What is the Paleo Diet?

April 14th, 2014

The Paleo diet (the Paleolithic diet) can simply be explained as a special dietary lifestyle that focuses only on eating natural food (fish, meat, poultry, fruits, and vegetables). This natural food, however, must be only partially processed, or not processed at all.

Although the Paleo diet’s dietary menu is quite old, the Paleo diet itself is the most recent diet to hit the world of fitness. The Paleo diet reached its worldwide popularity thanks to Paleo diet related books like The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf. These books made the Paleo diet widely known and practiced.

The Paleo diet’s basic principles are quite simple. Paleolithic Diet Theory presents a fully integrated, holistic, comprehensive dietary theory combining the best features of all other dietary theories, eliminating the worst features and simplifying it all.

Studies have shown that our bodies are optimized to consume quite different food from what we are now eating. Our bodies are best suited for our ancient ancestors' menus - natural food that can be eaten raw. Although the Paleo diet has many different, yet creative names, it's basically a low-carb, high-protein, and high-fiber diet. This is one very few diets that allow you to eat properly without cutting calories. Also, because this is a high-fiber diet, meals guarantee the feeling of fullness, which means that you won't be experiencing hunger pangs.

paleo

 What you can eat on the Paleo Diet

Aside from meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables, the Paleo diet also includes eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils (like olive and coconut). The Paleo diet forbids grains, dairy, salt, legumes, potatoes, refined sugars, and refined vegetable oils. It's carnivore-friendly, but it is the cut on the grains and dairy that makes it difficult to follow for so many people. Have in mind that giving up on dairy products can cause health issues, as the human body is left without an important natural source of calcium. To avoid these issues, food supplements should be considered, especially Calcium and Vitamin D. Considering the fact that nuts, although rich in essential fatty acids and proteins, are real calorie bombs. You should get familiar with their nutritional facts prior to including them in your dietary plan. Check out a comprehensive infographic on nuts that should help you in doing so.

Because the Paleo diet comes with some serious renunciations, Loren Cordain says cheating is allowed, especially in the beginning. Cordain says beginners are allowed to eat whatever they want three meals a week, referring to these meals as "open meals."

Although the Paleo diet emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables -- and is therefore suitable for vegetarians and vegans -- Cordain says that it is practically impossible to follow a Paleo diet without eating fish, meat, seafood, and eggs.

Unlike our ancient ancestors, we have to buy most of our food (unless we are growing certain food for ourselves), and that is a flaw of the Paleo diet - high meat and fish prices. If we manage to put this "little" fact aside, the variety of recipes that follow Paleo diets is really huge, so the one thing you will never have to worry about is what meal you'll be preparing that day.

FOODS TO EAT

FOODS TO AVOID

Lean meat

Processed Foods and Sugars

Fruit

Dairy

Vegetables

Grains

Nuts and Seeds

Starches

Sea Food

Legumes

Good Fats

Alcohol

 

Healthier than Most Diets

Whatever else is said about the Paleo diet, it is your ticket to a healthier lifestyle. You'll be eating only food that your body is optimized for, and at the same time you'll be avoiding lots of food your body is not ideally suited for, all of that without feeling hungry all the time. It’s worth noting that there are no proven health benefits (like weight loss benefits, or cardiovascular benefits). If your goals are losing excess weight, and/or weight maintenance, exercise is a must. Have in mind that our ancient ancestors were always on the move, hunting and gathering their food. Their Paleolithic diet wasn't the only factor that made them fit, agile, and muscular.

As for the Paleo diet itself, it is something you can do on your own, thanks to a large number of articles, recipes and many other resources available worldwide.

About the author:
Goran Bogunovich's fitness career started some fifteen years ago. Since then he has been learning and testing knowledge on himself. His experience in fitness, strength training, nutrition and supplementation will benefit the fitwithus.com community.

muscle building, nutrition and health, Tips and Tricks

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