What is the Paleo Diet?
Paleo is short for Paleolithic Era, which was approximately 2.5 million years ago, long before farming and agriculture. At this time people would only be able to obtain nutrition from their surroundings. It’s thought that our ancestors eventually became stronger and more athletic by consuming these foods.
The argument that enthusiasts put forward for this diet is that the human body is much the same today as it was in the Paleolithic Era, and as such hasn’t had enough time to adapt to our modern-day diet. It’s their belief that naturally we should still be eating the same sorts of foods as back then. Some purists would even go so far as to say that our more processed diet could explain modern-day diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
What can you eat on the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet, which is also sometimes referred to as the cave-man diet, involves foods such as plants and vegetables, proteins from grass fed animals, fish, nuts, eggs and a small amount of fruit. This is great as the diet is high in fibre, potassium, nutrients, omega 3 fatty acids and a low sodium intake.
What can’t you eat whilst on this diet?
Processed food of any kind is banned this diet – this includes bread, pulses, and any thing with refined sugars and dairy. A lot of people with dairy or gluten intolerance employ this diet in their lifestyle because it excludes all foods they are sensitive to.
Ok so far, but there are a few hidden truths regarding the Paleo diet that should be considered.
The first downside is that it is a very expensive diet to follow. Almost all your protein will be coming from grass-fed meat and fish. While most supermarkets have a fish counter these days, grass fed meat is still difficult to come by – and very pricy compared to comparable cuts of grain-fed meat.
The second downside is there are no specific measurements of calories. If you’re looking to reduce body fat it’s quite important to be able to easily assess how many calories you’re consuming in a day – so that you don’t accidentally over eat. With calorie rich foods like nuts on the menu, some paleo enthusiasts may find their waistlines expanding… Equally, if you drastically reduce your protein and fat intake in favour of plant-based foods, you could be under eating and starving your body.
The final downside is that it’s not always practical. The Paleo Diet is quite restrictive by modern standards – and can be almost impossible to follow if you’re eating out, or at someone’s house for dinner. While the intentions of the Paleo Diet are quite correct and healthy – if followed in it’s entirety it could leave you extradited with only the cave men for company!