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How can I follow a Paleo diet?

Ready to sate your appetite with a Flintstone-style diet? Here are four basic rules to get you started:
  • Eat lots of root vegetables, such as turnips, parsnips, carrots, and rutabagas.
  • Snack on nuts when you get the munchies.
  • Replace grain-fed beef with grass-fed beef, bison, or other wild game meats to mimic the nutrition profile of Paleolithic meats.
  • Cut back on grain products as well as cheese and other dairy, which weren't part of the Paleo diet.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Learn the rules of the Paleo diet and use the strategies of the past to improve your future.

Rule #1: Build a “Paleo plate” for every meal

On the Paleo diet, two-thirds of your plate should be comprised of vegetables. The other one-third is a palm-sized portion of lean protein, one fruit and a dollop of healthy fat, like avocado.

Rule #2: Eliminate all “inflammatory” foods

The diet tries to mimic the foods our ancestors ate during the Stone Age, so it eliminates all items that come in bags or boxes. These processed foods can upset the immune system and create inflammation in the body. You’ll need to cut out all dairy and refined sugars.

The Paleo diet also veers away from whole grains and legumes. Paleo proponents believe these foods are nutritional lightweights compared to nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, certain grains can be irritable to the intestines and lead to symptoms like bloating, swelling and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Rule #3: No calorie counting

This rule doesn’t give you permission binge eat whatever you want -- it means that when you’re eating balanced meals comprised of whole foods without preservatives, your body runs efficiently. Paleo dieters maintain that without the blood sugar spikes and crashes, your energy will be through the roof. On this plan, you can eat until you’re satisfied and still lose weight.

Rule #4: Eat dinner for breakfast

The traditional American diet usually offers refined carbohydrates like bagels and cereals for breakfast and reserves proteins for lunch and dinner. On the Paleo diet, this is not the case; you can have any protein on the table as part of breakfast. Grab your dinner leftovers like turkey, salmon or even a burger -- it will fuel your day!

Rule #5: Take three cheat meals a week

You can still get the benefits of the Paleo diet by following it 85% of the time. A full 100% commitment is ideal for 30 days but can be a difficult transition -- which is why the plan allows for some cheat meals. Indulge three meals a week. Feel free to enjoy a glass of wine or a piece of cake. Paleo is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. Make it sustainable for you.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.