The biggest difference between the two is their limitations – or what foods are eliminated from your diet.
With a gluten free diet, you are removing all sources of wheat, barley, rye and triticale. You are removing all sources of gluten from the food that you eat.
With the paleo diet, you eliminate wheat, gluten, and dairy which leaves you with a diet that consists of lean meat, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and nuts.
But, it is not necessary to be completely gluten free or eating a paleo diet unless that is what you and your body needs. Let me explain…
When should you consider either one?
Gluten free eating is safe and healthy for you but it can be a challenge to eat completely free of gluten. Gluten and/or wheat is not always apparent in many of the foods that you eat. It is fairly easy to be wheat free, but a little more difficult to be gluten free. You can read more about that here.
It is important for anyone that suffers from celiac disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, wheat intolerance or wheat sensitivity, or wheat allergy to make a change to healthy eating gluten free. There is more about these medical issues inside this website.
A bonus that comes with eating less wheat is that there is a good possibility that you will lose some of the extra weight that you may be carrying.
The paleo diet is popular with athletes – especially athletes that are into extreme sports. Athletic people need to eat a diet of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and that is essentially what paleolithic meals are all about. But you really need to know and understand this type of eating plan or you could trigger some other problems.
Both are excellent ways for healthy eating as long as you follow the guidelines and understand what you are doing.
What got us started on this healthy path was after we read the Wheat Belly book. That was quite an eye opener! I would highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you have digestive problems or not.
There are really two important parts to living a healthy life. Taking care with what you put in your body (what you eat), and taking care of your overall health. Although they go hand-in-hand, the only way to live well is to take care of your inside and your outside — take care of yourself and your body.
Three Important Components for Good Health
How to stay healthy? That’s an age old question that has never truly been answered. Everyone has their own idea of how to get and keep your good health, but few of these ideas cover everything that is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not only your diet, it’s not merely a lifestyle change, it’s not just fitness – it’s a combination of them all that can lead you to good health.
If you do research into a healthy lifestyle, you’ll see article after article advising you that it’s what you eat, when you eat, and exercise that will help you to better health and to lose weight.
Yet people go from diet and exercise plan to diet and exercise plan with little or no success.
Or worse, the success they do have doesn’t last.
It’s not your fault. It’s what you have been taught that is at fault.
When you subscribe to these outdated recommendations for good health, you are still only changing what you eat or how you work out. You are not making the changes that are necessary for lifelong health.
Health is Wealth
We now know that diet and exercise are just two elements that are needed for a healthy lifestyle. How to stay healthy involves focusing on good health, good habits, happiness, and weight management.
Before life got really complicated – when life was simpler, people were generally healthier.
Their diet consisted of food that they hunted for, and food that they grew. There wasn’t any unhealthy additives, no growth enhancements — nothing that is unnecessary and unhealthy for us. Food was all natural.
People got lots of exercise. They had to work to get the food. They were always busy hunting, foraging, and gardening.
There was no such thing as a sedentary lifestyle. Everything that they did, they did for healthy living.
Good Health Involves Health, Fitness, and Care
If you want to have good health, you need to make permanent adjustments to your life. It is a lifestyle change. You need to rethink what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how you live your life.
Sleep, stress, and sunlight are three very important components to good health that are often overlooked.
You are responsible for your life – for now, and for your future.
The Importance of Sleep
The importance of sleep is often overlooked when going for good physical health.
Your body needs sleep.
When you sleep, your body is restoring and repairing itself.
If you are like most people, you aren’t getting enough sleep. Your body is not getting enough time to restore and repair itself.
How often do you get a good night’s sleep?
Do you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day? Or do you hit the snooze button several times before getting out of bed. Do you find yourself yawning throughout the day?
Millions of years ago, people got plenty of sleep. They didn’t have all the distractions that we have today.
When the sun went down, they went to sleep. Night time meant bedtime.
They had what the body needs — refreshing, restorative, regular sleep. There was very little to disrupt the natural sleep patterns.
When you don’t get enough sleep, or when you have poor sleep habits, your body will let you know in one way or another.
Poor quality sleep can have a negative effect on your health:
- Your insulin sensitivity can decrease. This will reduce your ability to tolerate carbohydrates and to burn fat which will make it even more difficult for you to lose weight.
- You increase the risk of depression.
- You interrupt the normal secretion of hormones like testosterone, and the growth of hormones that burn fat and promote restoration of your cells.
- Your blood pressure raises which boosts your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Good quality sleep has a positive effect on your health:
- It helps to melt off fat.
- Your tolerance to carbohydrates increases.
- When exercising, your speed, your strength, and your recovery times increase.
- Your immune system regenerates, and improves your resistance to viruses and infections.
- Your brain – memory and problem-solving skills improve.
It’s a fact that around eight hours of good quality sleep is adequate for most people.
Good stress is stress that is in response to an emergency situation. It is the heart-pounding moment where time slows down, your adrenaline surges, and you work to correct the problem.
It is the fight or flight, life or death response that has saved many lives.
Our stress response system was built to deal with these infrequent, high-stress situations.
Bad stress is the continuous, never-ending stress that you experience on a day-to-day basis. It is a regular part of your life, it drags you down, and it makes you feel sick, tired, and unhappy.
This is chronic stress, and it is NOT good for you.
The bad news is that your body is not able to distinguish between good stress and bad stress. Both types of stress can bring on the same response – a surge of adrenaline, pounding heart, heightened senses, and hyper-awareness.
You won’t always exhibit the same response each time.
The problems occur when your body is not given the chance to release the stress and return to normal.
Prolonged stress will harm you.
There is no easy solution to eliminating chronic stress, but there are a few suggestions:
- You can make changes your lifestyle so that your stress levels are reduced.
- You should learn to eat healthier. A gluten-free diet or a paleo diet plan are ideal as they return you to a natural way of eating.
- Get more, quality sleep.
- Exercise smarter.
We are told that if we go out, we need to slather ourselves with sunblock so that we don’t expose our skin to UV rays.
The result is that many people have, or are developing a deficiency in vitamins, especially Vitamin D — and that number is growing.
Sure, prolonged exposure to the sun is harmful in this day and age but getting no sunlight is also harmful.
Our ancestors got plenty of sunlight. As a result, they got the right amount of a natural source of vitamins that the body needs for optimal health.
Some exposure to natural sunlight is necessary. You just have to be smart about it.
UVB rays from the sun interact with the cholesterol in your skin to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is a hormone that has a positive effect on organs, tissue, and the function of your body.
- It is essential for bone mineralization. Without it your body wouldn’t be able to maintain your bones properly. It is an all-natural source of calcium and magnesium.
- It helps regulate your sensitivity to insulin.
- It increases fat loss.
- It helps production of testosterone.
- It prevents tooth decay.
- It helps your immune system to function.
- It reduces systemic inflammation.
- It plays an important role in the protection against many types of cancer.
Everyone needs at least a little exposure to sunlight each and every day.
Be sun smart. Don’t expose yourself to the sun during the part of the day when it is the most dangerous time to be outside – usually between 10am and 4pm. Choose your time wisely.
Limit your sun exposure time.
An alternative for those of you that aren’t able to get your daily dose of natural sunlight is to take vitamin D3. Although this is not as good as natural sunlight, it is better than none at all.
A Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean just watching your diet, and getting exercise.
A good diet won’t make up for lack of sleep. You can’t substitute exercise for lack of sunlight. Stress won’t disappear just by eating right.
It’s a combination of many things that make for a long and healthy life.
How to stay healthy is a lifestyle with intent.