You’ve heard of the Paleo Diet, but maybe you’re not quite sure what it entails, or whether it’s right for you. Do you have to eat only raw meat with your bare hands? Can you use a stove at all, ever? Do you have to decipher stick figures on cave walls to get a recipe for meatloaf tonight?
None of the above. The Paleo Diet’s premise is surprisingly simple: Humans should be eating what we did in the hunter-gatherer days in order to live a longer life and with fewer diseases. Modern technology and commercial farming has taken us farther away from our optimal way to eat. We must avoid processed foods entirely, eating proteins that can be hunted and fished, and food that can be gathered like eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables. Legumes, dairy, and wheat are off-limits, as is refined sugar.
How can you make sure you’re eating the right way for the right reasons? Check out one of the Paleo-friendly books below.
Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, by Esther Blum
In this easy-to-follow book, Blum dishes the skinny on what the Paleo Diet is and how to incorporate it into your everyday life. It’s a funny, irreverent guide to Paleo living aimed specifically at women. She proves that you don’t have to do CrossFit and eat a steak at every meal to benefit from Paleo. She focuses on the effect that eating too many carbohydrates has on our overall health, from gaining weight to creating imbalances in our hormones.
Blum also incorporates delicious, healthy recipes to get you going, like Chocolate-covered Macaroons and Banana-Walnut Pancakes with Turkey Sausage. In her hands, you will eat clean, have tons of energy and become a lean, mean disease-fighting machine.
The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson is the godfather of Paleo. He describes in scientific detail how the Paleo Diet allows your body to fight diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and auto-immune disorders. Sisson is a former professional marathoner and triathelete; today, his mission is to spread the word that the Paleo Diet (or “primal blueprint diet,” as he calls it) is the best recipe for overall nutrition and fitness. He explains in detail what the optimal amount of carbs are for weight loss, and why grains are unnecessary and actually bad for your health.
Sisson also recommends an all-over approach to healthy living. He promotes getting enough sleep, exercising using body resistance, and taking daily supplements like Vitamin D and fish oil. Take one look at Sisson’s six-pack (at age 60!) and you’ll agree that there might be something to this caveman thing after all.
The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body, by Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.
Author Sarah Ballantyne created a practical approach to switching to a Paleo diet. In this book, you’ll find shopping lists and strategies to transitioning to the diet seamlessly. Food budgets, where to shop and how to make the most of your time in the kitchen are also covered in the book. She takes the fear and stress out of going completely organic and grass-fed.
Using Paleo to combat illness? Ballantyne also recommends specific medical tests to discuss with your doctor, as well as simple changes you can make that will make a huge difference in how you feel.
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
What started as a hobby for the husband and wife team Michelle Tam and Henry Fong quickly turned into one of the most fun and innovative blogs for Paleo recipes and information. Michelle’s incredibly flavorful recipes and Henry’s gorgeous photography and graphic design make it a go-to for delicious Paleo recipes.
Our favorites: Tam’s green chicken recipe is a standby, as are the spicy salmon cucumber bites and garlic cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”
Get started with some great Paleo recipes: Follow our “Paleo Friendly” Pinterest board!
Photo Courtesy of Nom Nom Paleo.