Benefits of the paleo diet: 5 Reasons to Go Paleo
Most of my family thinks I am crazy. They say I take this “healthy eating thing” too far, but when a diet completely transforms your health, I guess you tend to get a little crazy about it. After switching to paleo, I lost a significant amount of weight, reduced my chronic joint pain, and had exponentially more energy. But, those are just a few benefits of the paleo diet.
I wasted many years going from diet to diet to diet. None of them gave me the improvements in health that paleo did. If you’re looking to have more energy, lose weight, or just to improve your overall physical & mental health, I urge you to give it a try and experience the benefits of the paleo diet first hand. To show you how powerful this way of life is, I have compiled a list of 5 reasons that you should give paleo a try.
Benefits of the paleo diet: 5 Reasons to Go Paleo
Benefits of the paleo diet: # 1 Weight Loss
When most people decide to try a new diet, they do so because they want to lose weight. It’s one of the reasons I decided to give paleo a try. At my peak I was 245 pounds, and I was only 5 foot 5. That’s a lot of extra weight to carry. However, after about 6 months on the paleo diet, I was down to 155 pounds. That’s almost a 100-pound weight loss, and I did it with no exercise. Now, let me clarify, I did not lose the entire 90 pounds in those 6 months. The family had slowing been moving towards paleo for about a year. I was consistently losing weight this whole time, but I really started to notice the difference after 4 months strict paleo.
If my story isn’t convincing enough, let’s look at my wife’s journey. She is slightly embarrassed by this. However, I am extremely proud of her, so I want to tell her story anyway. Heather had gotten up to 180 pounds. Not as big as me, but certainly not the petite figure she was when I met her in high school. She started by giving up dairy the summer before, and then slowly made changes during the next 6 months.
By February, we were full on paleo and she was down to 155 pounds. However, she spent the next 9 months trying NOT to lose weight. You see, she was pregnant with our little girl (Kaitlyn: now 2 years old) and it is not recommended to lose weight during pregnancy. However, because of the paleo diet, the pounds were continuing to drop off. She ended the pregnancy the exact same weight as she began. Now, I think that is extremely impressive considering the first pregnancies led to unhealthy weight gains and challenges during the pregnancy, labor, & delivery. This last pregnancy was easily healthiest and happiest of them all. Should a healthy pregnancy, be included in the list of benefits of the paleo diet, maybe. I’ll let you decide.
Benefits of the paleo diet # 2: Improve Your Physical Health
The paleo diet can easily help you lose weight just as my wife and I did. With that weight loss an improvement in your overall physical health will certainly follow. Getting rid of excess baggage, will allow your body to use its’ energy reserves on other activities like repairing damaged cells and detoxifying an unhealthy body.
The paleo lifestyle also helped me finally find relief from constant pain. Joint pain has been a problem for me since I was a kid. This is because the paleo diet reduces the amount of inflammatory foods and increases the amount of anti-inflammatory foods you eat. Thus, reducing the chronic inflammation that led to my pain. Less inflammation also meant a reduction in gas and bloating, and an increase in mental clarity.
The Paleo Diet is typically a more nutrient dense diet, so you will be providing the body with all the building blocks it needs for optimal function. Additionally, these nutrients will help protect you from many diseases and may even make you look younger and more vibrant.
Benefits of the paleo diet # 3: Improve Your Mental Health
So far, I’ve mentioned that the paleo diet will help you lose weight and have less pain. You just feel so much better when you are putting the right foods in your body. When you are looking good and feeling great, you can’t help but be in a better state of mind as well. The benefits on the paleo diet for mental health do not stop there.
There is a ton of research and several books written on the gut-brain connection. If your gut is unhealthy, then chances are it is affecting your brain. Depression, anxiety, & brain fog are all linked to poor gut health. Because the paleo diet can be a gut healing diet, many people are finding relief from these conditions after switching to paleo.
Personally, I had less brain fog and I was better able to handle stress. My wife reduced her anxiety as well. There are stories across the Internet on people who have fixed their mental health with the paleo lifestyle. You’ll find links to some of them at the end of this article.
Benefits of the paleo diet # 4: More Energy & Better Sleep
After switching to the paleo diet, many people experience an increase in sleep quality. This is because they have more stable blood sugar cycles. When you balance the blood sugar cycle then you balance your energy flow and allow your body to follow its natural circadian rhythm. This means you have more energy during the day and you get tired at night just as you should.
Better sleep quality could also be attributed to better mental health. Anxiety and depression are often linked to sleep disturbances. If we improve those conditions, then naturally sleep will be improved as well. When your sleeping better, your body has the time it needs to rest, repair, & recover. Then, you wake up feeling more refreshed.
