Why Do Celebrities Go Paleo?
Try out ‘The Green Machine’ or ‘The Caveman’ Paleo dishes at Saba Restaurant or Saba To Go!
Actress Megan Fox, singer Miley Cyrus, US basketball star Grant Hill and baseball ace Hunter Pence all reportedly follow the Paleo – or “caveman” – eating plan. Why? Given their gruelling schedules, these individuals require a varied and nutrient-rich diet, which supports their bodies’ daily function and provides them with bags of energy.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Paleo diet (often called “the world’s healthiest diet”) is far from restrictive; followers are encouraged to eat the rainbow, dining on dishes of organic meats, veggies, fish, fruits, nuts, seeds, seafood and fresh herbs.
While Paleo devotees can tuck into grass-reared meats, healthful oils (walnut, coconut, flaxseed, olive, macadamia nut) and eggs, they forgo cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes and refined vegetable oils.
As is evidenced by the celebs I mentioned in the introductory paragraph, following a balanced Paleo eating plan can benefit your body in many ways, helping you look, feel and be better.
What is Paleo and how can it benefit your body?
The Paleo eating plan seeks to emulate the diet eaten by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The diet differs from the average Western diet in seven key ways:
1. Higher protein intake
Protein is a Paleo staple. While protein accounts for roughly 15% of the calories in the average Western diet, it makes up between 19 and 35% of the calories present in a typical hunter gatherer diet. Our bodies require protein in order to function; it’s a critical component of every cell in our bodies, and is used to build and repair tissues and bones, make hormones and enzymes, and keep our hair, nails and skin healthy.
2. Lower carbohydrate intake
Since processed starches, such as white bread and pasta, were unavailable to our pre-agricultural caveman ancestors, they don’t figure on the Paleo menu. In the context of a Paleo diet, non-starchy, fresh vegetables and fruits represent the main source of carbohydrates. As well as being packed with highly beneficial vitamins and micronutrients, fruits and vegetables take longer for our bodies to digest than breads and pasta dishes, and therefore have less impact upon sugar levels.
3. Higher fibre content
On average, non-starchy veggies contain eight times more dietary fibre than whole grains (and 31 times more dietary fibre than refined grains). Fibre is an extremely important – and too often overlooked – part of a healthy diet. High fibre diets have been shown to help prevent heart disease, weight gain, some cancers and diabetes. In addition to this, eating plant-based, high fibre foods will keep you fuller for longer, which may lead to healthy weight loss.
4. Moderate to higher intake of “good” fats
Sadly, fat is considered the enemy. In reality, it’s not the amount of fat but the type of fat you eat which is important. Stone Age diets are unusually rich in “good fats”. The healthful monounsaturated and Omega 3 fats found in Paleo staples can actually aid weight loss, help improve the condition of your hair and skin, and make you feel fuller for longer.
5. Lower sodium and higher potassium intake
Since Paleo-friendly dishes comprise fresh, unprocessed ingredients, they are naturally higher in potassium and lower in sodium than their processed counterparts. Potassium is linked to organ function; low potassium intake can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease.
6. Better acid/alkaline balance
During digestion, our foods become acid or alkaline, which can put pressure on our kidneys. Acid producing foods include meats, fish, cheese, grains and salt, while alkaline producing foods include fruits and vegetables. Too much dietary acid may result in bone and muscle loss, kidney stones and high blood pressure. Paleo diets strive to strike a balance, side-stepping the health complaints linked to consuming too many acid-producing foods too often.
7. Higher intake of health-giving vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants
Naturally, our bodies require a wide range of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants on a daily basis. Since the Paleo plan is packed with fresh fruits and veggies, followers boast of clearer skin, better concentration, the ability to fight off infection and illness quickly and easily, and an overall feeling of health and wellbeing.
Should you go Paleo?
Switching to a Paleo eating plan isn’t as difficult as you might assume. Adopting the Paleo diet can help you to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, lose weight, improve the condition of your skin and hair, improve your mental outlook and gain clarity, and improve your athletic performance.
Experiment with recipes, try new foods, and attempt to integrate your favourite Paleo dishes into your everyday routine, and soon you’ll be feeling brighter and looking better.
Erika Doolan – Nutrition Ireland