What is the Paleolithic Diet?

What is the Paleolithic Diet?

The Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet or the Neanderthin Diet, is more of a lifestyle than an actual diet.

One of the goals of the diet is, of course, fat loss — but the diet is so much more than that.

The premise of the Paleo Diet is to mimic your dietary intake after what our ancestors, the cavemen, would have eaten.

If you haven’t figured out by now, the diet gets it’s name from the Paleolithic Era. The Paleolithic Era began about 2 million years ago and lasted until approximately 12,000 years ago until the agricultural revolution.

Studies have shown that modern human DNA has changed just 0.05% from that of humans prior to the invention of agriculture. The proponents of the Paleo Diet claim that your body is not yet adapted to digest the products of agriculture and your diet should be geared toward what was eaten before agriculture was introduced for optimal health.

The Principles of the Paleo Diet

Since our bodies are not designed to digest products of farming, the paleo diet eliminates these right off the bat from your diet.

Foods that are elimated from a Paleolithic diet include:

  • Grains (Wheat, Corn, Oats, Barley, Rye, Rice)
  • Processed Sugar (Table Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Artificial Sweeteners)
  • Dairy (Milk, Cheese)
  • Legumes (Peanuts, Peas, Green Beans)
  • Tubers (Potatoes)

Because of the limitation on grains and processed sugar, many processed foods are out of the question — after all, cavemen didn’t eat pre-packaged sugary snacks and neither should you.

Dairy is limited because many people (rightfully so) lose the enzymes necessary to digest lactose after the age of 3 or 4 years old. Our bodies are not suited to be life-long milk drinkers. Have you ever heard of lactose intolerance? Milk allergies? Just because we can drink it, doesn’t mean we should.

Legumes are limited because of their high lectin content. Lectins are a low-grade toxin that plants and animals produce to keep from being eaten. Our bodies do a poor job at digesting lectins and they can bind to your intestinal wall causing leaky gut syndrom and leading to a myraid of autoimmune disorders. In addition to this, a large segment of the population is deathly allergic to the most notorious member of the legume family — the peanut.

Tubers are limited simply because cavemen wouldn’t have ingested very many (if any) in their daily lives. Potatoes and starchy tubers require cooking to eat — thus it would have been difficult for cavemen to prepare. They would likely pass on tubers and opt for easier means of acquiring foods.

The goal of the Paleo Diet is to eat as close to natural foods as you can get. Shop around the edges of your grocery store — the meat counter, the vegetable and fruit section.

If you must buy packaged food, opt for food with single ingredients, packaged without preservatives. Cavemen certainly didn’t ingest synthetic chemicals, dyes, or preservatives that are commonly added to today’s food and neither should you.

Categories: Diet, Health, Weight Loss