Following the diet of our hunter and gather ancestors during the Paleolithic Era until 10,000 years ago, you can improve your diet, detox your body and lose weight. Here are specifics of this popular diet, including pros and cons, to help you see if you should be eating what your ancestors did!
- A healthy diet that is full of nutrients comes in the form of whole, organic foods – which many of the foods sold in grocery stores are not.
- Before our ancestors began to farm, from 2 million to 10,000 years ago, they foraged all their food and ate whatever they had the means to spear, capture and cook.
- A book launched the craze. The New Evolution Diet was written by Art De Vany, and its teachings about diet and fitness were then popularized by Rob Wolf, who was formerly vegan and, although thin, couldn’t lift his own weight. Now that he has switched to a Paleo diet, he promotes it as a way of eating that enables people to be healthy and strong.
- The Paleo diet, otherwise known as the caveman diet and Stone Age diet, consists of anything that was found two million years ago – meat, seafood, berries, nuts, seeds, water and vegetables.
- Off-limits items on the Paleo diet include anything processed like bread, crackers, chips, and cookies; pastries like cake; foods that contain salt; whole grains; and all dairy.
- Great protein sources you can eat on a Paleo diet include seafood, beef, bison, deer, moose, rabbit, chicken, wild turkey, salmon, cod, shrimp, tilapia, halibut, tuna and eggs.
- Vegetables are allowed as well – lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.
- Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, avocado, oranges, kiwi, grapes, coconut, mango, lime and lemons are allowed
- A lot of flavor in Paleo recipes comes from seeds, mushrooms, nuts, spices and herbs.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Paleo Diet:
- Pro – The Paleo diet doesn’t allow for any added sugar, sodium or dairy, but those restrictions allow for successful weight loss once you get used to (and stick with) the plan.
- Con – Studies show difficulty in beginners to get rid of sugar, dairy and fatty meats going “cold turkey” – a very appropriate term, in this case!
- Con – Athletes burn off more energy than our ancestors did. Scientists doubt that the Paleo diet can fulfill an active person’s nutritional requirements.
- Pro – Eating whole foods will be released slowly in your blood stream, which gives you steady energy throughout your day.
- Con – Buying free-range eggs, grass-fed chicken and organic fruits and vegetables can cost twice as much as other foods; therefore, the diet can get quite expensive over time.
- Pro – A Paleo diet is full of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, which will allow you to feel full for a longer period of time. It aids in digestion and helps you to lose weight more quickly than your regular diet ever could.
- Con – Unprocessed foods such as whole foods aren’t always available when you need them. Processed foods are cheaper and more convenient to purchase and prepare than fresh vegetables and raw meats.
- Con – You need calcium for strong bones, and a caveman diet doesn’t allow you to have dairy, a common calcium-rich dietary staples. The diet can be often too restricting for an active lifestyle/overall health.
The Bottom Line . . .
The Paleo Diet can give you a healthy start to your healthy lifestyle. Foods it includes are full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will help you feel better long-term. As with any diet, it requires patience to adapt to the new food options, and there will be a learning curve in making it work best for your lifestyle in a way that you can sustain.