The Paleo diet refers to the way our ancient ancestors used to eat, more precisely about the food they consumed. Back in the days, the food was cleaner, as there weren’t any chemicals like preservatives, artificial flavors, coloring, and so on.
The first humans that roamed the Earth ate what they hunted, fished, and gathered, eating mainly fresh produces or foods that were very little cooked. The specialists that support the Paleo diet say that this diet is capable of helping people have a leaner body and lose weight, in case they are overweighed because the diet provides everything the body needs in a healthy manner while avoiding excesses. Also going by the name of the Stone Age diet or Caveman diet, the eating plan behind this diet is about consuming high-fiber and high-protein foods.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Besides helping people lose weight and have a more balanced body, Doctor Loren Cordain, a Ph.D. who is also the author of the book “The Paleo Diet,” claims that this diet will also keep diabetes away from its followers, together with heart illnesses, various other health problems, and even cancer. It is true that not eating any sorts of processed and packed foods, avoiding sugars, refined oils, salt, even dairy, and potatoes, as mentioned by the rules of the diet, your body and health will have to gain.
This diet assumes eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, together with nuts and seeds, plus healthy oils, and food that is prepared at home in a clean and healthy manner. Also, besides meat, seafood and eggs are also allowed in the diet, being the most important sources of protein in the Paleo diet. However, some vegetal sources of proteins that can be found in a vegetarian or vegan diet, like beans and some legumes, are not allowed to be consumed when following the Paleo diet. Also, you won’t find any gains in the diet either.
According to Dr. Cordain, several clinical trials showed the benefits of the Paleo diet when it comes to lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and heart diseases. In the same trials, the diet showed results in weight loss and diminished the symptoms of acne, while improving the athletic performance and health status of the persons that went on this diet. Still, there might be the need to supplement your nutrition with some minerals and vitamins that are no provided through this diet. Folate, vitamin B, and D, and calcium supplements can be taken to make sure that there are no nutrient gaps while following this diet. Also, even if intense physical exercising is not necessarily required, even if you are looking to lose weight, a moderate physical effort is recommended to maintain a good state of health.
Still, is it okay for the modern man to start eating in the same manner as our ancient ancestors? Aren’t we supposed to be more evolved and have more knowledge about nutrition than they had? So why go back to this type of primitive diet?
The biggest benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes clean foods, consumed mostly fresh or slightly cooked. In this case, processed foods and additives used in modern foods are completely avoided, together with unhealthy fats and sugars, which is obviously a much better option for your body and health than what you eat today. Also, we have to admit that we evolved and got where we are today due to our ancient diet as well because it promoted a better health and made us more resilient and fit to deal with everyday challenges.
Life wasn’t easy back in ancient times, so humans had to find a way to stay fit and healthy if they wanted to propagate themselves as a dominant species. So, eating meat, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and nuts appears to be an excellent way to maintain a good state of health and enjoy a balanced body, just like our ancestors did. Most certainly they did not have issues with weight back then, nor had they to face illnesses like diabetes or cancer.
What makes this diet so successful is the fact that it allows the body to enjoy a bigger intake of vitamins and precious nutrients, a healthier ratio between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, while proving a balance between proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. But, another MD, Christopher Ochner, stated that the fact that ancient humans did not suffer from the chronic illnesses most people have to endure today might not be entirely due to the way they ate. Their diet may have contributed in a certain degree, but it is not the only cause behind their better health condition. Let us not forget that ancient humans were far more active than we are all today, walking, running, covering large distances, and performing physical labor as a part of their daily lives. This may also have contributed a lot of their increased resistance in front of illnesses.
Daily meal plans
So, we went over the foods that are allowed to be consumed during the Paleo diet and the ones that should not be consumed at all. Still, how does the menu looks like, during a day, when following this particular diet?
For breakfast, to start with, you can have eggs scrambled in olive oil, served with freshly chopped parsley. You can also enjoy a fruit of your preference and a cup of herbal tea. As a snack, you can have a few slices of lean beef and fresh seasonal fruits. It is worth mentioning that any meat you choose to consume, it should always come from grass-fed animals so that the meat is of the highest quality and does not contain antibiotics or other chemicals coming from forages.
For lunch, you can enjoy a dish containing Caesar’s salad, made with chicken and dressing with olive oil and lemon, and a cup of herbal tea. As a snack, later on, you can have apple slices and a few raw nuts.
Dinner will be more generous as it can contain slices of tomatoes and avocado, skinless turkey breast that has been grilled, steamed vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, and as dessert a bowl filled with raisins, blueberries, and almonds. You can also end the dinner with a glass of mineral water or wine. Of course, wine was not available back in the days of our ancestors, but do have in mind that the diet allows a maximum number of 3 non-Paleo meals every week, so a glass of wine after dinner, now and then, is not considered as breaking the rules.
As you can see, the menu doesn’t look bad at all. Still, do remember that you cannot use salt when preparing your meals and no sugar is allowed in your cups of tea. Other than that, the menu is a very healthy one. The foods you consume contain salt and other minerals in a natural form, but in much lower quantities, this is why you don’t need it. Also, there is no need for sugar because it will be provided by the fruits you eat as a snack or dessert, fresh or dried.
Still, if you want to control the calories you eat, do know that dried fruits contain more sugar than fresh fruits, so you’ll have to be careful not to eat too many of them. If you think about following the Paleo diet, you should be prepared to make some time to spend in the kitchen, as packed food is not an option, preparing your food being one of the principles of the Paleo diet. But, for the health benefits it brings, and for the fact that it can help you shed extra pounds, the effort is worth it.
Also, you will be surprised to see that there is a quite large community of Paleo followers and supporters online. If you want to know more about this diet, find out some of the most delicious recipes, or just meet new people, this diet can help you. Paleo eaters are very supportive of each other so that you will feel welcome in such groups. So yes, the Paleo diet is not just a diet, as it is also a large international community.
Giving up foods that are packed in bags, jars, cans, or boxes is one of the main principles of the Paleo diet, but this also means to stay away from harmful preservatives and additives. It may be quite a challenge to let go of all the modern foods you were used to up to this point, but in the long term, you will feel grateful for ditching them. We all know that, in spite of the good taste they have, they have a low nutritional value, doing us more harm than good. So, with other words, eating in a primitive manner may be the best choice we can make.