What is the Paleo Diet – and what are the Benefits?
This article will provide the reader with an overview of the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is a new food trend that you have probably heard about. In this page we aim to increase your knowledge about the Paleo Diet, including foods you can and can’t eat when following the diet.
The Paleo Diet is derived from the term Paleolithic Diet. The Paleolithic or Stone Age era was a time which pre dated the cooking process, and so any foods which require cooking could not be eaten. Paleo dietary plans are based upon a basic principle – if the cavemen didn’t consume it, you shouldn’t either. Primitive humans thrived as hunter-gatherers (hunting for game animals and fishing for seafood), and our genetics haven’t changed all that much since that time.
As a general rule of thumb on the Paleo Diet, if it’s packaged in a box/requires cooking, then don’t eat it. So the candy, pasta and breakfast cereal will need to go! Therefore, the Paleo Diet excludes certain food groups such as refined sugar, dairy products, grains, legumes and processed foods.
Instead, stick to meat, fish, fresh fruits and veggies. Generally, a Paleo Diet is high in fat, and low in carbohydrates, with a decent amount of calories derived from protein. When there is an absence of carbs, our body will use energy stored as fat in a process called ‘ketogenesis’.
Try to eat fruits that are low to medium in sugar content and high in antioxidants along with healthy fats/oils like coconut oil, olive oil and avocado. Another key part of the Paleo Diet is to choose lean cuts of meat. It is also helpful to know how the animal was fed. When eating organic, grass fed meat from environmentally conscious farmers, you know it hasn’t been given antibiotics or growth hormones.
Because these foods are so delicious and make you feel full, it is almost impossible to overeat on the Paleo Diet. There are many variations to this diet program, as well. Just what you eat and how much will depend on your goals.
The Paleo Diet book was written by Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor from the Colorado State University’s Health and Exercise Science Department. Dr Cordain got inspiration for writing the book after doing studies with colleagues from his university. He came to the conclusion that there were many benefits to gain from converting back to our prehistoric ancestors eating habits, and in the book he clearly demonstrates what went wrong with the changes to the human diet, and what we can do to correct it.
What Foods Can and Can’t You Eat on the Paleo Diet
The main foods included in the Paleo Diet include lean meat, fruit, vegetables and seafood. For the most part, lots of healthy food sources that were available to the “caveman” in the Stone Age era.
Ask yourself this question, what would it be like to prepare your own meals prior to the invention of agriculture and farming? This is the basic premise of the Paleo Diet. In addition to hunting and fishing for food, there is a wide assortment of food sources our ancestors would have looked for in the wild, including nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and eggs.
Foods such as pasta and bread, which are complex carbs, are obviously not included in the paleo diet because they require processing. Additionally, some vegetables such as beans and potatoes are also not included in the paleo diet because they also require some degree of food processing.
If you’re looking to get started with the Paleo it is helpful to have a dedicated meal plan you can follow. Luckily, we’ve got a daily Paleo meal plan for you right here.
Meal 1: eggs omelette with veggies of choice.
Meal 2: steak with tomato, avocado and parmesan salad.
Meal 3: cauliflower & sweet potato curry soup.
The Paleo Diet is much more than just a means of shedding a few pounds. It focuses on promoting good health. Counting calories is NOT Paleo. The Paleo Diet encourages you to listen to your body, and eat when you’re hungry. Instead of the focus being on counting calories, it’s all about avoiding certain food groups to ensure that you’re eating nutrient dense foods. Like your ancestors, you want to eat whole foods, which are much better for your body than highly processed foods full of sugar and fat.
The one drawback with the Paleo Diet is that unlike other effective weight loss diet programs, exercise is not an integral part of the diet plan. Although you’re reverting back to a similar diet of our prehistoric ancestors, it discounts the fact that they wouldn’t have lived a sedentary lifestyle.
Now you have absorbed the information in this review of the Paleo Diet, it’s now time to take action. If you decide to give the Paleo Diet, stick to ancestral foods such as lean meats, fruits and veggies, and make sure to monitor your results.
Of course, combining healthy eating with regular exercise gives you the best of both worlds. Check out our Fitness Guides section for some ideas on how to take your workouts to a new level!
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