In order to properly and thoroughly discuss a paleo diet (fully known as a Paleolithic diet), its nature, and any benefits that may be derived as well as any disadvantages that they come with, the question of “what is a paleo diet” must first and foremost be answered. What makes it different from any other diet? Before discussing why such a diet helps and how it works, it must first be defined.
First, consider the name that sets it aside from others. A Paleolithic (literally “old stone”) diet is called such because the core concept behind the diet is the Paleolithic era, or the Old Stone Age. Back in those days, humanity had fewer options when it came to food, with majority of the culinary arts of today not having existed in those times. The Paleolithic is most known for being the time where man knew of stone tool – making, but not agriculture; thus, most of the food consumed during that time was procured from hunting and gathering, in contrast with today’s farmed food. The diet named after this tumultuous and formative time has its structure based on what the Paleolithic men would have actually eaten, revolving mostly around protein from meat, assorted vegetables and fruits, and such.
The diet is characterized by several things. First, dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, and such are nonexistent – their source animals (be it cow, goat, buffalo, or anything) were not domesticated yet during the Paleolithic era and thus had no way of being properly acquired. Ditto for cereal grains, as there was no farming back then, and cereal grains require processing far too complicated than what existed back then could handle. Salt is not part of the diet either, as methods of salt acquisition were only developed some time after the Paleolithic. Some variants of the diet keep the food raw with the justification of fire’s nonexistence in the Paleolithic, but this is mainly a preferential issue.
Advocates use the basing of the diet upon what let humanity survive such a harsh and difficult time period as a rationale for why it is a good diet paradigm. The logic is that if the diet follows what people lived on during such a hard time to live in, it would also allow the human body to imbibe some of the strength that kept humans alive from that time. The advocates also support the diet’s effects with backing from nutritional analysis. The diet’s contents cuts many artificial chemicals from modern food away, as well as many processed food, preservative – packed produce, and similar things. As the food consumed in the paleo diet is more often than not unprocessed and natural, with minimal additions, there is less risk of free radical poisoning, carcinogen intake, and many of the other risks associated with heavily – treated food characteristic of the modern day. This is part of the diet’s appeal – it offers health along with the chance to experience a part of life from times immemorial.
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