What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is not about “eating like the Paleolithic man,” is about the type of foods you eat. This diet is based on the concept that the best human diet is the one from which we have evolved, the type of foods people were eaten thousands and thousands of years ago. And we are not talking about eating organic food because it’s healthier than processed food. We are talking about completely avoiding the particular type of foods that were not even available back then.
The Caveman Diet has been associated with numerous health benefits. But please keep in mind that because the aim of this diet is to return to a way of eating that’s more like what humans used to eat thousands of years ago, the Paleo Diet cannot be associated with “modern food.”
Let’s take farming for instance. Farming was a huge step forward for humans, and it almost entirely changed our diet. Agriculture introduced dairy, legumes, vegetables, and grains into our daily diet. But it also was a quick change in diet and, according to those who promote the Paleo Diet, it outpaced our body’s ability to adapt. According to Paleo’s supporters, this is a contributing factor to diabetes, heart diseases and obesity today.
Please note that the Paleo Diet is quite restrictive, but according to weight loss promoters, it also is more effective than other diet plans.
Several theories are circulating. For instance, the Paleo Diet proponents believe that the caveman diet was more healthy, more organic, than anything we can put on the table today. The Paleolithic man was a hunter and gatherer and ate what the human body was designed to eat.
It is believe that the healthy eating habits back then were directly connected to a very low rate of degenerative diseases like heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, or cancer.
What to eat and what to avoid
As stated above, the Paleo Diet is quite restrictive and you can find many written books on the subject. But in short terms, as long as you eat only from a selected list of foods, you will lose weight, no matter what.
The list of acceptable foods includes meat and offal, fish, eggs, chicken, fruits, vegetables (but with a huge emphasis on root vegetables), berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.), and nuts (brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamias, etc.).
The eggs and meat should come from animals fed a natural organic diet. These animals should live in their natural environment, and they should have access to their natural food.
The list of forbidden foods includes grains (and everything that is obtained from seeds), peanuts and cashews, beans (kidney beans, peanuts, snow peas, string beans, peas), dairy products, sugar, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and coatings of any kind.
Here is a sample diet plan for the Paleolithic Diet:
Breakfast: omelet with spinach and mushroom
Morning Snack: fresh berries
Lunch: grilled salmon and large mixed vegetable salad and flax oil dressing
Afternoon Snack: guacamole and raw carrots and celery
Dinner: grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and tomato salad
Evening Snack: baked walnut cinnamon apples
A lot more food recipes and diet plans are available online.
How much the Paleo Diet costs?
The Paleolithic diet plan is not cheap. The fact that many food types are forbidden, and the fact that only organic food is recommended are the factors that make the Paleo Diet one of the most expensive diet plans.
- ”The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet” by Robb Wolf – everything you have to know about the Paleo Diet;
- ”Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle” by Diane Sanfilippo – a great cookbook with over 120 recipes;
- ”Paleo for Beginners: Essentials to Get Started” by John Chatham – a great reading that includes a full list of all accepted foods, a step-by-step guide on how to start your Paleo Diet plan, and 99 easy recipes;
- ”Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great” by Danielle Walker – illustrated cookbook with over 150 recipes.
All the above selections are available in the classic format (paperback) or Kindle.
The first question many people will ask about this diet plan is: “how fast will I lose weight.” We believe the answer to that question is a bit complicate. The Paleo Diet is not necessarily about “how fast you will lose weight,” is more about “how you lose weight.”
There are many restrictive diets out there that can help you lose some weight. And yes, many of these will prove useful in the short term, but you will also feel hungry all the time. On top of that, as soon as you stop the diet plan, any weight lost is regained rapidly within a few months.
So the Paleolithic Diet is not about how fast you lose weight. Because it emulates what our ancestors ate, your diet will contain enough protein and it will be rich in fruits and vegetables. You will get moderate amounts of fat, but with high quantities of Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats.
As with any restrictive diet plan, you may experience rapid weight loss in the first few weeks, mostly because the amounts of carbs consumed will be dramatically reduced, and the water that is expelled from the body. This may lead to unwanted side effects such as headaches, bad breath, and lethargy.