Can someone please explain what the paleo diet is to me? because after 3 months of research I still have absolutely no idea.
What is everyone eating?
heres where I started: www.marksdailyapple.com
Natural Food dude. Meat, Veg, Fruit, Nuts and seeds.
And then everyone does there own tweaked version after that, aka the chit chat on this site.
This is a good book to start off with... http://thepaleodiet.com/store/the-paleo-diet-revised/
Paleo has a very basic set of rules:
I'd also add, if you see it advertised in papers, magazines, TV, etc chances are high you may not want it on your plate.
From there you do what seems right to you.
There are those who will argue that this food or that food aren't paleo. Such as rice and white potatoes. I don't eat the later, but as for the former, i do. In moderation (twice a month). But remember, our ancestry is very diverse. Those who come from Indo-China, their diets would have varied greatly to those from the America's, say. So to say something is or isn't paleo is a bit silly IMHO. If mother nature provided it, it should be excepted. The line is drawn when man interferes with that schema (such as grains, GMO, etc)
Paleo "diet" (i really dislike that word) is up to the individual. Stick to what you believe works for you. Do some research on foods you're not certain about. You ultimately decide what goes into your mouth. Paleo isn't doctrine.
As for what I eat -I eat what comes naturally. I stick within my basic framework the best I can, and every now and then, i may step out for part of a meal (i usually regret it afterwards). Kids birthdays...are you seriously not going to have a small piece of cake, or ice cream that a family member whipped up? Or opt out of having a slice of your mothers lasagna (and insult her), just because it isn't Paleo?
Trust your instincts is the last I will say.
I like this version, but I generally agree with most of the rest of the answers. Here are some quickie rules I use:
N=1 here, Bears. Everyone will be eating Real Food and most avoiding wheat, white sugar, and canola/corn/soy oil. Otherwise, your personal goals & tolerance determine the rest. These are unique to each person. There just isn't going to be 1 or 2 or 5 simple answers. The younger weight lifters will eat much differently than the perimenopausal ladies. And that's ok. :)
I don't particularly like negative definitions, but I think that it is most helpful to describe paleo as what you shouldn't be doing. Outside of these things, it's all up to your personal preferences and experiences.
-eat grains, especially those containing gluten
-eat "vegetable" oils (canola, corn, peanut, etc.)
-eat dairy products (with the exception, maybe, of butter)
-eat processed foods (are all the ingredients recognizable as real foods that fit into the above guidelines? If not, don't eat it. This will include most anything that comes in a box.)
Different people will disagree on one thing or another, but if you stick to these principles and eat what's left (mostly vegetables, meat, fruits and nuts), then you'll be getting 95% of the benefit of paleo. The minutiae that is fought over on this site is only trying to perfect the last 5%.
My best advice is to stop complicating it all. Just chill out, take a deep breath, and think basic. In the grocery store, shop on the outside edges. Don't touch the center. Don't get hung up on grass-fed/grain fed, organic/not organic, etc. to start out. Get used to not eating gluten, dairy, or sugar (which, to me, are the main hurdles) and then expand your knowledge later when your mind is clear and your body is rid of all that garbage. It gets too overwhelming when you're first starting out and making this gigantic lifestyle change to try to understand every tiny component. It's also different for everyone. I like heavy cream in my coffee and ice cream once in a while. Dairy also doesn't affect me as badly as it does others. Learn to have a relationship with your food and listen to your body. This is a journey, embrace it.
Hunting Bears, Great question! You are right to be confused. I'm new to this too, and one book states don't eat this, or this or that. The next says those items are okay because they grow in nature somewhere and are not modified to some extent. One thing they all agree on is no man made products in a box, no grains, and no legumes. Most have been modified and our bodies have not evolved to be able to digest them. There are some really good answers here and I'm glad that they where given. Ignore the sarcastic people, either they have a type A personality or forgot what its like starting out when theres so much different information out there. The one thing I find hard to figure out is when they use appreviations that are paleo related but theres no guide in case you can't figure out what they are talking about anywhere. . The idea is to listen to how you body reacts to foods. It is telling you when you are feeding it something that's not good for it. We just have to learn to listen to our bodies all over again when we come off the SAD diet. (Not sure what the letters mean, but my general understanding of SAD is the average americans diet of junk) Good luck and don't stress about it