or nut flowers, refined sugars for honey, stevia or agave, and chocolate for raw cacao can create equally satisfying sweet treats that will keep you on track
The real hook here is that you’re allowed a cheat every once in a while – after all, balance is everything, and the 80/20 rule helps make everything more sustainable.
Need some cheat day inspiration? Check out the go-to foods our #TeamBearStrength athletes reach for on a cheat day.