What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is a diet that mimics what our Paleolithic ancestors would eat. Homo-Sapiens have spent a MUCH longer time as hunter-gatherers than as farmers. Thus, our bodies are more acclimated to food we have hunted and gathered than the processed food we have nowadays. While our diets have changed since the agricultural revolution, our genes have yet to adjust. As a result, we are not as healthy as we should be. The average human back then was tall, strong and active. The average human now is unfit, sedentary, stressed out and dying from preventable chronic diseases. The Paleo Diet is a return to the simple food found in our natural environment.
What can I eat?
A Paleo Diet is composed of a wide variety of meats, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts and fruits.
It recommends consuming high amounts of fat, both saturated and monounsaturated. Food with saturated fat includes coconut oil and grass-fed butter, while food with monounsaturated fat includes avocados and olive oil.
Someone doing Paleo should also eat a lot of meat, preferably organic, pasture-raised or wild game.
Vegetables can be eaten either cooked or raw and organic if possible. While fruits and nuts are part of the Paleo Diet, they should be eaten in moderation. Fruits should be low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries and nuts should be high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s like macadamia nuts.
Which food should I avoid?
The general rule of thumb is avoid what a caveman could not get his hands on. This means no processed food, which has lots of additives, refined sugars, sodium and artificial flavoring. Some common foods that fall into this category include grains, dairy, legumes, vegetable oils and anything with excess sugar.
Grains, such as bread, pasta and even wheat, are bad for you because they contain 3 big anti-nutrients. One of them is lectin and high consumption of it can lead to intestinal damage and resistance to appetite-controlling hormones. The second is phytates, which humans can not digest. These phytates end up binding to minerals in the human body and take them out the system. Legumes also have lectin and phytates. The third is gluten, which causes vomiting, bloating and diarrhea in some people.
Besides butter and heavy cream, dairy products should be eliminated altogether. Dairy puts a stop to fat burning and contains casein, which has been found to promote cancer growth.
Vegetable and hydrogenated oils like magarine and canola oil should be cut out. Anything with added sugar, such as sodas, juices and pizzas should be avoided as well.
What are the benefits of following a Paleo diet?
By eating only whole foods, those following a Paleo diet eliminate empty-calorie foods that are void of nutritional value. Consequently, many people have reported weight loss, improved satiety and better digestion. It has also been known to improve energy, mood and attitude. Another major benefit of doing Paleo is the reduction in overall inflammation in the body. The accumulation of unnecessary toxins found in processed foods over time can lead to many diseases later on in life.
Is the Paleo diet right for me?
It may be harder to follow a Paleo diet if you are againist eating meat or don’t want to be restricted from grains and dairy products. While a “cheat meal” is fine on an inregular basis, it is recommended for people who want to try the diet to do it fully for 30 days first.