Individuals looking to lose weight, feel better and eat healthier regularly seek out special diets and lifestyle regimes. There are myriad diets in the spotlight in the consumer marketplace. One of the diets or eating plans getting much attention these days is the Paleo Diet, or what many people commonly call the "caveman" diet.
Lifestyle blogger Amy Sheree, of Schererville, decided to try the Paleo way of eating in 2014. "What I really wanted to do was figure out some health issues," Sheree says. She had been struggling with various problems including adrenal fatigue, skin issues and fatigue in general. "I wanted to dive in and see what food could do for me."
According to paleodiet.com, "Paleo is a simple dietary lifestyle that is based on foods being either in or out. In are the Paleolithic Era foods that we ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry (meat, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.). Out are Neolithic Era foods that result from agriculture or animal husbandry (grains, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and fake foods)."
Sheree says it wasn't long before she seriously started feeling better after embarking on the diet. "My skin got better, I lost weight and my body felt healthier," she says. According to Sheree, eating Paleo helps the body "rejuvenate and refresh."
Sheree says starting a new way of eating may seem scary and daunting at first but, she stresses, the Paleo Diet was easy for her to adapt to. "I'm big on meal preparation," Sheree says, adding she'll often cook her meals five days in advance and have them ready for her when she wants them. Sheree's philosophy revolves around helping people "make healthy food and having it be enjoyable." She adds, "I want people to have fun with the way they eat." Visit amysheree.com for lifestyle and recipe ideas from Sheree. The blogger's e-cookbook is also available at the site.
The Crown Point-based company Pure Cravings has been around since November of 2015. Pure Cravings is a pre-made fresh meal preparation company, owned by J. and Mike Ballentine. The business revolves around the tenets of the Paleo Diet.
On their website, the Ballentines describe what they're bringing to consumers as: "Meals that consist of ingredients that nourish our bodies more than they cause harm. The core of our meals revolve around protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and certain fats, like coconut oil. Processed foods, sugar, dairy, soy and gluten are examples of some foods the Paleo approach avoids."
Ballentine, who had been working in a corporate job consulting for a software company, says she was looking for something different to do prior to starting Pure Cravings. "Cooking was always something I loved growing up," Ballentine says. After her husband Mike decided to try the Paleo Diet about five years ago, Ballentine says she thought she'd experiment with it too. She told him she'd embark on a trial run of the Paleo Diet for a few months.
"I felt tremendously better," Ballentine says. Not only did she lose pounds, Ballentine adds that she wasn't struggling with any stomachaches or nausea that often plagued her since she was a child. "I rarely have any type of stomach problems . . . my concentration improved and so has my energy level. I see a difference there as well."
Ballentine says if consumers are looking to change their lifestyles and ways of eating, it's always good to start out slowly but also have a good support system around you. Make sure there are loved ones or others who will encourage you to stick with your goals or be on your side when you're trying something new. "Having the support of people close to you will help," she says. She adds when beginning to eat Paleo, it's often good and easier to start with looking at the foods you can eat rather than what you can't eat.
The meals available through Pure Cravings are prepared with fresh, quality ingredients that fit into the Paleo Diet well. Meals include dishes such as Chili Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs, Pork Tenderloin, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Mash, Shepard's Chili Pie and more. Ballentine says, through her company, they don't want to "force Paleo" on people. "It's about making meal time easier for people." To find out more about Pure Cravings and how to order meals, visit purecravings.com.
Both Sheree and Ballentine say that the Paleo Diet can fit into various restrictive diets such as those on heart-healthy, allergy-conscious and diabetic eating plans. Patients should always contact their physicians, though, before embarking on any diet changes.
Click through the photos above for Paleo-friendly recipes by Amy Sheree.