What is the ‘Paleo’ Diet?
Now, I am not an advocate of ‘diets’. In fact I am completely against them. However here is an interesting insight into the famous, or infamous, ‘Paleo’ diet.
The paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet, is currently very popular. The diet revolves around one question…..What would a caveman eat? The below article will help explain a bit more about this new old diet, and help you decide if you want to take the plunge.
So the idea behind paleo is that you consume foods that only the hunter gatherers would have eaten. So this would be fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. These nutritional guidelines place more emphasis on the evolution of our diet, and therefore can lead to greater health and well being. The lack of process foods is also great for the body. The paleo diet tends to have a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
The paleo diet is all about eating foods straight from the Earth just as our ancestors did. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat (with grass-fed and organic varieties whenever possible to limit exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals that didn’t exist back then).
One of the main points of the paleo diet is that anything that comes in a box, jar, or bag is to be avoided. Basically anything that wasn’t eaten back then. So no grains, dairy, added salt, or legumes (including peanuts, beans, lentils, and soybeans). Alcohol is generally considered a no go on the diet, as is honey. However, red wine is considered to be the nearest to a paleo drink, and honey is preferred over sugar every time.
It’s not just about the food. Exercise is required to maintain a true paleo diet. Cavemen and women would regularly burn up to 4000 calories per day in their active lifestyles. Most hardcore gym go-ers won’t burn this many per day. Make sure you exercise as well as stick to the diet to benefit from the full effects of the diet.
Paleo can be very, very tough. The planning, mental preparation and sacrifice to effectively sustain this diet is extreme. If you were to eat out one evening, and ordered a chicken salad, you would have to consider the oil the chicken is cooked in, what dressing has been used, is the salad processed or fresh. As with every diet it is just not sustainable long term. Weight loss is far from the sole purpose of eating paleo, going on and off of the diet can lead to big weight swings. Any yo-yo diet starts in weight loss from both muscle and fat, and usually ends with weight gain of all fat, which contributes to a slower metabolism and increased insulin resistance.
So in summary, the paleo diet isn’t much more than a ‘fad’ in my opinion. If you want to experiment for a short period of time then by all means do so. I did and didn’t enjoy it one bit. My advice is to stick to a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet where you can enjoy your food. Combine this with regular exercise and you’ll be winning!!