The word “paleo” is a shortened version of Paleolithic. This was a prehistoric era during which humans had just begun learning how to use stone tools. The Paleo Diet trend has been really catching on lately. This has many people asking that what paleo diet is exactly. This is perhaps one of the most simple diet plans that have become popular in a while now. The Paleo Diet involves adopting a dietary regime that is similar to what our prehistoric ancestors used to eat. The reason for doing so is to cut out excessive calorie intake. It also tries to minimize food items that humans began eating after learning how to farm. The Paleo Diet, also known as the caveman’s diet is what we are going to explore in-depth today.
The Paleo Diet became insanely popular because of its simplicity and results. The goal of this diet is to adopt a high fiber and high protein eating regime. Doing so promotes lean muscle building and lets you shed weight quickly without having to cut down your calorie intake. Basically, the Paleo Diet lets you lose fat without having to eat sparingly. It also means that you don’t have to deal with low energy levels.
Despite being called a caveman’s diet, there’s a lot of science behind the Paleo Diet. There are many books on the topic, including The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain and the more recent The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf (a biochemist). The Paleo Diet isn’t a brand new way of eating. Humans had been following this diet during the Paleolithic era when their primary means of obtaining food was through hunting and gathering.
How Does The Paleo Diet Work?
The simplest reasoning behind the Paleo Diet is that we should eat food that was naturally available to us. Devotees argue that food that we learned to grow ourselves isn’t what nature intended for us to eat. Therefore, it doesn’t suit our bodies as well as what humans were eating before they learned farming techniques.
The regulations that the Paleo Diet places on us are quite simple. All you have to do is cut back on processed foods, grains, legumes, and dairy products. You introduce more meat, fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed foods to your meal plan. The best thing about the Paleo Diet is that there isn’t one fixed way of getting it right. You are provided with a framework of rules that you need to incorporate into your lifestyle, which means that you have the liberty of choosing your own meals. You may even customize your diet as long as it doesn’t go against the core rules of Paleo. Many people start with a Paleo Diet and end up adopting a Paleo Lifestyle. They begin integrating the “naturalizing” aspects of the Paleo Diet into their lifestyle. Such as developing better sleeping habits and adopting different fitness regimes.
If you’re someone who wants to lose weight, then the Paleo Diet is definitely worth a try. You can start with something as simple as cutting out grains from your food for a week. Have a breakfast of a veggie omelet (without cheese) and substitute bread with lettuce wraps. Eat nuts as snacks between meals and make sure that you don’t touch any sugar. The best way to delve into the Paleo Diet is by first dipping your toes into this pool. You can find Paleo plans online that provide you with an outline of how to adopt this diet. You start at an entry level and then advance to intermediate and eventually work your way up to a pure Paleo Diet.
Now let’s take a look at the details of the Paleo Diet, including what to eat, what not to eat, and how to make the most out of it.
What to Eat in The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet’s primary focus is on high amounts of protein and fiber. This means that your diet shall consist of naturally found animal products and plant products. Let’s go through a list of foods that are Paleo friendly.
- 1Seafood, red meat, and poultry meat are going to be your primary source of protein in a Paleo Diet. We recommend that you obtain the following food items from producers who don’t use mass production techniques. Farms that raise their animals in pastures are more ethical since their animals are raised in humane environments. They’re also more nutritious as their meat has a higher quality to it. Similarly, seafood caught from the wild rather than sourced from farms has a higher nutritive value. Also, grass-fed animal meat and wild seafood are more flavorful.
- 2Eggs sourced from organic fed, free-range chickens are another great source of protein. Eggs are easy to digest, can be eaten in many ways and are packed with beneficial calories.
- 3The term “hunting and gathering” brings berries and fruits to mind. Both of which are a great source of vitamins and carbs in a Paleo Diet. Fresh fruits and berries taste great and are refreshing. They can also help you fulfill sugar cravings without having to rely on processed sugar.
- 4Starchy/non-starchy vegetables are great to have in a Paleo Diet. They’re rich in good carbs, have plenty of fiber to offer, and are packed with a variety of great nutrients. Root vegetables and leafy greens are great to have as well. Pretty much any type of vegetable is okay to have in a Paleo Diet. Except for a few that we’ve mentioned in the next section.
- 5Nuts and seeds are recommended as go-to snacks for every Paleo devotee. Nuts and seeds are loaded with beneficial fatty acids and have a variety of nutrients in them. Keep in mind that many of these fatty acids can be bad for you in larger doses. This is why nuts and seeds are recommended for snacking and not for substituting proper meals. The best way to eat nuts and seeds is by leaving them to soak in water for a few hours. You leave them to soak and then let them dry up again before consuming them. This activates them and makes them easier to digest.
