How To Go Plant-Based Paleo: Your One Stop Guide

March 04, 2019 0 Comments

How To Go Plant-Based Paleo: Your One Stop Guide


This guide will cover these 5 areas:

     What does it mean to be Paleo?

        How did Paleo diet began?

        Is this Paleo food or not?

        Paleo myths debunked

     Why plant-based Paleo?

     How to be successful on plant-based paleo?

         Is the Paleo diet safe?

         Why does the Paleo diet work?

         Why fat is not bad?

         The good fat VS the Bad fat

     Week of plant-based paleo recipes

     Plant-based paleo versus plant-based Keto

        What are the similarities between plant-based Keto and plant-                based Paleo?

        What are the differences between plant-based Keto and plant-              based Paleo?

What does it mean to be Paleo?

The Paleo diet encourages you to eat like a caveman—not to devour anything that’s alive like a savage, but go back to the basics and consume all things natural, just like our ancestors did millions of years back—to the era ofhunter-gatherers. It focuses on eating natural, all organic, and real food that is consumable with little to no processing at all. Hence,the Paleo diet focuses on eating the way nature intended us to eat.

Proponents of this diet believe that if you adjust your eating style to that of our Paleolithic forefathers, your body will reset to its natural biological function, improving digestion and health.

While humans have done it eons back, it is only until books such as The Paleo Solution byRobb WolfandThe Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson have caused a spike of interest and attention from people to go back to the basics when it comes to nutrition and a healthy diet. These books, and the success experienced by people around the world, are widely regarded as the reasons for the Paleo diet’s popularity today.


How did Paleo diet begin?

In order to know how the Paleo diet even came to be, we need to trace back far back human history, probably over millions of years somewhere in Africa. During the time of hunters and gatherers, food choices are only limited to primarily meat and other sources of protein. In fact, did you know that eating grains is not natural to people in general? While rice and other forms of grains may seem to be one of the staple foods in our meals, humans only started consuming grains –particularly rice as a source of carbohydrates during the Agricultural Revolution, which occurred about 10,000 years ago.

Not only that, studies found out that humans during the Paleolithic era does not require as much sugar as humans today consume. It is also a myth that humans need sugar in order to have energy (aside from carbs, that is) in order to move and function, since our hunter ancestors didn't need it when running around and fighting with wild animals in order to survive.

Ultimately, the Paleo diet is going back to our roots and paying homage to eating like we used to, eating mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts.

Is this Paleo food or Not?

Some people may find following the Paleo diet difficult to follow because it doesn't have a full list of what you can and can’t eat. The general rule is, if it grows naturally from the earth and doesn't need to be processed before you can eat it, it’s acceptable in the Paleo diet. Here are the necessary foods one must eat in a Paleo diet:

  • Eggs – go for vegan eggs
  • Vegetables – don’t leave these out!
  • Some fruit – Berries and the less sugary fruits are best
  • Nuts – in moderation (but notpeanuts)
  • Natural oils – olive, coconut and avocado oils
  • Seeds- sunflower and chia seeds are the best options

However, there would be times that the boundaries between paleo and non-paleo foods are a bit blurred. For example, you might think you can includepeanuts in your diet since nuts are natural food from the Earth, however, there is a misconception: peanuts are legumes, which isn’t  considered part of the Paleo diet.

There are a number of ways to work out what is or is not included in the Paleo diet. There are numerous lists online which you can consult every now and then, since it is impossible to memorize all the food you can eat or can not. Moreover, there are also more accessible applications for your smart phone which can serve as a directory of all food Paleo.

Paleo Myths debunked

Paleo is expensive

Since this diet is popular amongst celebrities, many speculate that Paleo diet is expensive and is not sustainable for average earners. In fact, a recent study has supported that the Paleo diet is feasible even by following the USDA’s thriftyfood plan. This food and diet guide was curated by a group of nutritionists, dieticians, and food experts which lists down the best food choices that provides the most nutrients and vitamins that are worthy of its price.

Since the food prescribed by the Paleo diet are organic, natural, and fresh, its practitioners will not have a hard time buying fresh produce, especially if they are directly from the markets where local farmers sell their products.You may even be surprised to find out that Paleo’s food recommendations cost less than the prices of some fast food meals.


You don’t get enough calcium

Unlike the popular belief that there would be insufficient calcium in the body because of the removal of dairy from the diet, people who practice the Paleo diet may still get their calcium supply from green vegetables which is about 75 mg per one cooked serving.


You starve from small portions

Some diets require you to count calories, Paleo diet challenges people to get their daily caloric needs from vegetables and other healthy options.


