Intro to Paleo
What is Paleo?
I could give you a dictionary definition, or you could ask 100 people who follow Paleo and you’d get 100 different answers. But the basic idea behind Paleo is actually very simple and sensible: it is eating a diet that resembles, as closely as possible, the diet that our Paleolithic ancestors ate for millions of years prior to the advent of agriculture.
In essence – eat like a cave man: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.
There are caveats to this, of course, depending on what your specific goals are. My goals are primarily the recovery from metabolic derangement and weight loss so these are the areas in which I am knowledgeable. If you have different goals, or want the science behind Paleo, then please visit any of the links in my blogroll as these are the real experts. I do, however, have a few useful tips for how to actually get started and you can find them here.
But the Paleo path doesn’t end with nutrition. Another part of the Paleo lifestyle relates to activity. Our ancestors had to work very hard to obtain their food and their tall, lean, strong bodies are clear evidence of this. So our modern workouts also need to mimic the activity of our ancestors as closely as possible so that we may also enjoy the strength and vitality that is our birthright. This activity includes running, jumping, climbing, throwing, crawling, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and walking along with any other body movements that would be required to hunt, kill, butcher, haul, and gather food.
And what do you do after you’ve worn yourself out with the modern day version of hunting and gathering and cooking and eating? SLEEP. I love to sleep. I’d rather sleep than do most things. So when Robb Wolf said that sleep was one of the most critical things you can do for recovery and health I was ALL over that! The keys to a proper deep sleep are:
- No light whatsoever. Cover your windows, LED lights (ie: alarm clock, phone, DVR, smoke detector, etc.), and in my case the gap under the door to my bedroom. You may not think that “little bit” of light makes a difference, but take my word for it – it does.
- Get 8 to 9 ½ hours of sleep a night. You may have to do some testing to determine how much sleep you actually need. Cave men rose with the sun and went to bed with it. We do not have that luxury today, but we can mimic it by getting sufficient sleep to wake up without an alarm. This might take a few nights of testing to find out what your exact sleep needs are, but you don’t mind getting in some good sleep, do you?
- Think cave. I don’t know if there is any actual science to this part but it has worked very well for me. Besides keeping your room dark keep it cold and quiet.
Now all of that may sound crazy, but I can tell you from personal experience that I went from tossing and turning all night and getting up in the morning as tired as I went to bed to sleeping like I’m comatose. Now I fall asleep quickly, I sleep deeply and peacefully, and when I open my eyes it is usually just a few minutes before it’s time to get up. I’m rested, clear-headed, and ready to face the day.
Eat. Move. Sleep.
It’s so easy a cave man could do it. 😉