Understanding the Paleo Diet
There’s this popular diet that tells us to eat the way our ancestors did and we get the benefit of improved health and weight loss. However, it is not easily done with the limited food choices it recommends.
The Paleolithic Diet, otherwise called Caveman Diet, seeks to address the common health conditions that result from the modern, sedentary lifestyle. More and more people become obese or sick with diabetes or hypertension because of eating sugary, fatty and highly-processed foods. What is the solution? The proponents of this diet suggest cutting out these modern foods from the diet and eating foods that our early ancestors who hunt and gather their foods ate.
Professor Loren Cordain from the Colorado State University wrote The Paleo Diet book to give us an idea about this diet. Cordain says that a person who wants to stay healthy must exercise regularly and eat only foods that are hunted and gathered.
What is the Paleolithic Diet?
The Paleolithic Diet, strictly speaking, only allows foods that were available to the early man that lived on earth millions of years ago.
What Foods are allowed in the Paleo Diet?
Lean meat of cows, pigs and chicken that are organic, grass-fed or free-range
Game meat including quail, bison and venison
Up to six eggs per week
Fish and shellfish
Fruits like cantaloupe, figs, strawberries and mango
Non-starchy veggies like onions, pumpkin, asparagus and peppers
Seeds and nuts like cashews, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds
Flaxseed oil, walnut oil and olive oil in moderate amounts
What Foods are not allowed in the Paleo Diet?
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and butter
Cereals like wheat, rice, rye and barley
Beans, peanuts, peas and other legumes
Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and potatoes
Candy and anything sweet including honey and sugar
Fruit juices and soft drinks
Processed meats including bacon, hot dogs and deli meats
How Does the Paleo Diet Work?
The Paleo diet is effective in keeping a person healthy because it eliminates foods that are high in fat and highly processed. These types of food are high in calories but provide very little nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables are the focus of this diet to give the body lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. With high fiber foods, it helps you to feel full so that you don’t eat a lot.
Professor Lona Sandon, the American Dietetic Association spokeswoman said that this diet is effective in making you lose weight although it wasn’t really intended to be so. One reason is the restriction of whole food groups, resulting in the consumption of fewer calories. And when you burn more calories compared to what you consume, you will lose weight. Another reason is the fact that the Paleo diet consists more of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins; not high-sodium processed foods that are high in calories.
Although seeds and nuts can be included in this diet, they are considered high in calories, so weight watchers should limit their intake of this food group.
What is a Sample Paleo Diet Menu?
onion-spinach omelet plus liver pate
lettuce-wrapped tuna with almonds
Coconut milk ice cream
Is this Diet Good or Bad?
The Advantages of the Paleo Diet
Fruits and vegetables provide your body with the needed vitamins and minerals.
It’s a simple diet with no diet cycles and meal plans to follow. Just eat what is allowed and don’t eat what is not allowed.
Exercise is an important part of this healthy diet and contributes to keeping the pounds off.
The Disadvantages of the Paleo Diet
It’s not easy to maintain this hunter-gatherer diet for a long time. If you’re not used to eating foods that are cooked plainly, you might get bored easily.
This diet is more expensive considering the price of organically grown foods and grass-fed meat products.
Science does not support the notion that the Paleo diet keeps away disease.
The Effects of the Paleo Diet
Following the Paleolithic diet can help you lose weight fast if you strictly stick to it and you do your exercises regularly.
The effects of following the Paleo diet long-term are still not known because of a lack of such research study. But if you’re going to adopt this diet long term, you might not have enough calcium and some other nutrients because of avoiding dairy products and legumes. Be sure to eat more salmon and spinach to have adequate calcium that your body requires.
Photo credits: Paleo Diet by Warren Dew via Wikimedia Commons