The paleo diet (its full name – Paleolithic Diet) is a diet trend that mimics the food believed to have been predominantly eaten by people from the Paleolithic era.
This diet is sometimes also referred as the caveman diet, the Stone Age diet and the hunter-gatherer diet. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the fitness craze CrossFit embracing it as their diet of choice and with celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox, Steve Nash and Matthew McConaughey ravings of the diets merits.
But just what is the paleo diet plan? Read on to find out what it is and how you can do it:
Paleo Diet Basics
The paleo diet was initially popularized in the 1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin who based his diet on the evolutionary concept that humans have not evolved significantly since the Paleolithic era biologically or physiologically and therefore our diet shouldn’t have changed substantially either.
He argued that the healthiest diet is one that mimics what the people of the Paleolithic era would have eaten, which would have mainly involved meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and other wild plants. In turn, he argued that to properly take part in this diet all processed foods must be eliminated as well as several other foods which include sugars, potatoes, legumes, grains and dairy products.
The overall Paleo diet health principles behind this diet is that Voegtlin and modern supporters of this diet believe that the Paleolithic people lived relatively disease free and that therefore modern paleo dieters will reduce their chances of developing various modern day illnesses – including type 2 diabetes.
Other alleged paleo diet benefits include:
- Feeling fuller for longer periods after and in between meals
- A decrease in unhealthy levels of body fat
- Healthier digestive system, more regular bowel movements
- Less bloat
- Reduced risk of high blood pressure
- Reduced risk of stroke and coronary disease
How to Do the Paleo Diet
According to the official paleo diet website, the paleo diet foods list includes:
- Grass-fed meats
- Fish and seafood
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful Oils (olive, walnut, macadamia, flaxseed, avocado, coconut)
But you are advised to cut out the following foods from your diet entirely:
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
A sample of a daily paleo diet meal plan could include:
Breakfast – Bowl of fresh berries with coconut milk
Lunch – Tuna salad wrapped in lettuce with almonds
Snack – 2 hard boiled eggs
Dinner – Citrus roast chicken with grilled vegetables
Is the Paleo Diet Safe?
Now that you know the paleo diet rules, you may find yourself asking a very valid question – is the paleo diet safe? The paleo diet menu obviously eliminates several food groups which many traditional dieticians believe are essential for a healthy diet.
While there isn’t any substantial evidence to suggest that a paleo meal plan is bad for you, there is some debate over just how good it is for you. Cutting out processed foods and sugars could lead to weight loss, but missing out on important foods such as cereal grains and legumes could lead to you missing important nutrients and vitamins. Paleo diet foods are somewhat limited.
Within the dietician and general health world there is much debate over just how healthy the paleo diet is. Results are inconclusive but as this is a fairly radical diet, definitely consult your doctor before embarking on the Paleolithic diet.