So you’re on the ancestral health kick. Trying your best to eliminate grains, beans, legumes, and dairy from your diet and embrace your inner caveman or woman. Believe you me, I am right there with you.
The Paleo Diet allows for good meats, plenty of veggies, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and plenty of healthy fats. Plus, the scientific research to back up its health benefits speak for themselves:
- Improved blood pressure
- Glucose tolerance
- Decreases in blood sugar secretion
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improved cholesterol profile
The list really goes on and on. But this isn’t a love fest for adopting a Paleo diet template for yourself. This is for those that have already embraced the lifestyle…but maybe a little too much so. For them, I present the top 5 signs you’ve taken your Paleo lifestyle too far — and how you can get back on course.
1. You now do all of your grocery shopping at the zoo or aquarium.
You have checked both the fridge and freezer and there is no meat in sight. It’s grocery shopping time. Instead of grabbing your wallet and car keys you decided to snag a fishing pole and spear. The zoo and aquarium are the only places you are convinced you can actually get game meat and unique fish in order to satisfy your primal urges.
A better option: Whole Foods, Sprouts, and a quick Google search for grass-fed meats or wild fish will allow you to pick up high quality proteins with beneficial Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios. It’ll probably save your life as well — literally and figuratively.
2. You no longer sleep in your bedroom.
You sold your bed, sheets, and pillow and now insist on sleeping outside on the dirt like your ancestors, bundled up by a zebra blanket you recently created from — you guessed it — a grocery shopping trip.
A better option: If you are looking to sleep more like your cave brothers and sisters there is no need to step outside. Cover your windows with a heavy dark blanket and wear a sleeping mask in ensure that your sleeping experience is similar to a cave. Use a fan to cool the air in the room and (if possible) do your best to wake when the sun rises and go to bed when it sets. This will allow your body’s natural sleep patterns to align.
3. You let your dog chew up your shoes.
Why? Because you no longer need them. You’ve started showing up to work, formal outings, and really anything imaginable barefoot. All of your workouts, runs, and leisure activities are done without shoes as well.
A better option: Pick up some five finger shoes. There are tons on the market now and plenty of benefits associated as well. You’ll strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs, improve the range of motion in your ankles and toes, improve balance by stimulating neural function, and simply allow your body to move naturally. If you work on your feet most of the day, think about asking your work if you can try it out for a week to assist in lower back pain.
4. You’ve decided it’s time to decorate your walls.
Instead of painting your home, communicating verbally with family and friends, or hanging up art on your walls at home you’ve decided it is best to use petroglyphics to communicate. Tiny pictures of animals, shapes, and people drawn in clay litter your walls at home and in your workspace. Although your little cave daughter or son gets a kick out of drawing with mommy and daddy, there are better ways to communicate.
A better option: When you are with those that you love really be with them. Turn of the cellphone and ignore incoming calls and text. Forget about those emails too. Check in with each other and start talking. See how everyone’s day is going, what’s new, and plan an adventure together. Maybe a trip to the zoo — to view the animals, not shop for them.
5. You’re working out like crazy!
You want that caveman physique, so you are hitting the weights like crazy. Picking up and putting back down the heaviest stuff you can find over and over again.
A better option: Lifting weights is great but make sure not to overdo it. Two to four weight training sessions per week should do the trick — and make sure to get in some body-weight movements. Cave people used a lot of their own body weight to perform exercise. Do sprint work and interval training, get in your push-ups, pull-ups, and walking lunges. Try swimming, slack lining, and maybe Parkour for some alternative exercise. Strength, balance, coordination, and agility were all a part of the caveman’s workout. Make sure yours emphasizes this too. (And get outside! Cavemen were outdoors all the time. Take advantage of the vitamin D.)
Embrace your inner cave person…but make sure not to take it too far.