So what is the Paleo Diet? Well it is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of the man that lived in the Paleolithic era, a period that ended 10,000 years ago when agriculture started to develop. And that’s why it is also known as the “caveman diet”. It is considered one of the healthiest diets available today and it can help you lose weight, become stronger, leaner, it can give you more energy and make you live longer. With the modern diet that is full of refined foods, sugar and trans fats (the main causes of obesity, cancer, diabetes and other diseases), the Paleo Diet is definitely not another fad diet and it is here to stay!
Before we take a look at what to eat on a paleo diet, let’s see what you should NOT eat. There is no rocket science to this...simply think of what the caveman would have eaten tens of thousands of years ago. He definitely didn’t had any kind of processed foods, fast food, sweets, sugar, processed oils and other similar “junk foods”. Moving even further, he also didn’t had dairy products, legumes, starches and most important – grains. And when saying grains we mean all the derivate products as well. So the paleo diet meal plans definitely don’t include any type of bread (not even whole grain), pasta, pizza, pastry or anything that has wheat flour in it. I know that this will be a bad news for many people, but the caveman didn’t had alcohol either. So if you want to be 100% committed to this diet, alcohol should not be included on a paleo food list.
But What Should I Eat?
You might think that your diet will be very boring and limited, but this is definitely not the case! There are plenty of foods that you are allowed to eat and plenty of paleo recipes that you can try. Your main focus will be on lean protein, and here you are allowed to eat any type of meat, fish and eggs. Again, if you want to be 100% committed you should only consume wild game meat but this is definitely not accessible to anyone. So the paleo diet is flexible and can be adjusted according to each person’s possibilities. While the caveman didn’t raised chicken and cows, you are allowed to consume this types of meat. You can also consume eggs but it’s definitely recommended to have organic eggs and to find chicken that were not fed with chemicals.
So you will get your protein (and quite a lot of it) from different types of meats, but where would you get your carbs from if all the grains are forbidden? Well it’s simple: you will get them from fresh fruits and vegetables (except for legumes and starches). This will bring a lot of benefits to your body thanks to their high content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. If possible, try to get organic fruits and veggies.
And least but not last, you will get your healthy fats from different types of nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat.
Weight Loss and Steady Blood Sugar Levels
The Paleo Diet has a lot of health benefits and the first one would be related to weight loss. Since you will remove the base of the modern “food pyramid” which consists of bread, cereals, rice and pasta and you will replace them with quality sources of protein such as meat, fish and eggs you will lose weight much easier (if that is your goal). First of all you will stabilize your blood sugar levels which can have rollercoaster-like levels thanks to the modern-day diet. This will lead to less food cravings, more energy and a more reduced risk of developing diabetes. Studies have also shown that high protein diets are great for weight loss on overweight and obese people and they also prevent type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
More Nutrients and Less Calories
The foods you will consume are micronutrient dense but also low-energy dense, meaning that you can eat more, get more nutrients and still lose weight. In case you don’t want to lose weight and simply want to maintain it, it will be much easier to do it compared to consuming high caloric-dense foods like fast food and different types of grain-based products.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
You will also reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your bad cholesterol thanks to the consumption of healthy fats and omega-3 from nuts, seeds and fish.
By consuming quality fruits and vegetables every day you will also increase the content of fibers in your diet, much more than the average person. This will keep blood sugar levels even steadier, will prevent insulin insensitivity and will solve digestive problems such as constipation.
By reducing the consumption of sodium found in deli meat and other types of processed foods, you will also improve the sodium-potassium ratio in your body which can reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. Your body will also be less acidic and this can prevent osteoporosis, renal stones or renal insufficiency caused by calcium excretion. [source] Some people had also cured autoimmune diseases with the paleo diet, including Multiple Sclerosis. [source]
Can You Gain Muscle On A Paleo Diet?
While this diet may work really well for an average person that simply wants to look better, it may not be optimal for bodybuilders. Yes they will receive all the health benefits of the paleo diet, but they won’t be able to maximize muscle growth because of the lack of complex carbohydrates found in grain-based products.
What bodybuilders CAN do is go paleo 80% of the time and have a moderate consumption of quality sources of grains to get those extra carbs. For maximum muscle growth they can also add high quality protein powders such as the BioTrust Low Carb (the only 100% all-natural, hormone free protein powder with no artificial colors and sweetners).
While there are many studies that suggest the benefits of the paleo diet there are also critiques and people who disagree with it. After all it is a matter of personal choice. So if you feel like the paleo diet is right for you and want to try it for the first time or if you are looking for more paleo recipes we definitely recommend this book. It is a great collection of more than 370 healthy and delicious recipes and you can click here for more info.
Article by Craig Wilson
Article by Craig Wilson