Goodbye normal food

One of the most common misconception about Paleo diet is that it restricts its practitioners when it comes to food choices and options. However, the truth is that, Paleo diet lets you have a variety of food. Nutritionists suggest the85:15 rule wherein people follow Paleo 85 % of the time and 15 % of the time, they may stray from Paleo diet rules, yet still achieve real improvements in health.The 85% rule lets you have your favorite snack once a week at most. It’s focus is all about diversifying your diet instead.


Your lifespan shortens

Unlike the Paleolithic era when a saber-tooth tiger can attack and kill you (hence, shortening your lifespan), following the Paleo diet will actually make your life longer because it lowers the risk of you getting cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other lifestyle-related diseases many humans develop in this time and age.


Why Plant-based Paleo?

Nutritionists and dieticians continue to study the effects of Paleo diet to humans.Nutritional anthropologists have been estimating the nutrient intakes of our ancestors for several decades. Their research found that a true Paleolithic diet, is much closer in nutrients to a vegan or plant-based diet than what many people promote as a Paleo diet.

The aim of a Paleo diet is to return to a way of eating that's more like what early humans ate. The diet's reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices. This is an idea explored by many nutritionist and dieticians today as it grows more popular not only within celebrities, but with ordinary people who want to shed off some pounds and be healthy as well.

In fact, many studies have already looked into it and researched on how it benefits the human body through weight loss, among other things. There has been a lot of literature that have been published that present evidences on how advantageous Paleo diet is for one’s health in general.

One study had 14 medical students follow a strict Paleo diet for three weeks. All of them have lost 5.1 pounds (2.3kgs) and have reduced their waist circumference by 0.6 inches. Some even claim that Paleo diet is more effective for weight loss compared to other fads which suggests fewer caloric intake throughout the program.

Another study involving 70 obese women aged 60 and above turned out to benefit from the Paleo diet. They were divided into two groups—one to follow a high-fiber diet for 2 years, while the other follows a Paleo diet with the same time frame. The results revealed that the women on the Paleo diet have lost 2.5 times more weight only six months into the study, and two times more after another 6 months. By the completion of the study, both groups have regained some weight, but those who followed the Paleo diet still shed 1.6 times more all in all.

Paleo diet is also arguably fitting for those who have type 2 Diabetes. A study observed 13 people who followed a Paleo diet, and another group who observed a diet for Diabetic patients, which allows them to consume low fat and moderate to higher carb foods. After two consecutive three-month periods, the study found that those on the Paleo diet lost 6.6 pounds (3 kgs) and 1.6 inches (4 cm) more from their waistlines than those on the diabetes diet.

However, some experts have argued that the underlying hypothesis of the diet may oversimplify the story of how humans adapted to the changes in their diet. Some argue that different diet options and conditions from various geographical location, climate, and food availability should also be factored in. Moreover, in the archaeological point of view, some recorded data shows that early human diets included grains in their food intake, dating as early as 30,000 years ago—even before the Agricultural revolution. Genetics is also an aspect to be explored, since there were notable evolutionary changes continued even after the Paleolithic era, including diet-related changes such as the number of genes humans have when it comes to breaking down dietary starches.

Since the Paleo diet is relatively new, more researches are still needed to be done to know more about its long term effects to the body.

Upon embracing the Paleo diet and lifestyle, your body will undergo positive changes. Unlike other fads and trendy diets, Paleo does not only promise weight loss, but other advantages for your overall health. This is because sticking to foods that are naturally available in your own environment allows your body to thrive, becoming stronger, leaner and less likely to battle modern-day health concerns.

Here are ways your body will change when adapting the Paleo diet:

Muscle Build up and Weight Loss

Eating purely protein and fats, you will feel full and satisfied faster without having to eat too much while maintaining your body’s nutritional needs. This way, you will feel energized with the help of the fat stored in your body, burning it, and aiding in weight loss.

Improved digestion

Paleo foods will help in healing the gut and it will support the regrowth of healthy, digestion-aiding bacteria. This diet encourages the consumption of foods like leafy greens, bone broth and fermented foods that effectively reduce inflammation, relieve gassiness, and aid digestion.

Regulated hormones

Hormones affect many more aspects of your life than you imagine. From weight, metabolism, energy levels, to your ability to sleep—and even fertility, regulating hormones should be a priority in health.

Thanks to Paleo’s recommendation of eating nutrient-dense foods, the body can balance hormone levels naturally while eliminating toxins which affect your hormones too.

Reduced inflammation

Inflammation is caused by the body’s attempt at self-protection which can be triggered by processed foods and environmental toxins. In severe cases, it can lead to arthritis, swollen and stiff joints, fatigue or muscular pain. Paleo diet includes eating foods rich in omega-3s and raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, reducing the chances of inflammation.

