The "Paleo" diet, as in Paleolithic, is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for people who want to eat better and feel better. The popular nickname for the diet has become the "Caveman diet" as that is what Paleolithic refers to.
Hardcore Paleo eaters are often upset by the fact that it is called a diet. It is not a diet so much as it is a lifestyle change. The paleo diet boast no "lose 30 pound in 30 days" slogan, it is just a way to change you eating habits to live a healthier more energized life.
The idea is to get back to eating like our primal ancestors. By no means do paleolithic eaters romanticize the caveman lifestyle and want to live their lives in cold damp caves painting pictures on the wall. If you have not noticed, the overall health of humanity has been on a downward slope since the beginning of civilization as we know it.
We have managed to outlive our caveman ancestors, yes, but we have also became pudgy butterballs as well. Advances in housing, food preparation, and healthcare have made us live extraordinarily long, but our diet is making up extraordinarily fat.
A basic diet is a healthy one. This Paleo diet does not brag that eating it will make you slim and ripped like a caveman, but it will help boost your energy.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
Interested now that you know you won't have to live in a cave and pick dirt clumps from your hair? The Paleo diet goes back to the time when humans were still a nomadic people, before they settled down into cities and relied on agriculture to provide them with food. The Paleo eating lifestyle consists of eating foods that our bodies were engineered for, eating basically most of the things your doctor will tell you to eat for healthy living.
|Can eat||Cannot Eat|
|Vegetables||Processed Food & Sugar|
|Nuts & Seeds||Grains|
The above chart is a basic run down of the diet. Things a caveman would be able to forage for or hunt, those are okay to eat. Things that came from a factory or an agricultural field, not so okay.
Dairy is an iffy subject, but most Paleo eaters stay away from it because dairy can cause a plethora of health problems.
Essentially, the Paleo way is the ultimate organic way of eating. The meat you eat must be grass feed and not grain fed, the fruits and vegetables must be fresh and have not been sprayed by pesticides of preservatives. Your seafood should be fresh for the sea, you get the picture.
Why No Grains? What About Whole Grains?
No grains. Not even the whole ones that everyone keeps saying are good for you. Grains were not part of the cavemans' diet, if they were, they were a minimal part considering they found them growing wild.
Grains are composed of carbohydrates, when we eat carbohydrates, they are turned into glucose in our system. The body uses glucose for energy, however any glucose left over is stored as fat. The modern eater eats a whole bunch of carbohydrates and does very little physical activity.
This is not like the Atkin's diet where carbohydrates are strictly forbidden. Carbohydrates still serve an important purpose in our digestive system. You get your carbs from vegetables like tubers, yams, and sweet potatoes.
Grains also contain something called Lectins. Lectins were born from grain evolution. Lectins are designed to hurt the human beings digestive tract and prevent it from repairing itself. These lectins are the grains self defense system to deter them from being eaten.
So No Grains, But Fats Instead?
In this 'low fat' diet we are eating these days, fats have gotten a pretty bad reputation. Low fat seems to be all the rage in modern food, but by lowering the fat, companies are amping up preservatives, chemicals, and carbohydrates in food. Over 66% of the United States population is considered to be overweight and that number is rising.
This is where our low fat world has gotten us.
Of course not all fat is good. However it is important to know the difference between good fat and bad fat. Good fats are things like olive oils, palm oil, fish oil. Think natural. This also includes fats from animals. Caveman ate animals all the time and do you think they sat there and trimmed off the fatty bits?
Fats from animals give things flavor and out body uses them for energy.
Paleo eaters often purchase things like duck fat or beef tallow to cook with to give their dishes a bit more flavor.
What you need to stay away from is polyunsaturated fat like vegetable oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. These fats are refined and are terrible for you.
The health benefits of the Paleo diet are numerous. It has been shown to reduce the the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. As our caveman ancestors showed virtually no signs of heart attacks or stroke killing them, though to be fair, it was much more likely they would be gored by an animal before they got old enough to have a heart attack.
The Paleo diet, in comparison to the Mediterranean diet, has actually shown signs of helping to reverse the insulin resistant Type 2 diabetes in people who ate Paleo. For years, the Mediterranean diet has been the way to eat for Diabetics, but it never showed any drastic signs as the Paleo diet has.
Because our body does not have to work so hard to digest food that our bodies were not meant to eat, it now becomes a much more stable and healthy place. Paleo diet users boast stable blood pressure, better skin and teeth, excess fat lose, stable energy throughout the day, and improved sleep patterns.
If the caveman could have had modern technology and and healthcare at their disposal they probably would outlive us by a large margin. Though I suspect it is much more likely that they would end up sitting on the couch eating cheese puffs and watching television until they died.