Well…not me necessarily, I’ve actually maintained optimal health, which includes a healthy weight, by living a lifestyle that adopts a lot of the Paleo approach to eating.
“I lost 70 pounds (or more) on the Paleo Diet!” is very common & we see it all the time in the news and on our social media feeds during a # Transformation Tuesday.
While an accomplishment like that by all means has earned its accolades and warrants excitement, it’s so much more than the weight loss, it’s about providing your body what it needs to reach optimal health.
Here are just a few reasons why someone would adopt a Paleo Lifestyle
- Weight loss goal
Since Paleo offers a very basic approach to eating. It offers people a great guideline on what they can and cannot eat (see below). This is helpful for meal prepping and also when eating out at restaurants. Honestly, a Paleo lifestyle is about getting in the kitchen and preparing your food. Form a healthy relationship with food; know exactly what you are putting in your body because YOU made it!
- Chronic Illness, such as an autoimmune dis-ease
The Paleo approach removes a lot of the trigger foods that can cause Leaky Gut. Perhaps you’ve come to your wits-end and want a solution that is a more natural approach to health. If you have a chronic illness and want to learn how food might be related to what’s going on with your health, I recommend diving into the following books written by medical professionals who’ve had personal experience & offer some guidance (including meal plans and recipes):
Wahl’s Protocol, Gut & Psychology Syndrome, & The Autoimmune Solution
- Optimal health and performance
Many of the local gyms encourage a Paleo approach to eating. I’ve seen it a lot in gyms that offer group classes and rigorous workouts (ie Crossfit, athletic training). These settings also offer the opportunity to be with other people who are living a healthy lifestyle and getting their bodies into shape.
What you should EAT:
- Organic Meat & Poultry (grass-fed, pasture raised – if possible)
- Fish (Wild caught, preferably from cold water)
- Organic Vegetables (Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen)
- Fermented Foods (kimchi, sauerkraut)
- Fruits (in moderation)
- Nuts and Seeds (in moderation)
- Healthy fats (ie. Avocado, olive oil, animal fats from grass-fed land animals)
What you should AVOID:
- Grains and Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, corn, rice, quinoa, etc)
- Legumes (beans, soy lentils, peanuts, etc)
- Dairy (for at least the first 30 days)
- Vegetable and Industrial Seed Oils (canola, soybean, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, etc)
- Processed and Artificial Sweeteners
- Processed food (including most packaged food)
At the end of the day, no matter what diet you choose, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
- How do I look and feel?
- Do I perform better?
- Are my biomarkers of health and disease getting better or worse?
Although Paleo is not a one-size fits all lifestyle, it does offer some very key and easy to follow guidelines.
With Love…and to your health…xoxo
3 Recipes Included:
Paleo Stuffed Butternut Squash
- 1 Lb Organic, ground turkey (Pasture-raised if available)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1tsp Himalayan salt, sea salt, or Celtic sea salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice*
- 1 tsp. grass-fed butter
- 1 green apple, diced or chopped (or dried fruit like raisins or currants)
- 1 small to medium onion (yellow or white)
(Tip: Feel free to add in a chopped up leafy green like kale or spinach or even asparagus to give extra color and health kick!)
- 1 Butternut (or acorn/pumpkin/delicate)
- Few sprigs of fresh sage
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice*
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut bottom and top off squash and cut lengthwise.
- Drizzle the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with a little pumpkin pie spice, pinch of salt and pepper.
- Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and then parchment paper (never cook on aluminum).
- Place squash, cut side down, add ¼ inch of water.
- Bake for 30-40 min, depending on size. A fork should slide easily through when it’s done.
- Heat coconut oil in a skillet (not Teflon). Add onion and apples. Sauté for about 3 minutes. You can add a little ghee or grass-fed butter here to get some nice carmelization. Sauté for another 2 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Add garlic and sauté another minute.
- Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice and red pepper flakes.
- Cook until all the pink from the meat is gone, about 10 minutes.
- Remove flesh from the squash and place in a bowl. Leave some of the flesh on the walls of the squash to maintain its structure.
- Mash the squash in the bowl with a fork to break it up and then add the fresh sage.
- Add this mixture to the ground turkey in the skillet.
- Mix until combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Scoop the mix from skillet to the hollowed butternut squash halves.
- Place the filled squash halves in a backing dish and put back in the oven for 10 min.
Optional: top with nutritional yeast or pepitas.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix*
- 3 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground
- 2 Tsp Ginger, ground
- 2 Tsp Nutmeg (freshly ground)
- 1 ½ Tsp Cloves (freshly ground)
- 1 ½ tsp Allspice (freshly ground)
Mix all together and store in an airtight container
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pepitas
- 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) – usually about 2 of the little pie pumpkins
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (Grade B) or Honey
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss all of the ingredients together until the seeds are fully coated.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay them out in a single layer.
- Bake for 8 minutes
- Let cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.