The Paleo diet is all about choosing the natural foods that our ancestors evolved eating and avoiding modern refined foods to optimize your health and performance. Coffee was definitely not part of our diet during the Paleolithic period, but many Paleo dieters feel like they need their daily java to keep them going in the urban jungle.
The Paleo diet is a gluten-free, grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diet. The foods that constitute the foundation of the Paleo diet are lean proteins, from free-range eggs, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and seafood and grass-fed meat, as well as seasonal vegetables and fruits and healthy fats from avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts and seeds. The Paleo way of eating is high in nutrients, antioxidants and omega-3 fats, while being low in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and high in fat.
Coffee and the Paleo Diet
If you get your morning boost with a mocha or other sweetened coffee topped with whipped cream, you will have to drop this habit to convert your diet to Paleo. These types of coffee are sugar-laden and also contain dairy. Black coffee, sugar-free and dairy-free, is a better option. However, the caffeine in coffee can inhibit the good functioning of your immune system and this is why people with autoimmune conditions are told to completely avoid coffee and caffeine on the Paleo diet. Moreover, if you feel like you are addicted to coffee and need more than a cup a day, it may be a good idea to decrease or completely cut out your coffee habit for a few weeks or months to see how your body adapts to a caffeine-free life.
Decaffeinated coffee may be an option if you really need to get something that resembles your usual cup of coffee to get started in the morning. You will get the taste without the caffeine. A shot or two of black espresso, once in a while, can also be a good option as espresso contains less caffeine compared to a cup of filtered coffee. Tea is also a good way to get a lower dose of caffeine, yet have something tasty to sip throughout the day.
Boosting Your Energy Levels
Your need for caffeine may be hiding something that is lacking in your lifestyle. If you follow the Paleo diet and lifestyle, your energy levels should be better than ever and you shouldn't feel the need for your daily coffee fix. Take a look at your diet and make sure you do not have any gluten, grains, dairy or sugar that could be hindering your progress. Go on a strict Paleo diet for a few weeks and see if your energy levels improve. Note that you may actually feel more tired and fatigued during the first few days as your body gets used to a lower carb intake, but within a few days, your energy levels will probably be higher than ever.
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Aglaee Jacob is a registered dietitian. She has experience working with people who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity issues. Jacob obtained a bachelor of science and a master of science, both in nutrition, from Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.
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