What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleolithic or Paleo diet is a way of eating that people into health, fitness, or those who want to shed some extra pounds frequently adopt. Since the Paleo diet is meant to resemble that of people long ago, it is largely comprised of meat with smaller amounts of vegetables and fruits.
Touted benefits of eating a protein heavy, whole food diet include healthy weight loss, less chance of falling ill, and increased strength and overall fitness for athletes.
The Origin Of The Paleo Diet
Walter Voegtlin first introduced the idea of the Paleo diet in 1975 as the “Stone Age diet”. This way of eating focuses on mimicking the presumed diet of primitive humans before agriculture and processed foods became wildly available.
The Paleo diet did not become largely popular until the 21st century, thanks to an ever-expanding following on internet blogs, forums, and social media websites.
Which Foods Does The Paleo Diet Exclude?
There are several types of food that are not Paleo-friendly. These include almost any food that is only accessible due to grocery stores or modern farming.
In most cases, the Paleo diet forbids dairy products. Dairy includes milk, cream, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese.
However, some Paleo diet advocates believe that a small splash of cream in your coffee is okay once in a while.
Vegetables that are high in starch such as potatoes are not part of a Paleo-friendly diet. Some proponents of Paleo believe that this includes sweet potatoes, while others believe this less starchy potato is a healthier version.
Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are too starchy to be included in the Paleo diet. Black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are off the list.
The only exception are green beans, which are Paleo-friendly for their low phytic acid content.
No type of grain is a part of the Paleo diet. Grains include wheat, rye, millet, buckwheat, oats, barley, corn, and rice. This excludes bread, pasta, and any other food that lists a grain as one of its ingredients.
Processed Foods And Sugar
If a food is processed, it is not Paleo-friendly. Paleo excludes everything that is not a whole food or not made with whole foods as its only ingredients.
Processed foods include all types of baked goods, deli meats, hotdogs, milk chocolate, candies, crackers, cereal, and margarine.
Anything with sugar is also off the menu, with the exception of natural sugars such as those found in berries and fruits.
Which Foods Should You Eat?
Most whole, unprocessed foods are permitted in the Paleolithic diet. Paleo-friendly foods consist of meat, fish, mushrooms, nuts, vegetables, eggs, healthy oils, and fruits.
Meat comprises the base of the Paleo diet. This includes grass-fed beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, and bacon that does not include sugar or other artificial additives. Game meat of any kind is also permitted, including moose, venison, elk, rabbit, and bear.
Freshwater fish and seafood are also a part of the Paleo diet, especially when caught in the wild rather than farmed
Most vegetables are Paleo-friendly. This long list includes lettuce, spinach, bok choy, arugula, peppers, kale, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, garlic, onions, cucumbers, carrots, squash, and beets.
If you follow the Paleo diet and have a sweet tooth, you are in luck. All sorts of fruits and berries are included in the Paleo diet, such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, lychees, kiwis, all citrus fruits, apples, peaches, bananas, watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupes.
Nuts serve as a plant-based source of protein that the Paleo diet includes. Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and Macadamia nuts are on the list.
Contrary to their name, peanuts are actually legumes and so are not Paleo-friendly.
The Paleolithic diet offers those who follow it the opportunity to eat a natural diet that their ancestors also consumed years ago. If you want to lose weight, get fitter, or simply eat healthier, the Paleo diet could be for you. If you are ever unsure of what food may or may not be healthy for you, consult a dietician or your doctor.