What is the Paleo Diet?The Paleo Diet gets it's name from the Paleolithic era when "early man" lived off the land, ate the fruit of the land and hunted and ate whole animals. It is also called the caveman diet.
This is all before organised farming and grains were widely used.
Today though, we live in a totally different world, but the paleo diet, the paleo way of eating, attempts to mimic what early man ate.
This means eating nutrient dense foods that have virtually no processing, organic, not genetically modified and whole animals including organ meats. The health benefits are huge from eating such nutrient rich foods.
The diet is focused on giving its nutrients from Organic meats, fish, vegtables, dairy, fruit, seeds and nuts.
It's not the easiest diet to eat though as everywhere you look there is processing, sugar and grains.
I suppose at this point it's good to mention what is not part of a paleo lifestyle.
All Grains, sugar, fruit juices, soft drinks, Legumes, Artificial Sweeteners, Starchy vegetables and for some paleo people Dairy.
An exhaustive list can be found on this website of things that "are and aren't allowed".
As grains are not allowed on the diet, nor are sunflower oils or the likes, nearly all modern convenience fast food and ready meals are removed. It can mean more healthy home cooking.
The subject of dairy though is very divisory in the Paleo world. Some like leading Paleo figure Dr. Loren Cordain is against dairy and the effects of dairy, whereas others find that they have a tolerance for dairy and have no problem eating high quality diary such as butter, ghee and full fat Greek style yogurt that is natural and organic.
It's summed up fantastically here.
The Benefits from eating PaleoAt the moment I don't know which is right and wrong, I think it's important not to replicate the past but to use real whole foods of Paleo-like eating for the best health results.
Eating a real food diet and avoiding the modern diet has the following benefits:
- Better weight control as Paleo foods are generally low in carbohydrate and thus does not over store fat in the body. Paleo living also allows for easier weight loss.
- Helps fight against auto-immune disease and other intolerances to the modern food diet, often of which we are unable to tolerate effectively. Which in turn can cause stomach aches, skin conditions such as Exzema and other problems
- Reduced inflammatory foods reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood.
- Mood stabilisation from the lack of sugar highs and lows.
- Prevents and can cure metabolic disease such as Diabetes Type 2.
- More energy that is sustainable and not reliant on constant sugar top ups.
- Gives our amazing body the tools it needs to grow and fight infection.
- Clean eating may prove to be a turn around point from more modern diseases.
Paleo - It's not about the laws, but the principles
Rather than getting bogged down in Low Carb/ Paleo / Primal / Caveman stereo types I think it's best to focus on the principles rather than the laws of each of the diets.
One good principle is "if it doesn't swim, run or fly or isn't green and grow in the ground, don't eat it." Jack Lalanne.
Paleo/ Primal or whatever you want to call it is about an education. It's about knowing where your food came from, what are the ingredients, what are it's benefits.
It's not a diet with a list of do's and don't.
Live clean, eat clean, be healthy.
Why not try Paleo for 30 days and see how you feel?