Primal Eating- What is all the talk about?
Posted on 22 January 2014
At Vie Active we don’t prescribe to any specific type of diet- Vegan, Raw, Paleo, 801010 etc. Instead we try and focus on what makes our bodies and us happy. However, there has been a lot of ‘hype’ in the media recently about ‘Primal Eating’, also known as the Paleo diet. So we have decided to check it out, try some recipes and decode what ‘Primal Eating’ is.
What is Primal Eating?
The Paleo diet is built on the philosophy that we should eat what our cavemen and women ancestors ate.
Why? Well in today’s society people are often inactive, and consume packaged and processed foods and don’t get enough sleep. Where as our Stone Age ancestors ate whole, unprocessed foods, moved more, slept better and stressed less. Doesn’t being less stressed, getting more sleep and achieving optimum health and fitness sound great.
But, what exactly do you get to eat?
The Paleo diet is built mainly around eating whole, unprocessed foods. These deliver the highest amount of nutrients to our bodies. Most people agree that the Paleo diet focuses on eating high amounts of vegetables, nuts and unprocessed meats (think free range chicken, grass fed meat, wild fish etc.) and small amounts of fruit. It excludes refined sugar and grains. This aims to control blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, repair gut health and increase nutrient absorption.
Some Paleo advocates also believe that dairy should be excluded. However, many people agree dairy is ok depending on your gut health and whether you have any auto-immune issues.
Doesn’t this mean that you are eliminating most carbs?
Whilst the Paleo diet is relatively low carb by eliminating grains and refined sugar, this is not the aim. In fact you can still get adequate carbohydrate intake from fruit, vegetables like sweet potato and dairy.
Isn’t ‘Primal Eating’ high fat?
Primal Eating is relatively high fat.-but good fat. Our bodies are designed to eat good fats. Good fats are digested much more easily than carbohydrates and are the key to providing you with glowing skin, healthy hair and nails, and assisting fat breakdown. Eating fat to lose fat, we like the sound of that!
Good fats that the Paleo diet endorses include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, coconut milk, butter, ghee, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
But, didn’t cavemen lead shorter lives and have poorer dental health etc.?
It is true that cavemen lead much shorter lives and did have certain health problems such as dental problems. However, in today’s society we have nutritionists who can apply current knowledge about how different foods affect our body’s functions. This means the paleo diet can be tailored to achieve optimum digestion, a high metabolic rate and low insulin sensitivity.
How can this help my fitness goals?
The Paleo diet focuses on getting your body to function at an optimum level. Benefits include:
- Shorter recovery due to the high protein to repair your muscles.
- Reduced insulin levels (high insulin levels lead to fat storage in the stomach) by reducing sugar in the diet
- Reduced Hunger levels as high protein diets keep you fuller for longer
- Good digestive health as protein is digested easily by the body and high vegetable consumption adds adequate fibre to your diet
- Increased energy levels by increasing the vitamins and minerals in your diet
All this means that you can perform exercises with more energy, higher reps or heavier weights. You then get the benefits of a short recovery time, and overall will see results quickly and reach your goals in less time!
Want to know more?
Check out Eat drink Paleo (http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/)
They have fantastic tools for anyone wanting to give primal eating a go. They have answers to any more questions you may have, great recipes, a fantastic cookbook and heaps more!
Our Favourite Paleo-friendly places
The Paleo Café -They have a great range of treats, breakfast and lunch meals and also sell Paleo cooking essentials in their stores. They have stores all around Australia.
Thr1ve- Thr1ve has a great range of superfood smoothies (their salted caramel is our favourite) as well as healthy lunch options. They have a store in Sydney and Canberra.
Our Favourite Paleo-friendly reads
Eat Drink Paleo by Irena Macri
Clean Living by Luke Hines and Scott Gooding
The Healthy Cook by Dan Churchill
Enjoy! And let us know if you have tried it out and loved it!