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Eating The Paleo Way And Why It’s Good For You

Have you ever wondered why the Paleo diet gets so much attention and why it’s supposedly so good for your health? And what exactly is it anyway and how do you do it!? 

The Paleo approach to eating focuses on an abundance of natural foods like grass fed meat, wild fish, green leaves, herbs, vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds, and avoids certain crops that wouldn’t be growing in nature without human intervention, such as wheat, sugar, grains, legumes, processed foods and refined vegetable oils. The theory is that our biochemistry has evolved to thrive on foods that were abundant on the planet before we started farming and mass-producing our food. When you consider the overconsumption of wheat, grains, flours, sugar, processed foods, refined vegetable oils and intensively reared meat, you begin to understand why the Paleo Way has gained much momentum in health circles. Our modern day food habits are making us sick.

Relaxed Paleo

In my nutrition clinic I’ve put hundreds of people on a Paleo-style diet to help with a variety of health conditions. I use what I call a “Relaxed Paleo” approach, whereby selected grains, legumes and beans may be included in moderation based on the individual’s needs and tolerance levels. There are many health conditions that will never get any better whilst someone is eating excessive wheat, dairy, bread, pasta and sugar. There are various reasons for this; one of which is that foods such as grains are extremely starchy and spike our blood sugar when eaten in even small amounts! The constant insulin surges that result are a driving factor behind many of our modern day health concerns, such as obesity, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, digestive issues and hormone imbalances. 

Biochemical Limits

When you push the body to its biochemical limits, instead of allowing it to stay in a balanced state, you encourage many knock-on effects that are detrimental to health. For example, imbalanced blood sugar levels push insulin out of its comfort zone as well as using up the stress hormone cortisol. These two hormones work together to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. The wild fluctuations that result from a diet high in refined carbohydrates and grains, lead to further hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid and female hormonal disruption. This is because constant insulin and cortisol surges block the thyroid hormone conversion T4 to T3. High insulin also creates imbalances in the intricate female hormonal interplay, such as in the condition PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome); which is actually a state of insulin resistance.

There isn’t a single process in the body that isn’t affected by high insulin and cortisol! Inflammation is increased with a high sugar, grain-rich diet, so complaints like acne, eczema and arthritis are made worse. Mood regulation is very sensitive to blood sugar fluctuations, hence the term “hangry”. Hangry is a sign that your body is not keeping its blood sugar levels in check. That irritable feeling of needing some food results in you reaching for quick fixes, such as more sugar or bread, and the cycle continues! There are so many bodily processes that are upset by overconsumption of our modern day mass produced foods, hence the abundance of health issues we are facing on a day to day basis. Instead of our food nourishing us, energising us and protecting us from disease, it’s doing the opposite; it’s CREATING the disease!

Eating The Relaxed Paleo Way


  • Grass fed meat
  • Wild fish & seafood
  • Free range eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Vegetables & seaweed
  • Herbs and spices
  • Fruits in moderation
  • Berries
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Fermented foods
  • Natural healthy fats


  • Grains such as refined wheat
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined vegetable oils & Trans fats
  • Fake meats
Eat in Moderation:
  • Quinoa, buckwheat, spelt
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Chickpeas, lentils, beans, organic tofu
  • Organic dairy if tolerated

Health issues that benefit from a Relaxed Paleo way of eating include:

  • Peri/menopause
  • PCOS & female hormonal imbalances
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Overweight & obesity
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Skin complaints
  • Mood disorders
  • Type 2 diabetes & insulin resistance
  • Digestive complaints
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low immunity

Quality Over Quantity

Eating the Paleo way encourages us to slow down and think about where our food comes from. It inspires us to stop over-eating as we become more mindful of not only the quality of our food, but the quantity. Our biochemistry has evolved to switch between fasting and feasting, as often the buffalo simply ran away and we had nothing to eat. We have evolved metabolic processes to cope with this; in fact without the ability to do this we wouldn’t be here today. Our bodies have the ability to use sugar for fuel, or fat for fuel when we enter a state of ketosis in the absence of glucose-rich foods. Intermittent fasting is a great way to tap into your body’s deep evolutionary processes as we have simply not evolved to eat around the clock. Many magical things happen in our bodies when we fast, such as fat burning, cellular cleansing (autophagy) and increased insulin sensitivity. Eating natural foods alongside intermittent fasting is a powerful way to bring your biochemistry back into balance, instead of pushing it to its limits.

Evolutionary Eating Works

There’s so much more to say on the subject of evolutionary eating and why it’s being used to treat our modern day health complaints. Suffice to say that this way of eating works. There’s no need to be so strict that you never eat bread, pasta or sugar again, but it’s worth considering the impact overeating these foods has on your state of wellbeing. Many of the health issues I’ve mentioned above drastically improve in as little as a month when following a Paleo-style way of eating simply because the Paleo diet is packed with nutrient-dense foods, yet eliminates all the empty calories and unhealthy foods that place a huge everyday burden on your body’s processes. It’s actually what our bodies are crying out for!

Jo Rowkins, Nutritional Therapist

I can help you transition to a Relaxed Paleo approach to eating to support your individual health journey and lifestyle. Get in touch. I’d be delighted to hear from you!

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