Your ancestors may have been better at eating healthy than you. Take the time to learn from your elders. Read about 8 Food Choices For A Paleo Beginner!
What Is The Paleo Diet?
You’ve probably heard the term “Paleo” a lot in the recent years. It’s a style of dietary plan that seeks to mimic the eating habits of our oldest ancestors, dating back to what is called the Paleolithic era. A time in history which is between 2.58 million years ago, all the way to about 11,700 years ago (1).
The logic behind the Paleo diet, is to reverse our modern eating habits that are harmful, and return to a more natural way of eating that was present before the invention of modern farming practices. Some people believe that the human body is not able to process modern foods, because it has not had enough time to adapt to them.
Processed grains, dairy products, sugars, and legumes have all been added to our diets rather suddenly. This rapid change is believed to be at the root of the obesity, heart disease and diabetes epidemic across the western world. Several studies indicate that a paleo diet may be responsible for helping reduce incidences of these diseases (2, 3, 4).
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Why Should I Care About Paleo?
Eating paleo may help you reverse several chronic inflammatory conditions in the body caused by eating unhealthy foods (4). Other benefits of the paleo diet include weight loss, increase in glucose tolerance, a reduction in blood pressure, and less cravings.
Instead of counting calories, and tracking micronutrients, you will have to plan your meals ahead of time and stick to a list of foods you are allowed to eat.
You will need prepare the food for the days and week ahead. This style of diet may be more up your alley if you’ve tried other diets and don’t like following complex systems.
That doesn’t mean following a paleo path will be a breeze, you’ve still got to follow rules laid out, and potentially break old habits.
What Foods Should I Focus On Eating?
The thing about a paleo diet that’s not simple is that in the days of our ancestors, since not everyone ate the same way. There is no one way to eat a paleo diet. Some may have eaten a lot of meat, others may have eaten mostly vegetables, others may have been in-between the two.
This is just a list of suggestions, not a strict guide, as you may want to consult with your general practitioner before changing your eating habits.
Lack of calcium, and iodine from dairy products, and salt can lead to problems with osteoporosis, and iodine deficiency since they provide essential nutrients (5). Eating too much meat can lead to heart disease.
So don’t think you should just eat a steak and cut everything else out (6). That being said, you will want to base your paleo meal plans on whole foods that are not processed:
Chicken, beef, pork, turkey and more.
Salmon, tilapia, shrimp, muscles, clams, scallops and more.
Preferably free-range or organic.
Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruit etc.
Spinach, broccoli, potatoes, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and more.
Walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews and more.
7. Oils & Fats
Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, and more.
8. Herbs & Spices
Sea salt (not processed salt), turmeric, cilantro, garlic, and more. As long as its natural, it should be fine.
What Foods Should I Avoid When Going Paleo?
If its packaged, or canned, you should probably avoid eating it. Nobody said it would be easy to go paleo. In addition, make sure you read the ingredient list if you do get something that comes in a container. Just because it says healthy on the package, doesn’t mean you should eat it:
Wheat, oats, barley, bread, pasta and more.
Beans, lentils, and peanuts.
3. Dairy products
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as products that have been minimally processed, such as full fat butter and cheeses can be added to a paleo diet.
Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and much more.
5. Processed Food
Anything that says “Diet” or “Low Fat” should be a red flag because these foods are usually highly processed, and full of artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.