What is the Paleo Diet?
For 2.5 million years, early man foraged and hunted for seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and seeds. This period of time before the development of agriculture is known as the Paleolithic era. The Paleo diet is also known as the Stone Age diet, hunter- gathering diet and the caveman diet. No matter what you call our ancestors, somethings haven’t changed. Man’s digestive systems have evolved only the slightest amount in the 10,000 years since farming changed our diets. Shortened to Paleo, the modern diet is an approach to nutrition that mimics the early man’s diet for ultimate health.
Our minds are modern, but our bodies and brains still need the same food. Gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin first popularized the Paleo diet in the 1970’s. He argued in, “The Stone Age Diet,” humans as carnivores, chiefly needs fats, proteins and a small amount of carbohydrates for optimum performance. For the last 30 years, obesity has been increasing in the United States. Our modern diets are laden with preservatives, processed sugars, and fried foods. Today’s health crisis has led to a renewed interest in Voegtlin’s tested approach to healthy living.
The question I hear the most is around recipes and what you should eat. This guide will help you with the details, but here is a great Paleo Cookbook full of delicious recipes.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
The advantages of the Paleo Diet have been researched and proven in numerous academic journals. It is amazing how changing what we put in our mouths can cause dramatic changes in our quality of life.
- Lose fat- Though the Paleo diet is designed as a weight loss plan people inherently lose weight. The foods that make up the Paleo diet are what we call fat burning foods. In fact, the Paleo diet allows you to eat large quantities of delicious food while restricting calories. The result is a lean, fit body.
- Fight Disease- The Paleo diet is proven to help prevent diabetes, Parkinson’s avoid Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease and
- Improve Digestion- Many digestive problems such as, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and indigestion can be
- Combats Acne– Eating the Paleo way means avoiding the foods that cause acne. When sebum is overproduced or obstructed the sebaceous glands enlarge and form pimples. Foods in the Paleo diet do not cause the insulin spikes that cause a sebum boost. As a result, you can expect smoother, more attractive
- Feel Good- Not only does the Paleo diet help people healthier and look younger it also makes you feel better. Paleo supporters swear by the
caveman lifestyle because it just “feels” right. The only way to find out the energy and confidence they experience is to try it for yourself.
People assume the Paleo Diet is complicated are difficult to follow. It is actually quite simple. Eat real foods. Even when you go out there are plenty of great Paleo fast food options available. For a guideline on portions, 56–65% of your calories should come from animals, 36–45% from plant based foods. Keep proteins high at 19-35% carbohydrates at 22-40% and fat at 28-58%.
Paleo Diet Meal Plan
Eating a Paleo Diet is more about experimenting than limitations. Mother Nature provides a large variety of delicious foods to explore. Instead of settling for a box of processed macaroni and cheese, feast on a meal that excites your taste buds and your energy level. Here is a small list of the many foods to incorporate into your diet.
Paleo Food List
Foods to Eliminate
The main foods to eliminate are processed foods, the largest source of toxicity and malnutrition. Processed foods are the easiest items to eat these days, and we eat entirely too much. Grains that form the base of sandwich breads, cereals and pasta have no place in the Paleo Diet. Also, the processed fats and vegetable seed oils are also counterproductive to our health. Legumes, especially soy, and vegetable seed oils should be banished from your diet. There are no refined sugars little dairy and absolutely no processed foods in the Paleo plan.
Tips for the Paleo Lifestyle
Unfortunately, the cheapest and quickest foods available today are usually the least nutritious. Our busy lifestyles have our kids raised on a diet of processed and fast foods. The popular culture even makes eating real foods an odd concept. Even knowing the proven benefits, some never try the Paleo diet because they believe it is too difficult.
Living a long, healthy fulfilling life is well worth a few small changes. While not as easy as stopping at a drive through, maintaining a Paleo lifestyle is realistic with a few tips.
- Stay Organized- The number one tip is to be organized and prepared. The biggest challenge will be to have Paleo foods available at your home and plan your You are much more likely to eat healthy food choices if it is readily available at home.
- Change How You Shop- Find the best farmers markets, butchers and grocery stores in your area. Before going to the grocery have a list of items you plan to pick up. Also, shop the perimeter of grocery stores to avoid the aisles filled with processed foods. This may be difficult at first, but after a month or so you will know longer feel a need to peruse the sugar
- Clean Your Pantry- Clear your cupboards of all the cereals, pasta, and processed foods in your cabinets. Don’t worry. You will replace these foods with much more satisfying fresh and healthy paleo snacks.
