The paleo diet has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and it’s no wonder why: eating like a caveman can help us lose weight and keep it off, improve our energy, help us sleep better at night, and reduce our risk of getting many different types of diseases!
The question remains, though — what exactly is a paleo diet? We’re going to break down the basics of this healthy eating approach to get you started on your way to living like a caveman!
A Quick History Lesson:
In recent years, many of us have become aware of what we put into our bodies. Food (not just health food) has been marketed as a means to an end: shiny hair, less acne, better sleep and so on. Low-fat diets became all rage in 1990s and 2000s, but nutritionists have now largely ditched them — research shows that fat isn’t that bad for you, at least not in moderate amounts. And sugar has been replaced by artificial sweeteners.
But there’s one nutrition approach that never goes out of style — the paleo diet. This old-fashioned way of eating has been gaining popularity in recent years, thanks to celebrities like Hugh Jackman and Jessica Biel who have touted its benefits. In fact, it was declared one of 2013’s diet trends to watch out for by Time magazine.
The paleo diet isn’t about limiting yourself to eating like your caveman ancestors (though you can, if you want). It’s not about counting calories, or even cutting out grains and legumes completely.
The paleo diet, also known as The Stone Age or hunter-gatherer diet, can be summed up in one phrase: eat what our ancestors ate. In other words, if it’s not on a caveman’s shopping list—grains, dairy products and legumes (like beans and peanuts)—then you should leave it off yours too.
When it comes to nutrition, cavemen had it figured out long before we did. Their ancestors ate what they could hunt or gather in their natural habitat — meat, fish, veggies and fruits. Prehistoric humans were hunter-gatherers until about 10,000 years ago when agriculture emerged as an alternative way of providing food.
The paleo diet has many health benefits, including helping with weight loss and giving you more energy. Studies have also shown that it can improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and reduce symptoms of type-2 diabetes.
It can even help with food intolerances like gluten intolerance. Most people who follow a paleo diet are strict vegetarians because they avoid meat and dairy products — with some very rare exceptions.
How do you know if it’s right for you? While everyone can benefit from some type of nutritional overhaul, here are five ways that a paleo diet may improve your health.
- Lose weight
- Lower your blood pressure
- Improve your cholesterol levels
- Reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes
- Reduce food intolerances (like gluten intolerance)
The paleo diet is not for everyone. Some people struggle with cutting out whole food groups like dairy and grains, while others may not be able to afford grass-fed meats or local organic produce. If you fall into any of these categories, it doesn’t mean that you can’t follow a paleo diet — just make sure that you do so under your doctor’s supervision.
Most people on a paleo diet are strict vegetarians because they avoid meat and dairy products — with some very rare exceptions. The occasional slice of pizza or bowl of cereal won’t make you unhealthy, but if your diet regularly includes these types of non-paleo foods, you won’t reap all of its health benefits.
A paleo diet also calls for more fruits and vegetables than other types of diets. If you’re not used to eating a lot of produce, you may find yourself gassy or bloated when you first start out. But these side effects will subside after your body adjusts. You’ll soon get used to feeling energized and satiated by all of those fiber-rich veggies. You might have heard that you should cut out all processed foods. But you don’t need to eliminate these entirely if they’re made with clean ingredients.
Some paleo eaters choose to eat organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, which fit well into their diets as long as they’re free of added sugars or chemicals. These are just some of the paleo diet guidelines you need to know about.
The best way to figure out if it’s right for you is to try it for yourself and see how you feel. If you find that cutting out processed foods and eating more vegetables gives you more energy, then consider incorporating those changes into your lifestyle — even if it’s not technically paleo.
Like most things in life, there are always exceptions and modifications that can help you fit your specific needs. For example, if you’re worried about consuming too much protein or sodium, you can choose leaner cuts of meat and opt for vegetables instead of eating high-sodium processed snacks.
There are always ways to adapt so that it fits your lifestyle and needs as long as you follow your doctor’s advice first and foremost. The paleo diet may seem daunting at first, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try.
This way of eating can improve your health in many ways, including reducing food intolerances and making you feel more energetic so that you can enjoy all of life’s adventures.
So what are you waiting for?
There’s no time like today to start making healthy changes that could benefit your life for years to come.
The Basic Rules of The Caveman Diet:
The basic tenet of paleo is that if it was available during caveman times, you can eat it. That includes meats, nuts, eggs, fruits and vegetables — basically everything but grains (including whole grains), legumes (beans and peas) and dairy products.
The theory behind paleo eating is that humans should consume only foods available during our Stone Age period from about 2.5 million years ago until 10,000 BC.
As with any diet plan, there are some basic rules you need to follow for paleo eating. You should only eat grass-fed or organic meat and fish, but most other foods that fall into acceptable categories in a caveman diet are not subject to restriction.
Paleo eaters also steer clear of processed foods, additives and preservatives — including anything made with white flour or refined sugar. The theory behind this approach is that our bodies were designed for natural food sources, not man-made substitutes.
Paleo eating might sound restrictive, but it’s really about listening to your body and creating a diet that works for you. If you take time to plan your meals ahead of time, you can eat paleo foods in abundance without breaking your budget. You can also focus on protein and fresh fruits and vegetables so that you never feel deprived.
So what does paleo eating look like in practice?
There are no specific menu plans or required food groups with paleo eating, so it’s up to you to come up with your own recipes and favorite dishes. This can be hard if you’re not used to cooking, but there are plenty of free resources on the internet that can help get you started.
You should also take time to plan your meals ahead of time, and make sure you include plenty of non-starchy vegetables, nuts and lean meats. Since grains were not part of early humans’ diets, that means no breads or pasta — and certainly no white rice or refined carbohydrates. Instead, fill up on fresh fruits and veggies.
