Paleo diet is designed to mimic our ancestors back in the day that were hunter-gatherers thousands of years ago.
This diet is ideal for the physically active and ideal for the person that doesn’t want to give up eating meat and likes simple dieting or easy recipes. Another bonus to eating paleo is that you don’t need to measure your macros or count calories. It’s loaded with high quality natural whole foods and generally you can eat as much vegetables as you please.
Paleo is suggested to reduce obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes, which are modern health conditions that did not exist when humans first started to roam the planet. It started appearing recently closer to the industrial age when people didn’t have to travel as far and food was more readily available which kickstarted the sedentary lifestyle that we have all grown up with.
The reason why the paleo diet is considered good for you is because:
1. You are eliminating all the processed and high fat/sugar foods from your diet.
2. You are focused on eating calorie dense nutrient rich meats and vegetables
3. You need to eat less to stay more full by avoiding foods that are loaded in empty calories.
Food becomes really simple when you cut out all the additives, preservatives, and processed ingredients. Meals had to be simple back in the day because they had limited equipment and most of the day was spent travelling so there wasn’t as much time to develop more tools or spend time farming.
With that in mind, these are some guidelines to how eating a Paleolithic diet in modern day would be like.
The basic idea to eating Paleo is anything that doesn’t require a machine to process or any man-made items such as artificial sweeteners or certain oils.
No processed foods
No tools & no time = no processing
No refined sugar
Requires processing in order to extract the sugar from plants
Most dairy products are processed (think yogurt, cheese, etc)
These were not grown back then so they did not have that much access to it
Also not grown as produce back then
So what does that mean for you? It means that anything that can walk, talk, swim, and naturally occurs are good to go such as:
Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oils.
The Ideal Protein:
Grass fed / Organic meat (Animals were NOT farmed back in that era!)
The Ideal Fats:
Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc (you name it!)
The Ideal Carbs (honestly- any fruit or vegetable that is grown):
The key to a successful paleo diet is balance. If you eat nothing but 2 steaks and a whole chicken with zero exercise that is not going fly. Our ancestors did not eat that much protein in one sitting, because hunting your own dinner is not an easy feat. Most likely, in the scenario that someone did take down an animal for dinner- it is likely they are going to have to portion and share with their group.
The idea is to have the plate filled mostly with the “gathered” goodies such as the vegetables, nuts, and oils and only have a small portion of the “hunted” products.
Exercising is also going to be key, as the hunter-gatherer group travels across the land day and night to find new and more food. They did not have the luxury to sit on a rock and sunbathe all day or play on their tablet (GET IT?)
I hope this has opened you up to another avenue that you can try in your fitness journey. There is no one size fits all and being able to try to find the thing that works best for you and able to maintain consistency is going to be key in your success.