Stronger bones

Beef, bone broth, wild-caught fish, leafy greens and other proteins combined with vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower promote the building of stronger bones in the body. Most Paleo foods are rich in vitamin K, calcium and magnesium in your diet, which are all vital for bone health.

Increased energy levels

Organic protein provides the body with B vitamins and iron, helping to boost your energy levels and physical endurance.

More beautiful, glowing skin

A paleo lifestyle eliminates triggers that may lead to breakouts, such as dairy, gluten or even chemicals from processed foods and cosmetics. Paleo also includes foods that are high in vitamins A, E and zinc which are all part of the recipe for a healthier, more beautiful skin.

Healthier hair and Stronger nails

Dry, brittle hair can often be the result of a nutrient deficiency. By eating paleo foods, you are boosting your zinc, iron and biotin intake, which may lead to thicker and shinier hair. Just like hair, Paleo foods also improve the quality of your nails as you eat biotin-rich foods like eggs, salmon, liver and avocado.

How to be successful in a plant-based Paleo?

With this discovery, more experts say that following the Paleo diet should include as much plant-based foods as possible, limit meats and other sources of protein, and avoid refined and processed foods.

What’s allowed?

  •      Green, leafy Vegetables
  •      Starchy vegetables
  •      Fruits
  •      Nuts
  •      Seeds

What’s not allowed?

  •      Dairy products (milk, cheese, etc)
  •      Grains
  •      Sugar
  •      Processed and refined foods

However, It is important to note that the focus of paleo is eating nutrient-dense, whole foods. It is not about completely eliminating certain foods, but choosing certain foods more often than others. Paleo plan emphasizes that its followers and practitioners should eat as many plant-based foods closest to their natural form, also known as a whole-foods-plant based diet. The goal is to limit or eliminate any refined foods, especially refined grain products such as bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, flour, etc. in your diet in the long run or permanently.

Is the Paleo diet safe?

Some might wonder: “Is the Paleo diet safe?” Others may say that eating back to the basics is not only safe, but is also healthy for everyone. After all, it was how the diets of our early ancestors looked like back in the Paleolithic ages. Eating protein and vegetables will do no harm to your body, however, there are still some risks and other extraneous factors you have to consider before jumping into this bandwagon diet.

The British Dietetic Association has issued a reminder which says the following the Paleo diet is safe, since it encourages humans to eat fewer processed foods, less sugar, and salt. However, this should still remain on a case to case basis, and would greatly benefit people who needs to control their intake of carbohydrates as well.

The statement added: "A diet with fewer processed foods, less sugar and salt is actually a good idea, but unless for medical reason, there is absolutely no need to cut any food group out of your diet.

Dietician Alex Nella says that Paleo diet is safe and could actually be a good starting point of a healthy diet:

  • Paleo diet is high in fiber, potassium and antioxidants while low in simple carbohydrates, sodium and sugar.
  • It promotes local, sustainable, organic and non-GMO foods.
  • It discourages foods that are processed or have artificial ingredients and colorings.
  • It promotes foods that allows the body work hard to obtain calories while providing nutrients that optimize efficient use of calories.
  • Good for weight loss and, at least in the short-term, improve blood sugar and lipid profiles.

Why does the Paleo diet work?

The aim of a Paleo diet is to return to a way of eating that's more like what early humans ate. The diet's reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices. This is an idea explored by many nutritionist and dieticians today as it grows more popular not only within celebrities, but with ordinary people who want to shed off some pounds and be healthy as well.

In fact, many studies have already looked into it and researched on how it benefits the human body through weight loss, among other things. There has been a lot of literature that have been published that present evidences on how advantageous Paleo diet is for one’s health in general.

One study had 14 medical students follow a strict Paleo diet for three weeks. All of them have lost 5.1 pounds (2.3kgs) and have reduced their waist circumference by 0.6 inches. Some even claim that Paleo diet is more effective for weight loss compared to other fads which suggests fewer caloric intake throughout the program.

Another study involving 70 obese women aged 60 and above turned out to benefit from the Paleo diet. They were divided into two groups—one to follow a high-fiber diet for 2 years, while the other follows a Paleo diet with the same time frame. The results revealed that the women on the Paleo diet have lost 2.5 times more weight only six months into the study, and two times more after another 6 months. By the completion of the study, both groups have regained some weight, but those who followed the Paleo diet still shed 1.6 times more all in all.

