Nutritionists continue finding new ways of healthy eating but many dietitians adhere to the opinion that we should eat like our ancient ancestors during the Paleolithic era. The main idea behind it is that we need to stop eating modern food and return to plants and animal protein. This diet, popularized by gastroenterologist W.L. Voegtlin, is called the Paleolithic1 or Paleo diet, but it is also known as hunter-gatherer diet or Stone Age diet.
How Does Paleo Diet Work?
It is not difficult to understand what the Paleo diet is based on. Its advocates say that your body is genetically meant to eat the same way as your ancestors did. So you have to avoid the foods that cavemen did not eat, such as legumes, refined sugar, grains, etc. Replace them with products that can be fished, hunted or gathered, like vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, fish, meat, herbs, and eggs. Of course, they must be unprocessed and real.
Some Paleolithic dieters even advise eating only raw foods, as they are sure that cooked foods are not suitable for human bodies. Thus, they eat only products that are both Paleolithic and raw.
Paleo Diet Benefits
Some dieticians link the Paleo diet with lowering blood pressure, reducing triglycerides2 and LDL3 cholesterol, but these are not proved facts, because studies were too short and small.
It is also difficult to say if the diet really helps to lose weight. Of course, if you make a calorie deficit, eating Paleo, you will shed several kilos, but it all depends on your efforts. Do not forget about physical exercises because Paleolithic hunters and gatherers were constantly on the move.
Many people, who have tested the Paleo diet, say that they have more energy, lose weight, get rid of all types of inflammation, gain muscle, have better skin and start feeling younger. Some persons assure that due to the Paleo they have been able to cure allergies, digestive problems and even asthma.
Paleo Diet Health Risks
You should know that when you start avoiding grains and dairy according to Paleo, you can lack many essential nutrients. So, if you are going to go on the Paleo diet you should consult your doctor first. In fact, it is a good piece of advice for everybody who wants to make considerable changes to his/her meal plans.
Paleo Diet Foods
When you are on the Paleo diet, you can eat almost all fruits and vegetables, but if you want to lose weight stint yourself in sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, sweet and dried fruits.
- Eggs and meats can be eaten freely, but they should be from animals raised on grass pastures. Steer clear of products with flavor or color enhancers, preservatives, nitrites, etc.
- Seafood and sea vegetables are all good.
- All seeds and nuts can be consumed but remember that peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts. This is why they are not on our list. Persons who want to lose weight should not eat more than one or two ounces of seeds and nuts per day.
- As for beverages, one should drink spring or filtered water, coconut water, herbal teas, and fresh juices.
- Chocolate, alcohol, coffee, dried fruit, raw honey, maple syrup, and caffeinated teas should be eaten in moderation.
Foods to Avoid on Paleo Diet
There is a lot of debate in the community of the Paleo followers about eating milk, butter, cream, kefir, yogurt, ice cream and other pasteurized dairy. So it is up to you. Anyway, if you are going to eat dairy, it should be whole-fat, fermented and raw.
Avoid all legumes, grains, highly processed oils, refined sweeteners, refined salt, soft drinks and most vegetable oils.
Paleo Diet Success Stories
Is It Difficult to Follow the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo is one of the diets restricting whole foods groups and it is very difficult for some people to follow it. They cannot imagine their lives without bread, diary, or sugar. On the other hand, one can eat many foods freely. There are many cookbooks and recipe web-sites for the Paleo dieters. You should also realize that eating Paleo can be pretty expensive.
Before Leanna Cappucci went Paleo, she ate vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy grains, but she was constantly gaining weight. More than that, she had depression and was aggressive. She had to struggle with asthma and allergies. She suffered from migraines and never slept soundly. The members of her family had the same problems. Finally, they all decided to go on the cavemen diet. The results have been drastic. They have got rid of allergies and migraines. She has got relief from asthma. They all have lost weight and started feeling much better. Now the whole Cappucci family follows the Paleo diet and they really love it.
Chadwick was born a very large baby. When he was a child he ate whatever he wanted and kept doing it in his youth. Finally, his weight reached 262lb. He decided to lose some kilos and tried several things which did not help him much. Then he found out the Paleo diet and started following the special nutrition plan. Soon he got himself trimmed down to about 230lb and was feeling much better. He enjoyed the results and decided to keep following the Paleo. Now he has 203lb and is not going to give up the diet.
Leigh discovered the caveman diet when her father presented her with the book “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain. She got interested in Paleo and read more literature on this diet. Leigh is a college student and eating Paleo is a challenge for her because it is not always easy to find necessary foods on the campus, but she has found a way out. Leigh always has Paleo salads and snacks in her fridge. The Paleo diet has helped her to lose over fifty pounds and made her feel healthier. Leigh Garcia still sticks with Paleo and advises everybody that they should not give up even if it is very difficult for them to keep the diet.
Carlos, a man in late thirties, was very skeptical, when he was introduced to Paleo. He had already tried many other diets but all his previous efforts were unsuccessful. What made it more difficult for him was that he worked as a chef. But he understood that he had to start eating healthy and decided to eat Paleo. The first week was the hardest for him but he was able to stand it. After three weeks he noticed radical improvements in the way he feels and in his appearance. In a month, he lost fifteen pounds. What is more, without taking any medicines, he got rid of some infection on his face that he had suffered from during several years. He thinks, it was Paleo that has cured him. Now Carlos feels much lighter. He is full of energy and sleeps soundly. He continues keeping the Paleo diet but allows himself cheats couple of times a week.
Zsanae is in active service in the United States Navy. She tried to get rid of excess weight for several years but without success. Finally, her chief of medical advised her to go on the Paleo diet. Zsanae was skeptical about it but several days later a friend of hers mentioned Paleo too, and she decided to try it. Zsanae changed her eating habits and positive changes did not take long to appear. After three weeks she saw a drastic difference. Since then, Paleo is not just a diet for her but a lifestyle.
- Paleolithic is the early period of the Stone Age. It lasted approximately 2.5 – 3 million years.
- Triglycerides is an ester which is formed from three fatty acid groups and glycerol. They are the basic constituents of natural oils and fats.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is a form of lipoprotein in which cholesterol is transported in blood.