When you hear the term “caveman diet” you likely don’t think it’s something geared toward women. But the paleo lifestyle is getting a makeover. Nell Stephenson, author of Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean, and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat, is bringing a fresh, female-friendly voice to the diet.
We asked her to take us through what it means to be a “paleoista” and what the benefits are of the lifestyle.
The paleo diet is based on the belief that people were meant to eat off the land (what walks on it, grows from it or swims in its waters). The idea is that we’ll be healthier if we stick to the kind of foods we would have consumed as hunter-gatherers (grass-fed meats, free-range poultry, wild fish, fresh vegetables, fruit and natural fats like nuts) instead of over-processed items that have taken over most grocery carts across the country.
Live like a paleoista
According to Nell Stephenson, the paleoista lifestyle is a modern approach to following the paleo diet. “We eat a healthy balance of fresh veggies, fruit, lean meats and natural fats. It’s simple to follow this way of eating for all of us, from busy moms to traveling executives to students and kids on the go,” she tells us. “If we eat real food that we’re meant to be eating and move more, then we’re inevitably going to be much healthier overall.”
So exactly who is a paleoista? “She’s someone who walks the walk and talks the talk. She’s fabulous and fit, and with her boundless energy, finds time to make healthy eating a priority for herself and her family, as well as get everything on her to-do list done each day,” Stephenson says. “She implements paleo with style and executes with ease, proving that paleo does not have to be ‘cave-y!’ ”
Advantages of being a paleoista
For Stephenson there are multiple advantages to being a paleoista. Upon first adopting the lifestyle, she noticed that years of gastrointestinal distress were finally gone, not to mention the boost she felt in other areas of her life. “I had more energy, my training and racing improved tremendously, I slept better and I went from an already lean and healthy weight to finally getting to the goal weight and body fat percentage I’d coveted for years, but could never achieve, even despite my Ironman training,” she explains.
But what can the average paleoista expect? “The benefits are seemingly endless,” says Stephenson. “Fat loss, more energy, better sleep, improved complexion, decrease or complete elimination of symptoms of many, many health conditions ranging from mild to severe,” she tells us.
Stephenson shares some tips for anyone interested in starting on the paleoista path.
- Think about timing: In order to make it more likely that you’ll succeed, choose a time when you have the least amount of stress in your life. “Not right before moving houses or a trip around the world!” she notes
- Put effort into it: If you’re going to try it, you might as well go all the way. Stephenson suggests giving it a full month at 100 percent to see how much better you’ll feel. “Even a little bit of the wrong foods is enough to keep you from reaping all the paleo benefits.”
- Avoid temptation: Clean out the kitchen and remove the temptation to give in to old habits and cravings.
- Stay positive: Approach the paleo lifestyle with fun and focus on all you can eat, rather than a “glass half-empty” view of what you can’t eat.
Paleoista recipe: Tutti-frutti protein smoothie
Stephenson shares this paleoista-approved smoothie recipe to try. “I love my smoothie recipes that I made up to use for before training as well as on the go,” she says. “Some fruit first thing in the morning is fine, as long as it’s balanced out nicely with some healthy fat and good protein, as in this smoothie recipe.”
- 1 small mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 cups chilled, brewed passion fruit or other tropical flavor herbal tea
- 1?2 cup plain (nothing-added) egg protein powder or 2 large eggs
- 1?2 cup crushed ice (more if desired)
- Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- Combine the mango, strawberries, coconut oil, and ginger in a blender. Add the tea and whiz until well blended.
- Add the egg powder or eggs and blend for one minute.
- Add crushed ice and blend for a few seconds longer. Pour into two tall glasses. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if desired.