Often called the Paleolithic diet, the Paleo diet focuses on eating the same foods people ate 10,000 years ago; you may also hear it called:
- Caveman diet
- Stone Age diet
- Hunter Gatherer diet
The Paleo diet consists of fish, meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and roots. The Flintstones didn’t use grains, beans, dairy products, salt, sugar and oils; and if it’s not good enough for Fred and Wilma, then it’s not good enough for me. The diet is designed to allow us to survive solely on the foods that our bodies were genetically designed to survive on and were readily available during the Paleolithic Age.
Designed to meet our basic dietary needs, the Paleo approach provides us with vitamins, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and phytosterols. However, cavemen didn’t have GNC, Vitamin World, or any other vitamin shop. They also were missing most of the nutritional information we know now. While eating Paleo focuses on a certain set of foods, we now know there are certain supplements you need to maximize the diet’s effect; these supplements include fish oil, vitamin D and probiotic.
Vitamin D.. is for damn good vitamin
Vitamin D supports the formation, growth and repair of bones, enhanced functioning of the immune system, muscular strength and is vital in energy production. The most common food sources of Vitamin D are fortified cereals and dairy products, both avoided when eating Paleo. Your body absorbs vitamin D from sunlight, but often not enough of it.
Deficiencies in vitamin D contribute to significant health problems, including muscle and bone pain, weakness, and overall lack of energy. Vitamin D deficiency most commonly occurs as a result of a deficiency of sunlight or vitamin D food sources. Followers of the Paleo diet can avoid deficiency conditions by replenishing low levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D levels can be replaced through oral supplementation over several months. While taking a vitamin D supplement is extremely beneficial I highly recommend listening to lyrical genius Cheryl Crow when she says “I… I want to soak up the sun.” Do you really want to disappoint Cheryl? Me neither. Find some activities you dig on and get outside and play. Take your dog for a walk. Go to the park with the kids. Just don’t stare at the sun.
Fish oil is a great supplement that has many health benefits. While the Paleo diet includes fish, it is often difficult to eat the amount needed to equal the omegas from supplementing with fish oil. Taking fish oil everyday has been associated with the following health benefits:
- Lower triglycerides, reducing the onset of heart attacks and stroke
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Reduced risk of forming varicose veins and blood clots, providing better blood flow throughout your body
- Slows the onset of osteoporosis
- Improves brain functions
- Helps to improve vision
Fish oil is also an antioxidant that keeps cancer causing free radicals from damaging the cells in your body; this includes preventing premature aging (also known as getting old to fast), certain cancers and decreasing blood toxicity levels.
How much fish oil? Well check it out boys and girls
Probiotics are microorganisms, or “good” bacteria, that aid with digestion and protects against harmful bacteria. While we have “good” bacteria already in our digestive tracts, many of us have had them damaged by antibiotics and pollution in air and water. Probiotics are found in yogurt and fermented vegetables. Eating Paleo doesn’t provide much opportunity to consume probiotics, you will want to supplement with them. According to the Mayo Clinic, probiotics have been shown to help with all sorts of fun things, including:
- Treating diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome
- Regulating the digestive tract
- Preventing yeast infections
- Reducing cold symptoms
- Treating intestinal infections
According to the Harvard Medical School there are roughly 100 trillion microorganisms in normal, healthy bowels! Now that you’ve lost your appetite, when that number decreases, you could experience digestive trouble. It is recommended that you consume 1 billion to 10 billion cfus, or one or two probiotic supplements, several days per week.
While the Paleo diet is a great way to eat, make sure you are maximizing your results by supplementing with vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics. All three supplements are available in capsule or tablet form at your local super market or health food store.
It’s so easy, even a ____________ (avoid law suit here) can do it