Diet fads come and go, but one which has been around for centuries is the paleo diet. The name paleo comes from “Paleolithic” and reflects the fact that the diet encourages us to eat foods which our ancestors would have eaten, long before modern hunting or farming methods affected the food chain.
It is not always easy to know for sure if a food is compatible with the paleo diet; after all, not everyone can be a history expert, with an understanding of what ingredients pre-dated the introduction of agriculture 10,000 years ago! There are a few easy steps you can follow while getting started to help you stick to your paleo diet; for example, try to only buy your fruits and vegetables from organic shops. This is the best way to ensure that you cut out those damaging, modern pesticides and fertilizers.
Read more about the benefits and dos and don’ts of following a paleo diet, and then visit Paleo Grubs to get some recipe inspiration for your next meal.
Why Go Paleo?
There are lots of health benefits to the paleo diet. Some of the changes will help people at risk of developing certain conditions; others will help those already diagnosed with conditions such as heat or gluten allergies feel better straight away. As with any major dietary change, if you have a serious medical condition you should check with your family doctor first as to whether they have any concerns.
The paleo diet cuts out certain foods immediately, including refined sugar, wheat, and foods which are full of empty calories. On the other hand, it will dramatically increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and healthy fats, such as the omega-3 oils found in many fish.
While many people choose the paleo diet to improve their general health and well-being, it can be used to help you lose weight. The healthy fat content, combined with large portions of fruit and vegetables, keep you feeling fuller for longer, cutting down on cravings for unhealthy snacks between meals. Unlike a lot of calorie-controlled weight loss diets, there’s no tiresome counting or weighing needed. You can simply cook and enjoy the food you want to eat.
Not only can the paleo diet help you lose weight, but it can also help you to feel better. High in antioxidants, which can help prevent a number of diseases including heart disease and certain types of cancer, and low in chemical additives, which can interfere with our natural sleep patterns, adopting a paleo diet will leave you feeling naturally healthier and more energetic.
Switching to paleo will start a natural detox process, cutting out processed foods, junk foods, and all those chemical ingredients which are found in many modern foodstuffs. Getting back to basics means a diet that flushes all those toxins out of your system, leaving you eating nothing but natural ingredients and meals.
Dos and Don’ts for Paleo Diets
In the beginning, it can be difficult to get a handle on which foods are allowed on a paleo diet and which are forbidden. You will soon find it easy to get the recipe perfected for a few favorite family meals, after visiting a site like paleogrubsbookreview.org, and then you can start to add new ingredients as you become more adventurous and more settled in your paleo lifestyle.
Meat was a staple of the caveman diet, and chicken, beef, lamb, pork and turkey are all a staple of the paleo diet too. Eggs are also a major part of paleo cooking, though as with fruit and vegetables you should go for the cage-free and organic options where available. Fish is a welcome alternative to meat for the paleo chef, especially mackerel and salmon which are high in omega-3 healthy fats.
Cavemen would have feasted on wild vegetables to subsidize their diet, and the modern paleo family should make use of the long list of vegetables allowed on the diet — everything from asparagus, parsnips, and sprouts to beets, carrots and cauliflower. Most fruits are allowed on the paleo diet, including 21st-century “superfoods” like cranberries, guava, and pomegranates, as well as the more common family favorites apples, peaches and bananas.
You can add nuts and seeds to your paleo diet as a handy snack or to increase the flavor of home-cooked meals. One of the highlights of a paleo diet for weight loss is that you can continue eating butter. Most calorie-controlled diets immediately tell you to ditch the delicious spread and cooking ingredient, but as it pre-dates agriculture, it’s allowed under paleo rules.
Figuring out what foods to avoid just needs a bit of common sense — no processed foods, junk food (even burgers!) or anything with chemical additives like fizzy drinks. There are a few peculiarities, however, that lots of people expect would be allowed on a paleo diet, yet aren’t. Dairy foods, for example, are forbidden on the paleo diet as Paleolithic man did not drink milk or have the ability to make other dairy products like yogurt and cheese until basic agricultural techniques were introduced. Potatoes are another no-go food that many paleo beginners are surprised to learn they must avoid. They do not grow in the wild and take more farming than you might expect to develop and harvest.
It may take a little time to get used to the dos and don’ts of a paleo diet, but it is worth persisting and getting it right, as the benefits to your health will be enormous.