If you haven’t heard about the “paleo diet,” you may have been living in a cave for the past quarter
century or so.
That’s about when the so-called paleolithic, or stone age eating plan first made its culinary debut.
Since its inception some twenty-five years ago, the paleo plan has helped tens of thousands of eaters
to lose weight, reduce belly fat and lead a generally healthier and happier life.
Is the paleo diet right for you?
Here’s what we found out about the controversial food plan that’s taking the dieting world by storm.
“Basically, the paleo diet features
foodstuffs that were readily available
prior to the advent of farming.
What is the paleo diet and where did it originate?
Alternately called the Stone Age diet, the hunter-gatherer diet, the Paleolithic diet or the caveman
diet, the paleo eating plan includes plentiful meats, fruits, veggies, fish, seeds and nuts.
The diet severely limits things such as grains, legumes and dairy foods.
Basically, the paleo diet features foodstuffs that were readily available prior to the advent of farming,
says Mayo Clinic.
When farming became a viable means to provide food for human tables, the staples of everyday
eating were altered in a very significant way.
Although relatively late in the chain of human evolutionary events, farming put into motion a
number of dietary changes, and not all of them have been helpful to human health.
In fact, many dietitians believe that today’s modern diet with its overabundance of refined
carbohydrates and “empty” calories has led directly to the obesity epidemic that’s evident today.
Modern unhealthy eating habits have also led directly to an increase in heart disease and diabetes.
What foods are forbidden on the paleo diet?
Practitioners of the paleo diet consume a variety of meats and fish, along with an assortment of
whole fruits, nuts and seeds.
Foods expressly forbidden on the paleo diet food list include dairy products like milk, butter,
yogurt and cheese.
Paleo eaters avoid peanuts, peas and other legumes as well as beans and lentils.
Potatoes and yams and other starchy vegetables are never included in a paleo menu plan.
Grains such as wheat, rice, barley and spelt are not allowed on the paleolithic diet, either.
Salt and refined sugar are generally not included in a daily paleo plan.
“Many dietitians believe that today’s
modern diet with its overabundance
of refined carbohydrates and “empty”
calories has led directly to the obesity
epidemic that’s evident today.”
What the experts say about the paleo diet
Experts stress the need for anyone following the paleo diet to consume a goodly amount of
fresh water every day.
Doing do provides healthy hydration to lubricate joints and ensure the proper working of
“A healthful paleo diet should
consist of around 60 to 70
percent vegetable foods.”
The paleo diet needn’t necessarily be expensive.
Granted, buying fresh fruits and lean meats can cost more than buying cheap, pre-packaged
foodstuffs, but you need to look at the big picture.
Eat well now, and you may spare yourself some massive medical bills at a later date.
Debunking the myths that surround the paleo diet
Myth: Prehistoric cave people ate mostly meat.
This is probably not true.
At least there is no evidence to prove that prehistoric peoples ate a preponderance of meat products.
Our human digestive tracts are long, suggesting that humans were designed to consume hard to digest
In addition, our teeth are made more for pulverizing vegetables than for tearing meat as a typical carnivore.
Myth: Prehistoric people did not eat vegetables.
Again, there is no proof to show that this was indeed the case.
Examination of fossilized tooth plaque does, however, indicate that ancient humans were quite fond
of eating grains and tubers.
Some long-ago ancestors may have eaten bark and twigs, too, according to Breaking Muscle magazine.
Myth: Paleo eaters don’t get enough calcium and other nutrients.
As a matter of fact, people who follow the paleo diet tend to get plenty of calcium.
They just don’t get it from dairy products.
Leafy greens and canned tuna, sardines or salmon deliver a dose of calcium and other micro-nutrients.
Vitamin D, which is imperative to bone growth and other bodily functions, can be obtained by sitting
in sunshine for at least fifteen minutes per day.
This method of getting vitamin D also aids the body in the absorption of calcium.
Cholesterol levels may be kept in check by limiting egg consumption to no more than three per day.
Myth: The paleo diet is only about the protein.
This may be one of the biggest misconceptions about the paleo diet.
Although the plan does indeed feature a good deal of meat and fish, it is not as protein intensive
as some people think.
In fact, a healthful paleo diet should consist of around 60 to 70 percent vegetable foods.
If you wish to try the paleo diet for yourself, be sure to speak with a nutritionist for savvy advice
about how to do it the right way.
About the Author
Anna Khan takes an interest in food, nutrients, diets and exactly how much meat/wine/salt the experts think she should be having. She writes about her own insights, as well as the viewpoints and findings of others in her food and health related articles.
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