Paleo diet is also arguably fitting for those who have type 2 Diabetes. A study observed 13 people who followed a Paleo diet, and another group who observed a diet for Diabetic patients, which allows them to consume low fat and moderate to higher carb foods. After two consecutive three-month periods, the study found that those on the Paleo diet lost 6.6 pounds (3 kgs) and 1.6 inches (4 cm) more from their waistlines than those on the diabetes diet.

However, some experts have argued that the underlying hypothesis of the diet may oversimplify the story of how humans adapted to the changes in their diet. Some argue that different diet options and conditions from various geographical location, climate, and food availability should also be factored in. Moreover, in the archaeological point of view, some recorded data shows that early human diets included grains in their food intake, dating as early as 30,000 years ago—even before the Agricultural revolution. Genetics is also an aspect to be explored, since there were notable evolutionary changes continued even after the Paleolithic era, including diet-related changes such as the number of genes humans have when it comes to breaking down dietary starches.

Since the Paleo diet is relatively new, more researches are still needed to be done to know more about its long term effects to the body.

Why Fat is not Bad?

For the longest time, fats have been receiving a lot of backlash when it comes to diet and eating healthy. When people hear or read the word fat on the nutritional contents of a food, they automatically associate it with heart disease, a cause of hypertension, or even something useless for the body.

However, nutritionists remind us that a diet also needs fats to be considered a balanced one.It might be news to you, but not all fats are created equal--some fats are bad, and some fats actually promote good health. The key is knowing the difference of each so you can determine which ones to avoid and consume in moderation.

Fat is as essential to your diet as protein and carbohydrates are in fueling your body with energy. Certain bodily functions also rely on the presence of fat, and without it, your body will not function normally or to its full capacity.


The Good Fat vs The Bad Fat

The bad kind of fat: Trans fat and Saturated fat

The bad kind of fat are identified as harmful to your health. There are two types of bad fat: saturated fat and trans fat. Their most common identifier is that these types of fats are solid at room temperature, such as:

  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • beef or pork fat

Trans fat should be avoided while saturated fats should be eaten very sparingly.
Saturated fat, on the other hand can be consumed sparingly. Most saturated fats are animal fats. They’re found in high-fat meats and dairy products.

Saturated fat sources include:

  • fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
  • dark chicken meat and poultry skin
  • high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
  • tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
  • Lard

Newer studies have recently argued that saturated fat may not be as bad as traditional doctors thought it would be. According to Harvard University, researchers now think saturated fat may not be as bad as once thought — but it still isn’t the best choice for fats.

The good kind of fat: Monounsaturated fat

This type of helpful fat is present in a variety of foods and oils. Research has consistently shown that eating foods that contain monounsaturated fat can improve your blood cholesterol level and decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases. These foods include:

  • nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans)
  • vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil)
  • almond butter
  • avocado

The best kind of fat: Polyunsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fats can actually reduce a person’s risk for heart disease, a study by The Cochrane Review discovered. While the risk reduction is low, these differences could make a difference to a person’s health.

You can find polyunsaturated fat in the following foods, which contain omega-6 fatty acids:

  • tofu
  • roasted soybeans and soy nut butter
  • walnuts
  • seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
  • vegetable oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil)
  • soft margarine (liquid or tub)

They are also known as “essential fats” because the body could not produce them naturally, hence, they are needed to be supplied to the body from foods. The primary source of polyunsaturated fat are plant-based foods. These healthy fats to not only decrease the risk of coronary artery disease, but also help lower blood pressure levels and guard against irregular heartbeats. You can get omega 3 from:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Algal oil
  • Hemp seed
  • Perilla oil

Healthier fats are an important part of your diet, but it’s still crucial to moderate your consumption of them because all fats are high in calories. It would always be best to incorporate foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your diet, which will greatly help your heart and improve your quality of life.


Week-long plant-based Paleo Recipe Guide


Breakfast

(Choose One Daily)


Option 1: 1/2 cup whole-grain cereal or cooked oatmeal; 1 cup plant-based milk or yogurt (such as almond milk, soy milk, or coconut yogurt); Unlimited fruit


Option 2: 1 slice whole-grain toast with 2 Tbsp. dairy-free cream cheese, unlimited fruit


Option 3:Veggie Scramble (1-2 vegan eggs or egg yolks) with spinach, mushrooms and yellow squash in coconut oil, Handful fresh berries


Option 4:Green Smoothie (coconut milk, grass-fed beef protein, 1/2 banana, 1/2 avocado)


Option 5:Pumpkin Muffin, Body Boosting Tea (chai tea + 1 tbsp. MCT oil + collagen peptides + cinnamon + vanilla)


Lunch

(Choose One Daily)


