Paleo (PAY-lee-oh): a lifestyle based on real-food consumption, unplugging from electronics, face-to-face social bonding, getting out in the sun, playing for the sake of playing, resting, and giving one’s body a chance to thrive in the manner to which it evolved.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Paleo, but there is indeed an array of commonalities, a set of principles, steps, and “best practices” you can follow, to help you get started on your journey toward optimal health.
Paleo is not a “diet”.
Paleo is a lifestyle, supported by valid scientific evidence and practiced by real people.
The notion of “eating Paleo” developed from the study of evolutionary biology and the assimilation of ancestral foodways from around the globe. With a commitment to responsible scientific inquiry, rigorous research, epidemiological studies, and plenty of anecdotal evidence to boot, Paleo has evolved from a little-known nickname for a prehistoric era to a diet-and-lifestyle template that is changing the landscape of nutrition science.
Paleo looks to ancestral wisdom—whether from our cave-dwelling, Paleolithic ancestors or from remote native populations untouched by the “conveniences” of modern Western life—for guidance on what to eat and how to live. Most commercially available food items that our great-great-grandparents wouldn’t have recognized as food shouldn’t be on our plates, either, and Paleo offers us guidance in avoiding those products that do more harm than good.
The modern human body is assaulted on all sides by environmental pollutants that are toxic to our basic biochemical processes, causing imbalances in our hormones and our gut terrain, and, to put it simply, stressing us out, both physically and mentally. Modern life is fraught with more sources of stress than our Paleolithic ancestors ever experienced. Sure, they may have occasionally fled from predators and weathered natural disasters, but those brief moments of intense stress were nothing compared to our near-constant barrage of cortisol-raising stimuli.
The Paleo diet recommends whole, nutrient-dense foods, and is at its most basic an elimination diet. By removing many of the causes of allergies and autoimmune disorders, as well as the processed, food-like products created via modern manufacturing, the human body is able to detoxify from foreign substances and naturally reset those basic functions that make eating, breathing, and moving well so effortless in a healthy system. However, it’s not just about food. Spending time in nature, getting enough sun, interacting with others, getting enough sleep, stepping away from our screens and electronic devices—all of these inputs are connected, and all are crucial for returning our bodies to a balanced, energetic, and low-stress state.
At its simplest, Paleo is a return to the basics, and we urge you to commit to this return to basics for 30 days. Consider this: the average human lifespan is 79 years, and all we’re trying to do is ensure that we get as close as possible to that age (or better), with as much energy and freedom to enjoy life as we can muster. Seventy-nine years is 28,835 days. 28,835 days! And we’re asking you to give Paleo a shot for just 30 of them. Isn’t the possibility of an abundant life worth committing .001% of it?
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