Sleep has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember. I’ve had poor sleep hygiene since high school. I have seen dramatic improvements in my ability to fall asleep at night. Although, I do still wake up often throughout the night, but I suspect that is more due to neck pain than any biochemical imbalance.
Benefits of the paleo diet # 5: Simplicity
“Eat real food, mostly vegetables, not too much.”- Michael Pollan
With the paleo diet, there is no carb counting, no calorie counting, & no point values to calculate. The focus is on eating a variety of real food that is high in nutrients and avoiding the highly processed “food products”. We try and focus on the foods we can eat, not the foods we can’t eat. The simplicity of the paleo diet makes it easier to stick too. You’ll eventually get to the point where the cravings for bad food will go away. I honestly do not even miss the bread, pasta, milk at all. I don’t even miss fast food!
If you read Paleo Before & After, then you know I was once addicted to fast food. I ate McDonalds 5-10 times a week. These days, I go to McDonalds to work on this blog. I’ll order a black coffee and work for hours inside the store as the aroma surrounds me, and the food continually walks by. Despite sitting inside McDonalds for hours, I don’t even get an inkling of craving for this food. Now, that’s a transformation.
Just Eat Like a Caveman
When Heather and I decided to take the leap into paleo, we did very little research. I think Heather may have looked at a few things on Pinterest and I maybe read an article or 2, but that’s really it. We took the basic premise, “eat like a caveman” and went from there. When we were faced with a food choice, we thought to ourselves would a caveman have access to this food? If the answer was no, then we did not eat it. It was really that simple.
It’s Not THAT Simple (at first)
Now of course, completely dismantling your current eating habits and changing your lifestyle is not as easy as I am making it out to be. As with everything new, there is a learning curve. However, you’ll find there are ways to make many of your favorite foods using whole food, paleo ingredients. You’ll also figure out that it’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it. Sure, you may have to give up some things, but you’ll discover new favorites that can replace the ones you gave up.
We do cook more at home, and if that scares you, refer back to the fat guy I used to be in this article. I didn’t do much cooking either, and I was miserable and unhealthy because of it. Eating packaged and processed food is simply not good for you. I think everyone can agree on that. If you want to take back your health the way my wife and I did, you will have to cook more. There is no getting around that. Take heart though, it actually becomes pretty fun. You’ll just have to trust me on that.
As we continued our paleo journey we learned more and more about the diet. In fact, we learned the paleo diet is not really a diet at all. It’s more of a lifestyle choice. Eventually, we got a couple Paleo cookbooks as gifts. The book Practical Paleo was very beneficial in the early days. Now 3 years later, I still refer back to that book when I need new ideas.
Ready to Jump In with Paleo?
Are you ready to give paleo a try? After a few months eating paleo, you’ll find yourself with more energy but less weight. You will find better mental clarity and less anxiety. Perhaps, you will have an experience like mine as your chronic pain gets reduced, which will automatically make you feel happier.
Still Nervous about Paleo?
You don’t have to go “all in” with paleo right away. I didn’t. Start the way my wife and I did with simple changes. We started by adding daily green smoothies for breakfast and dinner. Then, I gave up gluten. Heather gave up dairy. Just make small changes and eventually you’ll start to realize that it’s not too hard. When you start to look and feel better, you will want to experience all the benefits of the paleo diet. You can do it. Take your health back and you’ll never look back!
Want to Go Paleo?
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Recipes & Food: I have a few recipes already on the site.
You can find a few recipes from me here, but you can find 10 Easy Recipes in my free Ebook Simply Paleo. Click here for my free Ebook.
- My buddy Michelle, from Cavegirl Cuisine, has an insane amount of paleo recipes on her site and they all look amazing!
- Here is a “Lazy Mama’s” Homemade Paleo Yogurt from my good buddy Emily at CrunchyMamaScience.com
- Here are a few Kid Friendly Paleo treats by Adventures of a CaveMom
What to Eat & What to Avoid:
- A quick hit of what foods to eat and which to avoid from Paleoplan.com
- Foods to Avoid from Paleogrubs.com
- Here is a “Beginners Guide to the Paleo Diet” from Nerd Fitness, and it’s comes complete with super cool Lego pictures!
Testimonials on the Mental Benefits of the Paleo Diet from Robb Wolf
- Laura’s Story: I am medication free for the first time in almost 15 years.
- Chris’s Story: “My anxiety is gone thanks to this diet.”
- Christina’s Story: “It’s been almost a month and I’m medication and anxiety-free.”
Still Need More Convincing?
- 17 Benefits of Eating Paleo from Paleo Grubs
- 15 Benefits of Eating Paleo from Paleo Diet Evolved
- Paleo Benefits in an Easy to Read Infographic: from ThePaleoDiet.com
- Paleo & Sleep from Paleo Leap