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Paleo Diet : What is Paleo Diet?

Ever wondered what pre-historic cave men ate? Most of the things that we eat today did not even exist those days and the cavemen’s food options were mainly limited to what they could hunt.

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Wild plants and animals was the main food of sustenance during the Paleolithic era as agriculture and farming was not known to men. The concept of paleo diet was first introduced in the 1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L Voegtlin, who insisted that going back to what our ancestors ate would make us healthier, fitter and better physically.

Why it makes sense?

Paleo diet is essentially getting back to the basics or to where it all belongs. Junk food and processed food today rule our life and the ill effects of such food are well known to everyone. Paleo diet advocates cutting down on all such food that makes you fat, helps lose weight and help stay healthy.

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Paleo diet is not essentially about what cavemen ate at that time but more about what they did not eat. The key to staying healthy according to the paleo diet is eliminating certain food item from our menu.

How it works?

Paleo is no nonsense simple diet plans which clearly spells out what to eat and what not to. While the cavemen hunted wild animals and ate wild fruits and vegetables, the paleo diet talks about consuming the domesticated version of the animal and the agriculturally grown vegetable or fruit that were in the wild those days.

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The big dietary change that paleo talks of is that our diet is free of grains, legumes, and dairy. The paleo diet is easy to customize according to your needs but in all cases prohibits the intake of grains.

A month after staying on this diet experts recommend the 85/15 approach, meaning 85 percent of the time you strictly follow paleo diet and 15 percent of the time in a week you can eat anything you want.

What does the diet consist of?

According to one of the proponent of the Paleo food Dr. Cordain, what to eat and what not to eat is surprisingly simple in this diet plan.

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To Eat:

Meat – Ensure the source of your meat feeds on grass and not grain and is lean. Proteins are the building blocks of our body and lean meat has plenty of them. Lean meats have important nutrients like that aids body's metabolism and assist in red blood cell formation.

Fish/seafood – Fish is an important source of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). It also has a large amount of other minerals and proteins that are important for our body. Salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, and oysters are all good choice of fish.

Fresh fruits and veggies – For people who like fruits and vegetables, paleo diet would be very pleasing. Amongst the many fruits that you can have in this diet include apple, cranberries, apricot, figs, avocado, gooseberries, banana, grapefruit, grapes and guava.

Amongst vegetables artichoke, mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, radish, cauliflower, onions, parsley and turnip are some of the more popular ones in the list.

Eggs – Eggs are good for our body as it contains protein and all nine essential amino acids. Eggs are also one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. The protein and fat in eggs also helps sustain energy levels much longer.

Nuts and seeds – The paleo diet allows nuts like almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, cashews, chestnuts and sesame seeds to be consumed. It is believed that men can reduce cardiovascular risk by eating nuts regularly.

Oils – The paleo diet says 4 tablespoons or less a day of olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, or coconut oil can be consumed.

To not eat:

According to Dr. Cordain’s paleo diet the following should be strictly avoided:

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils

Benefits of Paleo Diet?

Paleo diet tries to do away with processed food and only concentrate on food which helps the body maintain its vigor. It looks to build healthy cells in our body, enable the brain to function properly due to its importance on consuming food with Omega-3 fatty acids and ensure that our body has more muscles and less fat.

Paleo diet is also believed to be good for the body’s intestinal system and promote better digestion and absorption. The diet also produces more energy to the body to undertake rigors of everyday life and at the same time help lose weight.

Critics of the diet

The diet has its fair share of critics. Many believe that completely eliminating grains and cereals may not be good for our body. Critics also point out that human beings have undergone thousands of years of evolution and what relevant during the prehistoric days is not relevant now.

Sample meal from Dr. Cordain’s book, The Paleo Answer:

Breakfast: Omega-3 or free ranging eggs scrambled in olive oil with chopped parsley. Grapefruit, or any fresh fruit in season, herbal tea

Snack: Sliced lean beef, fresh apricots or seasonal fruit

Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken (olive oil and lemon dressing), herbal tea

Snack: Apple slices, raw walnuts

Dinner: Tomato and avocado slices; grilled skinless turkey breast; steamed broccoli, carrots, and artichoke; bowl of fresh blueberries, raisins, and almonds; one glass white wine or mineral water. (Wine would never have been available to our ancestors, but the 85:15 rule allows you to consume three non-Paleo meals per week.)

Written by: Pranbihanga borpuzari

Date last updated: February 26, 2016