- Learn to Work the Kitchen- Unlike a diet based on grains, there are many foods to eat on the Paleo Diet you should never become bored. The best way to take advantage of everything nature has to offer is to learn how to cook. By combining the diverse flavors, there is an endless amount of tasty dishes to excite your taste buds.
- Dress Your Food- Most of the condiments on the store shelves are filled with preservatives. However, you can enhance the flavor of your foods by making your own condiments at home. Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings and sauces can be made at home naturally with delicious
- Exercise- Just changing your eating habits will cause you to lose weight naturally on the Paleo Diet. Add exercise to the mix, and you will be amazed at how quickly you notice a difference. Your true, toned physique will come out as pounds shed. You will also notice the amount of energy increased compared to when you ate a traditional diet. Start feeling strong, energetic, mentally sharper and all around younger.
- Join Support System- Find chat rooms and forums where like-minded people meet. Participate at a gym where the Paleo Diet is the main lifestyle choice. It is nice to share ideas on the best Paleo books, and even give advice on keeping true to the diet plan. Joining a community online or in person is extremely motivating when you learn about how the other member’s lives improved just from staying true to the Paleo way.
Paleo Friendly Desserts
One of the biggest stumbling blocks with the Paleo Diet plan is desserts. Most desserts have unnatural sweeteners and starchy carbs that spike insulin levels. Most sweet treats are a recipe for disaster. However, with kids, special celebrations and Birthdays sometimes a sweet treat is in order. There are some very tasty Paleo desserts that can help you transition fully into the Paleo lifestyle without indulging in bad choices or having a gluten stomachache. While it is not a good idea to eat desserts after every meal, Paleo friendly desserts can stop hardcore cravings from your pre-Paleo days.
Here is a list of whole food substitutions you can use to whip delicious Paleo friendly desserts together.
- Almond flour- Grinding almonds create nutritious, high protein flour perfect for making muffins breads and of course, traditional
- Raw Honey– Because honey can be eaten straight from the tree, it is considered a true Paleo sweetener. Though it is a whole food, honey is highly caloric and does spike the insulin level, so leave sparingly. However, honey is the perfect sugar substitute.
- Cocoa- Unsweetened dark chocolate has nutritious antioxidants and sticks to the limited dairy rules. Opt for the natural cocoa over the Dutch processed version that loses its benefits during processing.
- Pure Vanilla Extract– Pure vanilla extract is a staple in any bakers cupboard. Just make sure to buy the pure stuff not the cheap
- Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, which means it transfers directly to the liver where it is used for energy instead of being stored directly as fat. It also stimulates the thyroid gland helping speed up metabolism. Coconut oil adds a subtle sweetness to cobblers pancakes and other baked recipes.
- Coconut Milk- A great dairy substitute, coconut milk contains lauric acid. Lauric acid is proven to fight influenza, herpes, HIV as well as improve the immune system. Use coconut oil to make ice cream, hot cocoa, pudding, and even egg nog.
- Nuts– Nuts are loaded with good fats the bodies need. Hazelnuts, pecans, macademians and almonds are lifesavers in the kitchen. Use nuts for pie crusts, candies or even as simple spiced nut blend.
- Frozen Fruit- Freeze berries to make easy desserts. Use them to make rich frothy smoothies or sorbet. Frozen grapes and cherries taste delicious straight from the freezer. Try frozen bananas on a stick or blended down for a creamy ice cream experience.
- Dates- Dates are natural sweeteners that do not add its own flavor like honey. They contain simple sugars like dextrose and fructose that are easy to digest and replenish your energy. Blend dates in the food processor with wet ingredients when baking. They also work well for binding snack
The Paleo Diet is proven to shed pounds and have a healthier life. Add exercise to the mix and you can achieve the lean, sexy bodies seen on fitness models. Despite popular belief, the Paleo lifestyle is not restrictive and can actually open your palette to a whole new world of culinary experiences. There are a variety of high quality cookbooks and website that will help you along the way. Once you experience the transformation you will wonder how you ever functioned. Get the most of your life and enjoy optimum fitness with the Paleo diet plan.