“Paleo” is often a debated diet in the health and nutrition world.
Is paleo the way to eat, or not? Is it science based? Isn’t it just a trendy celebrity diet?
Some call it a “fad,” or a “cult.” Others a “weight loss diet” or “restrictive.” And still others, “the way humans have always eaten” or a “lifestyle.”
What to believe?! After all, since the 1970’s, we’ve been told by the USDA that non-paleo-friendly foods like whole grains and dairy are essential, and that saturated fats and red meat are evil.
It’s no wonder that, for the outsider looking in, Paleo can seem a little counterintuitive — or even extreme — until we look to the evidence.
While many folks find research studies BORING, the stories and diets of individuals who have experienced “Paleo success” warrant a second glance—especially if their name is Matthew McConaughey.
If you’ve ever wondered what celebrities eat in a day, here are 12 famous celebrities who have “gone paleo,” and an insider peak at what a celebrity diet (that works) really entails (Hint: bacon, burgers and butter are cool).
Matthew McConaughey has a varied, regular workout routine (interval training, circuit training, cardio, and jump rope). So, his “clean” celebrity diet consists of a lot of high-fiber (low starch) veggies, sustainable proteins and moderate amounts of healthy fats to support it.
He is most known for his diet’s role in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club,” wherein he reportedly lost about 50 pounds eating a lot of fish and vegetables.
Since then, Matthew is back to advocating the “80/20 balanced” lifestyle that paleo also promotes at its core (ie. a diet, not a lifestyle) —including a daily glass of wine and whey protein shakes between meals to support his active lifestyle.
Jessica Biel is one of the first Hollywood starlets that made “real food” cool for pop culture and celebrity diets. She was on the trend back in her early CrossFit days when she first stumbled upon paleo and Zone in 2012.
She continues to stay tried and true to paleo principles, now acknowledging that her choices go far beyond dieting for physique. “Honestly, I just feel better when I don’t have gluten or wheat or dairy,” Biel told “Health Magazine” in early 2017. A walking billboard who advocates for improved digestion, energy and “feeling good” all around—not just weight loss? We like her.
An average daily plate includes: breakfast paleo pancakes, chicken apple sausage and fresh juice. For lunch, it’s greens with some sustainable protein, and dinner, salmon or chicken with veggies and some rice. Yup, Biel also keeps “balanced” with the occasional rice and is debunking myths that paleo is “strict” or not sustainable. “I’m not all-out anything,” Biel said it in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
There’s something in a name. Alba’s hot bod (even post-baby) is attributed to her personal celebrity diet plan or “way of life,” consisting of her paleo lifestyle and kick-butt CrossFit routine. Alba’s family history of obesity had her hyper-aware of her own nutrition at a young age.
To fuel, Alba sticks to the classic paleo template: healthy fats, high-quality proteins and low-starch organic vegetables and fruits.
How does he do it (those washboard abs)—especially in the movie “Magic Mike?” While abdominal exercises are a piece of the puzzle, 80-percent of all results are nutrition—(and a foundation of paleo is Tatum’s diet of choice).
This celebrity digs a diet consisting of omelets with avocado and fruit for breakfast; grilled chicken, spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes for lunch; and good ol’ meat and veggies for dinner.
Lively turned to the paleo diet when she began preparing for “The Shallows,” training to be a surfer, and it stuck—seeing her through her two pregnancies as well for healthy babies. Avoiding gluten, soy, grains and dairy helped the “Gossip Girl” starlet feel her best (and bounce back to her “old bod” post-baby bump without extreme dieting).
The “Friends” superstar “Rachel” knows the secret to radiant (unaging skin and beauty)…healthy fat. Jen has been totally digging coconut, butter, egg yolks, fatty meat and fish for several years now—turning the old school mentality of low fat and low calorie diets on its head.
The Princess Diaries superstar gained media attention when she left her vegetarian and vegan lifestyle behind her, welcoming meat back in to a paleo-approach. “I just didn’t feel good, not healthy or strong,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. In the transition back to her old body post movie “Interstellar,” Hathaway experimented with a Paleo diet, including plenty of fish and poultry. Almost instantly, she had more energy, and left anti-meat in the dust.
“Biggest Loser” host and CrossFit advocate Harper has helped the Standard American dieting and processed food worlds alike at least Google search the word “paleo.” Last year, at 51, Harper suffered a heart attack that left the fitness world shocked, but also brought to light that a balanced lifestyle and real food diet is even more essential to thriving.
Today, as an authority who knows what celebrity diets work (and which ones don’t), Harper’s diet philosophy advocates for no extremes, which is a bit of fresh air to the “real food” movement and paleo world. In fact, he eats a real food, pegan-style diet at its core—founded on lots of veggies as the base of his meals, with low to moderate amounts of protein and fats.
While many in the paleo diet world seem to advocate solely for bacon, butter and steak, Harper is a reminder of what paleo is really all about—real whole foods, and lots of color that was once available widely on the land (veggies).
Former Florida star quarterback and ESPN Game Day host Tebow loves a good avocado—reportedly eating three to four per day on his paleo-ketogenic diet (We knew we liked his hair).
He also loves eggs, steak, fatty fish and lots of greens. (A celebrity diet that looks more like a Caveman than a traditional NFL star, slamming back pizza, bowls of pasta and beer).
Eggs and bacon mean slam dunks are possible—at least if you’re this superstar basketball player. Last year Lebron James tested out a Keto-paleo diet approach: Upping the fat and lowering his carbs with real whole foods. He credits his leadership of the Cleveland Cavaliers National Championship (against Golden State) to his paleo-inspired diet.
Another basketball stud, now retired, Bryant turned to paleo in his 30’s as an experiment. The result? The superstar reported feeling better than in his 20’s.
Bryant traded in the vegetable oils, sugary sports drinks and bowls of pasta in place of raw butter, grass-fed beef and pastured eggs, and plenty of veggies.
McGraw’s beer belly was replaced by a six pack through functional fitness and his paleo celebrity diet alone—sticking closely to what “caveman eat.”
McGraw stocks up on lots of leafy greens, grass-fed beef, salmon and wild-caught fish, butter, coconut oil, nuts, berries, and avocados, and cutting out the alcohol almost entirely to keep his belly in check.
Is she getting younger? Every time we see Crawford in a commercial, one would think so. At 48, Crawford is seemingly ageless, and credits her supermodel secrets to good ol-fashioned workouts and clean eating.
Crawford sticks to real food, regular training and outdoor activities. Her belief? Food is medicine, reporting eating healthy is no longer a second thought. “It’s easier and easier to do,” she told Shape Magazine.
Photo credit LeBron James. Jason Miller/Getty Images
About the Author:
Dr. Lauryn Lax is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, author and speaker, with over 20 years of clinical and personal experience specializing in gut health, intuitive eating, food freedom, anxiety, hormone balance and women’s health. She is also a published journalist, and her work has been featured in Oxygen Magazine, Women’s Health, Paleo Magazine, Breaking Muscle, CrossFit Inc, USA Today, ABC and CBS News. She operates a virtual Functional Medicine & Nutrition practice, Thrive Wellness & Recovery, LLC, working with clients around the world to reinvent the way their body looks, moves and feels.
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