- 6When adopting a Paleo Diet, you’re going to want to restrict yourselves to healthy fats. These include cream, butter, and ghee (all three of them aren’t dairy products despite being derived from milk). Olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, coconut milk, and avocado oil are all good fats as well. You’ll also be getting fats from the meat that you consume.
- 7Herbs and Spices are pretty much all natural and add to your meal in nutritive value and flavor. You can use any spice or herb that you want as long as they are obtained from quality sources. Remember not to go overboard with your salt intake.
- 8Condiments that aren’t riddled with processed chemicals are good to go as well. High quality, natural vinegar including balsamic vinegar and apple cider are both good to have. You can also use mustard, tomato-based pastes and sauces, salsas, and other garnishing items. You can even use soy sauce and oyster sauce as long as they don’t include wheat in them.
- 9Going Paleo doesn’t mean that baked items are off the list. You can substitute grain-based flour with alternative flours instead. These include nut meals, arrowroot flour, chestnut flour, coconut flour, and sweet potato flour. All of these flours are high in carbs and fatty acids so they should be used in moderation.
- 10It goes without saying that water is going to be your primary beverage. However, teas and coffee can be consumed as well, as long as you have them with little to no milk.
What Not to Eat in The Paleo Diet
- 1Legumes of any kind are not Paleo friendly. Only green beans and green peas can be kept on the menu. The rest have to be boycotted.
- 2Grains are also not recommended. The only grains that can be acceptable from time to time are rice. Rice is considered to be the least harmful grains out there. They can be added to your food for a change of pace now and then. Keep in mind that rice is loaded with carbs and shouldn’t be eaten frequently unless you have an active lifestyle.
- 3Dairy is a mildly debatable food group in the world of Paleo. Some people are adamantly against the consumption of dairy products. Dairy products are known to cause gut problems, especially in people with intolerances for lactose. However, some people argue that a healthy gut and moderate use can prove to be beneficial. If you do plan on keeping dairy products on the menu, we recommend that you prioritize goat’s milk over cow’s milk.
- 4Refined carbs and sugars are an absolute no. Basically anything that has been processed or refined should be actively avoided. This also includes processed fats and vegetable oils.
- 5Any product that contains gluten should be avoided as well.
Making The Most Out of Your Paleo Diet
A majority of people start the Paleo Diet because they want to lose weight. The diet has proven to be quite effective in terms of weight loss. It naturally supports the metabolic system of the body. It also introduces food items to the body that are easy to digest and break down. However, to get effective results, you need to maintain some form of physical activity.
A good thing about Paleo Dieting is that you can shed weight without having to rely on heavy exercises. In fact, most Paleo Dieters recommend exercises that are “natural”. This can include exercises such as briskly walking for 2 to 3 hours every day. Walks along with moderate muscle support exercises are a great way to lose weight and refine your muscle mass.
Are There Any Drawbacks of The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is great, but it isn’t perfect. While it leads to weight loss and allows you to become fit without having to cut back on calories, a Paleo Diet can also result in certain deficiencies. Going Paleo means that you’re cutting many food groups out of your life. This results in certain nutrients being sacrificed. Cutting out dairy from your diet means that you’ll have a harder time obtaining certain nutrients. This includes vitamin D, vitamin B, and calcium. This is why it is recommended that you don’t completely cut out dairy unless your health requires you to do so.
Deficiencies are something that you may face, but they can be avoided if you are careful. Your Paleo Diet should make sure that any lack of vitamins and nutrients should be covered for by some other alternative food item. We, humans, are omnivores, and we need a balanced and diversified diet to remain healthy. You should make sure that your Paleo Diet plan provides you with an appropriate level of nourishment.
Another problem with the Paleo Diet is that it’s expensive. Sourcing organic food items will bloat your grocery bill. Experts also say that it introduces too many saturated fats into your diet. There have been studies that have linked saturated fats and early death rates. At the moment, there are a few health-related grey areas in the Paleo Diet. This is because there isn’t enough scientific data to support the long term effects of the Paleo Diet.
Overall, the Paleo Diet works wonders for your body. It introduces food sources that are rich in nutrition and easy on the digestive system. It also eliminates and reduces food items that are bad for the body in general. This Diet may be hard to follow due to extreme limitations and budget problems. However, it can be managed if you carefully plan out your routine. As for the health-related grey areas, the best way to make sure that your Paleo Diet doesn’t have any adverse effects on you. You should figure out what works for you and stick to it. This can be done through a bit of research and some trial and error based experiments.