Option 1: 1 cup black bean soup; unlimited sliced veggies; 1/4 avocado; 15 baked corn chips


Option 2: Lettuce and chopped veggies, 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and vinegar and seasonings


Option 3: 8 pieces brown-rice sushi with all-vegetable filling; soy sauce; 1/2 cup edamame; 1 oz. almonds; 1 orange


Option 4: Harissa Portobello Mushroom Tacos


Option 5: Cilantro lime cauliflower bowls



Dinner

(Choose One Daily)


Option 1:Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Paprika Cashew Cream

Option 2:3 oz. 1 small baked sweet potato or 1/2 cup cooked corn, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, Unlimited vegetables

Option 3: Green Goddess Fig Nourish Bowls

Option 4: Butternut squash + coconut milk soup with ground “meat free” ground beef , Spinach salad with oil & vinegar

Option 5: Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Basil Pesto, Roasted Broccoli with Nutritional Yeast


Snack

(Choose One Daily)


Option 1:1/2 cup roasted chickpeas; 1 slice whole-grain toast, drizzle honey; Unlimited fruit

Option 2:1 serving Vegan Avocado Ice Cream


Dessert

(Enjoy Twice Per Week)


Option 1:1 palm-sized serving any non-dairy dessert  one pack of Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups



Plant-based Paleo diet Vs Plant-based Keto diet: Is Plant-based Paleo Better than Keto?

Many would associate the Paleo diet with another diet trend, Keto Diet. Because both forms of nutritional overhaul encourage the lessening (or complete removal of refined sugar and processed food, some would be eager in associating the two with each other. However, these are two different kinds of diet.

The Ketogenic Diet

This diet focuses on the shift of consumption of carbohydrates to high fat foods, since the goal of Keto is to get most of your calories from fat sources, so your body enters a state of ketosis: a process where in your body burns fat instead of storing.

What are the Similarities Between Paleo and Keto?

Although they are distinct, The Paleo and Keto diets share many characteristics:

Emphasize the importance of Whole Foods

Fundamentally, both Paleo and Keto diet plans intend and urge its practitioners to rely on whole-food sources of nutrients. This means that as much as possible, you should consume food that has undergone a minimal amount of processing by the time it gets to your plate.

Eliminate Grains and Legumes

Paleo and Keto diets strongly discourage eating grains and legumes for distinct reasons. Paleo experts say that grains and legumes should be eliminated from one’s diet simply because grains andlegumes were not likely part of our ancestor’s diet during the caveman era.

On the other hand, the Keto diet doesn't allow the consumption of grains and legumes because of their carbohydrate content.

Reduce Added Sugar

Keto and Paleo diets strongly discourage the intake ofadded sugars found in processed food, sweetened drinks and desserts, etc. However, Paleo dieters are a bit more flexible with this rule, as unrefined sugar sources like honey and maple syrup are still permitted.

  •      Highlights Healthy Fats

Paleo and Keto diets encourage the intake of unrefined, healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, and fish, as well as refined oils such as olive and avocado oils.

Popularly Used for Weight Loss

One of the primary reasons for the popularity of the Keto and Paleo diets is the notion that both promote weight loss. While there are only a few short-term researches and studies that support this claim, many are still interested in trying out these diets to achieve their goal weight.

What are the Differences Between Plant-based Paleo and Plant-based Keto?

Keto and Paleo diet have some overlap, but there are quite a few major differences between them:

The Dairy Debate

Dairy isn’t allowed in Paleo, while many Keto diet practitioners include it in their meal plans. They use the dairy found in butter, cream, and cheese to fulfill their daily fat intake requirements. But as for Vegans who are also into Keto diet, they make use with plant-based alternatives.

What about fruits?

Paleo practitioners can enjoy having as much fruit as they would want since they are natural gifts from the earth. However, due to Keto's the tight restriction on carbs, it’s pretty tough to enjoy any fruit aside from berries on this diet.

Vegetable oil exception

Keto dieters can consume vegetable oils (except avocado and coconut oil) but is forbidden in the Paleo diet.


Every new experience requires time, resources, and right amount of effort. Getting in a new diet and integrating it in your current lifestyle can be a big challenge to a majority of people but having the right dedication, clear-cut plans, planning, and discipline will all lead you to your #fitnessgoals. But of course, before hopping in on just any major health-related decision such as shifting in a different kind of diet, it is still best to seek medical advice from your trusted physician, do an in-depth research, as well consult friends and family who were able to try it out. Above all else, embrace, enjoy, and start taking off towards your Plant-based Paleo diet journey today!

Want anything else to find out about plant-based Paleo diet? Let us know in the comments below!