The paleo diet is a trending diet plan which has enjoyed a significant popular following among both men and women in recent years. For women in particular, it addresses a few critical areas which make it particularly relevant, while maintaining critical aspects of your nutrition overall. Given the prevalence of processed foods and “sneaky” sugars in our diet, the paleo diet could very well save your life.
What to Eat on The Paleo Diet:
Women who are following the paleo diet have a surprisingly enjoyable list of foods which are safe to consume made available to them. These include meat – red meat, poultry, and fish – as well as eggs, fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, all of your favorite herbs, spices, and seasonings, healthy fats, and oils. With herbs, spices, meats, and vegetables on the list, creating a savory meal every night of the week is still a very viable possibility.
Eggs are best when they come from free-range chickens. Red meat includes a wide variety, including both beef and pork, but notably absent bacon (except, according to some recent interpretations of the paleo plan, free-range bacon). As a woman, particularly if you are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant, you should avoid seafood that is high in methylmercury. This includes most larger, older fish, and anything farm-raised (except salmon, and wild-caught salmon is still preferable). The FDA has a well-sourced list of what to eat, and what to avoid.
What about specific things to avoid? Well, here's where it gets tricky. You'll want to avoid processed foods, which is most easily accomplished by going organic – otherwise, processed foods (or ingredients) applies to just about everything. Avoid sugar – in any form – as much as possible: you need a certain amount to survive, but your body turns other things into sugar in sufficient quantities to meet the energy needs of almost 99% of us. Besides, even if you go organic, you'll never completely avoid sugar: fruits have significant quantities of it, and vegetables only slightly less.
Skip soft drinks, including diet soft drinks. Also, you'll need to avoid grains (try bread made with alternative flours, such as almond flour, or rice flour), most dairy products, and legumes. Some versions of the paleo diet allow for full-fat dairy, such as butter and cheese (thank God) in otherwise healthy amounts, but avoid processed low-fat dairy products. Sadly, for those wishing to adhere to their diet in steadfast fashion, beans and lentils are straight-up absent
Avoid artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine and trans fats; all of these are harmful, processed substances which offer little to no benefit to you – and can have a devastating, cumulative effect on your health over time.
A More Modern Variation:
Some modern versions of the paleo diet are what have caused it to regain a certain amount of attention and popularity over the last few years. These versions of the paleo diet include foods that, strictly speaking, weren't available to our ancestors in the ancient world that the diet is meant to hearken back to. However, science has demonstrated that they are healthy options, which fit neatly into the paleo philosophy.
Butter and cheese from grass-fed cows or other animals are now widely accepted as a part of many paleo diet plans, along with bacon from free-range pigs.
It is worth noting that many people now treat paleo as more of a template to follow, rather than a strict sense of rules. Many women choose to do their own research into what paleo attempts to maintain, and to create their own variations of it in response. Other common diets people choose include Weight Watchers, the Venus Factor, and more.