For over two million years, cavemen scoured the forests, lakes and plains for nuts, meat, vegetables and fruits. This is how human life managed to survive before agriculture became a means of gathering food. It was known as the Paleolithic era. Some actually refer to the Paleo diet as the stone-age diet. It has also gone by names like the hunter-gathering diet or even the less formal cavemen diet. It doesn’t matter what you call prehistoric men, one thing remains consistent. Our digestive systems have not evolved with the change in our diet brought on by agriculture. How could it in as little as 10,000 years? This simply isn’t enough time for evolution to have a serious effect on the human body. That’s why many people are enjoying the Paleo diet, a modern diet that introduces some very primitive means of feeding the human body.
It’s true that humans have developed cognitively with the invention of organized education and technology, but our bodies still have the same nutritional needs as they did eons ago. A leading Gastroenterologist, Dr. Voegtlin, was largely responsible for popularizing the diet in the 1970’s. He chief argument was that humans as carnivores. Our bodies mainly need fats, proteins and a much smaller amount of carbohydrates then they are now getting to maintain life. For the past three decades, obesity has been on the rise. The modern diet is the main contributor. An American’s average diet is polluted with preservatives, processed sugars, and deep-fried delicacies. The weight issues of today have brought new attention to Voegtlin’s suggested approach to weight management.
There Are Many Benefits To The Paleo Diet
The benefits of going with the Paleo Diet have been studied to the point were they overwhelmingly suggest that there is merit to the plan. Many academic journals have conducted modern studies on the subject.
You’ll Lose Fat- This diet isn’t a weight loss plan, it’s a healthy lifestyle option. Of course, when people make healthier decisions for themselves, they always lose weight. Many of the foods permitted in the Paleo diet have been clinically proven to help burn fat. The Paleo diet allows people to eat as much as they want, but only consume healthy, low calorie foods. The result is a fit body that’s receiving the nutrition it needs.
Combat Disease- Some studies suggest that following a Paleo diet may put you at a lower risk of developing certain diseases and conditions. Many of these are weight related, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
An Improved Digestive Tract- Many digestive tract problems have developed out of our bread based diet. Irritable bowel syndrome may be reduced by following the Paleo diet. Everyday problems like indigestion can also be eliminated.
Combats Acne– A lot of foods that cause acne are not permitted when following the Paleo diet. Sebum production can spike with a person’s insulin. Foods suggested in the Paleo diet do not cause this. People who follow the diet can expect most of their acne to clear.
A Plan That Makes You Feel Great- This diet isn’t only responsible for making you look more attractive, it can also boost your mood. A lot of Paleo supporters stick by their diet because they notice more energy and a better mindset after starting. The only way to experience the beneficial effects for yourself is to begin a Paleo plan.
Basic Diet Rules
Contrary to popular belief, the Paleo diet isn’t difficult to follow. It’s actually one of the easiest and cheapest plans to get behind. It’s as simple as eating real foods. There are some guidelines on proportions, 56–65% of your calories need to be coming from animal products, 36–45% should be coming from vegetables and fruits.
What You Can Eat
A Paleo diet’s more about experimenting with different foods to see how they react with your body then it is about limiting yourself.The earth provides us with enough variety so that we don’t get bored. Why settle for the same, old carbohydrates when there are exotic fruits and delicious meats you could be consuming? Below are foods you can eat:
- Fish and seafood
- Natural oils like avocado, coconut, Oliver and butter (grass fed)
Foods A Paleo Dieter Should Never Eat
The biggest sin you can commit is the consumption of processed foods. This is the largest source of malnutrition and extra calories in the American diet. With their convenience and taste, many of us are eating way too much of these items. The processed grains that make up many cereals and sandwich breads aren’t acceptable choices when going Paleo. Processed fats can also reek havoc on the body. Unnatural food items like soy, and seed oils should never be included in a balanced diet. The key is to not consume refined sugars, limit dairy and avoid processed foods at all costs to benefit from the Paleo diet. Below is a list of foods you shouldn’t eat:
- Wheat, barley, rye and corn
- Hydrogenated oils
- Dairy [Some recommend moderation]
Paleo Diet Do’s And Don’ts
Just as you need to do with any kind of diet, the Paleo Diet comes with some guidelines that you need to follow so that you can get the real effect. In order to make these guidelines fairly simple to follow, they are classified as being rules. The fifteen most followed Paleo Diet rules are:
- It is important that the Paleo Diet includes moderate amounts of animal proteins, lower amounts of carbohydrates and it should be fairly high in fats. It is not necessary to count calories and portion control is not required.
- Certain saturated fats, such as coconut oil, can be eaten as much as you would like. You can also eat beef tallow, lard and duck fat, however it should only come from grass fed animals. Macadamia, avocado and olive oils are also good fats to use.
