If you’ve been trying to get into shape lately, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard rumblings about going plant-based paleo. If a plant-based paleo diet is new to you, you probably have questions about whether or not it will meet your dietary needs, help you feel healthier, and satisfy you and your family. This beginner’s guide to a plant-based paleo diet will tell you everything you need to know about going plant-based paleo, from what that means to how to do it in a healthy way while ensuring you get all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that you need to live your healthiest life. We’ll also offer some tips and tricks for meal planning on a plant-based paleo diet, as well as links to some recipes you and your family will love. So, buckle in; it’s going to be a fun ride!
Of course, the first thing you want to know if a plant-based paleo diet is new to you, is what, exactly, isa plant-based paleo diet. Let’s break this down!
A plant-based diet is just what it sounds like: a diet that is made up of plants. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, hearty grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats. This is a turn away from traditional diets today, which not only tend to include meat and fish, but often use these animals products as the centerpiece to meals. There’s a lot of evidence to support why eating a plant-based diet is actually healthier for your body, which we’ll get into later. Eating a plant-based diet is also better for animals, who are often raised in inhumane ways in order to produce the quantities of meat we eat every day, and it’s better for the environment.
So, what is a paleo diet? The paleo diet is based on the diets of early hunter-gatherers. Back when our ancestors lived off what the Earth provided for them and leading more active lifestyles, there were very few cases of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A paleo diet presumes that if we go back to our roots and eat diets filled with proteins, fruits, and vegetables with few carbohydrates or processed foods, we’ll bring our bodies back to a healthy state of being, lowering our rates of high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
A plant-based paleo diet takes the best parts of a plant-based diet and combines them with the best parts of a paleo diet to create a diet that mimics what our early ancestors would have eaten while being conscientious of the environment and the humane treatment of animals. This diet:
The best thing about a plant-based paleo diet is that it’s a lifestyle choice, not a strict diet, which means that there’s no calorie counting involved. Once you learn some recipes that you and your family enjoy on a plant-based paleo diet, it’s easy to keep on the diet without even thinking about it most days.
As long as you’re getting all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body needs, a plant-based paleo diet is perfectly healthy. In facts, it’s probably a lot better for you than what you’re currently eating! Plant-based paleo diets concentrate on eating whole, unprocessed foods with a focus on fruits and vegetables. When you think about it, that’s what any health coach you’ve ever talked to has advocated for as well. Studies show that a plant-based paleo diet reduces cardiovascular risk factors and risks of developing type-2 diabetes. There are also studies showing that eating a plant-based diet can reduce the risks of developing certain types of cancer.
Now that you understand why going plant-based paleo is a good choice for you both ethically and medically, let’s talk about how to make the transition to a plant-based paleo diet.
If you’ve been eating a typical American diet filled with pasta, bread, and meat, it may be tough to transition to a plant-based paleo diet. The first thing you’ll want to do is source a bunch of different plant-based paleo recipes and try them one at a time. As a family, determine which recipes taste good to you, which recipes keep you full over time, and which recipes you can cook quickly enough to fit into your lifestyle. These are the recipes you’ll want to hold onto. As you continue this journey, you can learn which foods and recipes to rely on that work with your family.
Another thing to consider is snacking more often now that you’re eating healthier. Keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand to eat as snacks can keep your hunger at bay and prevent you from eating unhealthy foods impulsively. Snacks like our paleo bites can also help you curb your sweet tooth while staying on track. Tips to make it easier to snack healthfully include:
The other important thing to consider when going plant-based paleo is to eat a variety of foods. Eating a variety of foods, rather than eating the same thing day after day, will ensure you get the full range of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
In order to get enough protein on a plant-based paleo diet, you need to rethink your definition of protein. In the past, protein may have translated in your mind to mean to meat or fish. Now, learn to translate it to think of seeds, nuts, and high-protein foods like peas or mushrooms. Making sure that each meal you consume has some of these items in it will ensure that you’re getting all the protein you need. Again, the key here is to consume a variety of different proteins throughout your day and throughout your week. This is the best way to ensure your body is getting everything it needs from you.
Ready to get started on a plant-based paleo diet? Here are some recipes to help you out!