Paleo – The Paleo Diet – The Caveman Diet – What?
Not long ago, I had no idea what Paleo referred to! Do you?
If asked, I would have said, “something having to do with cavemen?” And, as it turns out, I would have guessed right!
The Paleo diet is sometimes referred to as the caveman diet. It comes from paleolithic or stone age era and is also called the Stone Age or hunter-gatherer diet. The theory behind the diet is to eat what our ancestors ate, before civilization brought such diseases as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, acne, gout and others.
FOODS ALLOWED ON THE PALEO DIET
Since the idea is to avoid diseases brought on by modern eating habits, the allowed foods concentrate on what the cavemen would have caught or gathered and eaten.
- Fresh meats – Meats should be from grass fed or free range animals
- Seafood – wild caught or fed a diet that wild fish would eat
- Fresh fruits – eaten in moderation
- Vegetables – some paleo followers will only eat vegetables that can be eaten raw. They do not have to be eaten raw but must be able to be. Potatoes therefore, would not be eaten.
- Nuts and Seeds – peanuts and legumes are not allowed
- Healthy oils – olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed – oils from allowed plants are acceptable
FOODS NOT ALLOWED ON THE PALEO DIET
Since many of our commonly accepted foods of today are processed, they are not allowed on the Paleo diet. Remember hunter-gatherer – any foods that could be hunted, killed and eaten or gathered.
- Refined sugars – Sugar has many names, such as, corn sweetener, corn syrup, cane sugar, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, just to name a few. Some Paleo followers will allow honey as a treat.
- Dairy products
- Processed foods
BENEFITS OF THE PALEO DIET
1. The Paleo diet can help reduce weight. It is a low carbohydrate diet. For many, going low carb means weight loss, especially if you have a diet filled with processed food. Paleo eating may not result in weight loss if you already eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables.
2. The Paleo diet can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. One reason could be the change from a processed diet to one that is low carb resulting in weight loss. If you lose weight, your cholesterol and blood sugar levels normally decrease.
3. Health benefits have been shown to occur as a result of the Paleo diet. Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet have been documented. Research has shown that a return to eating a more traditional diet such as the Paleo is beneficial In a study of nine, non-obese sedentary volunteers who were on a Paleo diet for 10 days the following conclusion was published:
Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.
WHY I DON’T FOLLOW THE PALEO DIET
The Paleo diet is a traditional foods diet and those following it eliminate processed and refined foods from their diet. One concern I have about the Paleo diet is that it cuts out whole food groups – grains (even if sprouted or soaked) and dairy (although, some followers will use sparingly, raw or fermented dairy products).
I have been on the GAPS diet for over a year now which is a very restrictive diet. But, the GAPS diet is meant to be for a period of time to allow for healing of the gut – not a long term diet. Honestly, I am looking forward to eating properly prepared grains again.
I am sure others have and do benefit from the Paleo diet. But, I wonder if a traditional diet filled with healthy fats, grass fed meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables and properly prepared grains would also yield significant health benefits for many individuals. I myself enjoy many of the recipes I have found specifically for the Paleo diet. But, as a lifestyle and long term way of eating, I prefer a less restrictive diet.
If you are a Paleo follower, I would love to hear your experience – Why you chose to follow the Paleo diet? Do you miss grains and dairy products? Leave a comment!
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