- You can eat animal proteins in healthy portions, to include wild game, organ meats, red meats, pork, fish, eggs and poultry. When you cook with the bones in place, it will make all of the meats tasty, tender and juicy. The bones can also make for a wonderful tasting stock.
- It is important to eat plenty of vegetables, with raw or you can cook them with some type of fat. Starches such as sweet potato can be eaten to give non-toxic carbs that will also give you some clean energy to use.
- Nuts and fruits should only be eaten in moderate or low amounts. The best choices are low sugar fruits like berries, along with nuts that are known to have omega 3 fatty acids. Try to eliminate the fruits and nuts completely, however, if you are trying to lose weight.
- Whenever possible, choose meats from local farms in your area that have been grass fed. If you go with leaner cuts of meat, you have to add some healthy fats while cooking.
- Stay away from grains or legumes, including corn, oats, rice, barley, soy, rye, beans, wheat and peanuts.
- Do not eat vegetable oils, partially or fully hydrogenated oils such as peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, margarine, safflower oil or sunflower oil.
- Do not eat foods that are sugary or processed or any prepackaged foods, soft drinks, fruit juices or sugar.
- Do not eat any dairy products, unless you are using regular butter that you cannot do without.
- Do not worry if you find that you are skipping meals. Try to eat only when you are hungry. Some people on the Paleo Diet find that they do not need to eat the regular three meals per day.
- Try to do everything that you can to reduce any stress that you have in your life and sleep whenever you feel the need to do so. Go to bed once it becomes dark and then wake up when it is light. Try not using an alarm clock.
- Exercise should be kept at a normal level, using shorter, intense routines a few times per week. If you are feeling tired, skip a workout. You need to think of exercise as short sprints and deep cardio may not be necessary.
- Try to stay clear of commercial multivitamins or supplements. Take a probiotic and a Vitamin D supplement, or iodine may also need to be supplemented. You can also get it through foods such as seaweed.
- Enjoy your life, be sure to get outside. Travel, enjoy yourself and relax.
Enjoying The Paleo Diet On A Budget
When people want to start a healthy new diet, they often worry about the expenses related to dieting. Naturally, you want to improve your health and well being without overspending at the store. The Paleo diet can be rather affordable if you follow the tips below. Explore these suggestions to get started on the Paleo diet without spending too much money.
Purchase your food in bulk, particularly if a sale is going on. Meat may be purchased in family or value sized packages, then you can divide and freeze it with ease. The same is true for vegetables. Olive oil may also last for a very long time if it is stored in the correct manner.
Purchase Bone-In Meat
Meat on the bone is much more affordable than boneless meat. It also tends to have more flavor and a slightly higher amount of fat.
Purchase Organ Meats
Organ meats include meat from the liver, kidneys, or heart of an animals. These parts are extremely affordable and surprisingly nutritious. This is an ideal staple for anyone who is following the Paleo diet.
Buy Canned Fish or Whole Fish: If you can avoid it, do not buy farmed fish. Opt for canned wild salmon, tuna, and sardines instead. These items are frequently on sale, so buy in bulk if you come across a good sale. Additionally, consider purchasing whole fish at your local market. It is typically less expensive than buying de-boned fish because you do not pay for some to prepare it (removing the skin, de-boning, etc). It does take some time to learn how to de-bone and prep fish, but it is well worth the cost. Once you figure out how to do this with ease, you can stock your freezer with fish.
Shop At Your Local Farmers Market
Whenever it is possible, it is ideal to buy fresh and local fruits and vegetables. This type of produce is healthier for you, and it is less expensive in some cases. This is because it is not transported a great distance to be sold at a store.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Having frozen produce on hand at all times is very convenient, and buying it on sale saves you tons of money. Most frozen fruits and veggies are rapid frozen immediately after being picked, so you can feel confident that you are eating nutritious food.
Maintain Your Own Produce Garden
It is inexpensive and easy to keep a simple garden that provides you with various fruits and vegetables. As an added benefit, you get to spend time in the sun while enjoying nature. You also know precisely how your food is grown, where it came from, and more. Gardening allows you to get some light exercise, too.
Prepare Your Own Dressings
This is a very simple process, and you can reduce your food costs by eliminating bottled dressings. Additionally, you get to decide precisely what healthy ingredients you want to add into the dressing. You simply need to use a quality oil like olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs and spices that you enjoy.
Hunting and Fishing
These two activities are timeless, and they are an ideal way to fill your freezer. If you capture and kill your own meat, you know precisely where it came from, that it is organic, and how it was prepared. You can also reap the benefits of enjoying time outdoors and getting significant exercise while hunting or fishing.
I hope this overview helped you to get an idea on the Paleo Diet. if you’re interested in starting it or have already started one, then I highly recommend that you check out my review of Sébastien Noël’s Paleo recipe book, which includes more than 370 Paleo recipes.
Originally published here: The Paleo Diet: An Overview