Another important part of paleo eating is finding ways to reduce your intake of added sugars. The World Health Organization recommends limiting your intake of sugars and processed foods in general, but it can be hard to keep those guidelines in mind when you’re shopping for groceries or cooking at home.
To make sure you’re avoiding excess sugar, read labels carefully. Organic foods aren’t allowed to contain added sugars, but watch out for sneaky ingredients like corn syrup, cane juice and evaporated cane juice — all forms of processed sugar. They can be found in drinks, canned soups and even organic brands of canned fruit. Stick with whole fruits instead.
There are also some foods that aren’t allowed on a paleo diet. Some of these, like dairy and grains, were not part of early humans’ diets. Others, like legumes and beans, contain lectins that can damage your intestines and cause inflammation.
It can be hard to stick with these rules at first, but most paleo eaters find that it becomes easier over time. If you follow these guidelines and include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, you’ll notice better health, increased energy levels and weight loss within just a few weeks.
So how did paleo eating become so popular, and what can you do if you want to follow a caveman diet but don’t know where to start?
The answers lie in our evolutionary history.
Humans evolved over millions of years, and in that time we adapted to eating foods that were naturally available. Because of our bodies’ long history with these foods, we are better able to digest them than more recently developed foods.
A paleo diet allows you to eat whole, unprocessed food just as early humans did — and it helps you avoid processed sugars and other unhealthy ingredients that have been added over time.
If you want to follow a paleo diet, it’s important to plan ahead. Since many of these foods aren’t available in restaurants or grocery stores, you’ll need to learn how to prepare them yourself.
A paleo diet doesn’t have restrictions on how much fat or protein you can eat, but if you want your food choices to fit in with your caveman diet philosophy, focus on lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.
How to Adjust Your Lifestyle for The Caveman Diet:
The key, according to Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of The Paleo Diet and professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, is to eat only foods that mimic what early humans ate before agriculture took over.
This means leaving behind all grains (even whole grains), dairy products, legumes (beans) and processed foods made with flour or sugar. Fruits and vegetables are fair game because they would have been available during hunter-gatherer times.
Of course, going caveman isn’t easy if you’re used to eating like a modern human. You’ll need to make some major changes. Here are some tips that can help you adjust your lifestyle for The Paleo Diet:
Beyond diet, you’ll also need to make some lifestyle changes. For example, you’ll need to get plenty of sleep and exercise on a regular basis.
The activities you choose will vary depending on your fitness goals — though strength training is an important component of any caveman workout routine.
Overall, following The Paleo Diet will make you feel better, give you more energy and prevent chronic diseases. You’ll also lose weight, improve your heart health and sleep better at night — which isn’t too bad for 30 days of dieting!
And once you get used to eating paleo, you’ll find plenty of healthy ways to indulge your sweet tooth.
How can you know if The Paleo Diet will work for you? Follow these simple steps.
The caveman diet isn’t just a health plan, it’s also an exercise routine. Since you can eat all of your food in one sitting, your body doesn’t have to work as hard digesting food and burning calories throughout the day. For example, you might walk for 20 minutes in total for five days per week with the Paleo Diet.
The caveman diet isn’t just healthy for your body, it’s also good for your mind. Research shows that following a paleo diet will boost your energy and improve your mood.
Many people associate the Paleo Diet with losing weight, but it can also help with other health goals. For example, you can use the Paleo Diet to lower your blood pressure and reduce inflammation in your body.
The caveman diet helps you feel better, lose weight and boost your energy. Plus, it can help you improve other health goals like lowering blood pressure or reducing inflammation in your body.
What’s great about The Paleo Diet is that it doesn’t cost anything. You can find all of your food for free, and you don’t need to buy expensive equipment or pay for gym memberships. Simply follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to eating paleo in no time!
It’s no secret that switching from your old diet to a paleo diet can be difficult. Many people think that eating paleo means giving up their favorite foods forever, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Pros and Cons of Adapting a Caveman Lifestyle:
There are plenty of benefits to adding more fish, meat, vegetables and fruit into your diet. However, it isn’t recommended that you cut out all grains or legumes completely — research shows these foods can help us feel fuller longer and maintain blood-sugar levels.
While most people would agree that eating lean protein, fresh produce and good fats is key for health and weight loss, it may not always be feasible or enjoyable for everyone.
By making small, sustainable changes that don’t cut out entire food groups, you can adapt your diet to fit in with a caveman lifestyle.
Reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates and processed foods — along with boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables — can help improve your overall health while also improving your body composition. The best part is, switching over to caveman-style eating doesn’t have to be difficult or require intense restrictions.
The Paleo diet, caveman lifestyle and Primal way of eating are terms that have grown in popularity over recent years. Proponents claim that switching over to such diets can help improve your health, weight loss goals and body composition.
In order to reap these benefits, however, you’ll need to make some fundamental changes in how you approach food.
Most people find it easy to adapt their current diet so they eat more lean protein, fresh produce and good fats — without cutting out entire food groups completely.
It’s also important to note that adhering strictly to any type of diet isn’t recommended; while it may be effective for short-term results, trying out different styles of eating can help you determine what works best for your unique body and needs.
The best part about adopting a caveman diet is that you don’t have to cut out entire food groups. Simply making small, sustainable changes that don’t cut out entire food groups can help improve your overall health and body composition.
Whether you want to try it for weight loss or overall health, there are plenty of ways you can add more healthy fat, lean protein and fresh produce into your diet without eliminating other options completely.
When considering whether or not to adopt a caveman diet, it’s important to know what you can expect when adapting your eating habits.
While most people find it easy to add more lean protein, fresh produce and good fats into their diet without cutting out entire food groups completely, there are some potential downsides. Any time you make dramatic changes in your food intake — especially if it’s in an effort to lose weight — you risk leaving important nutrients out of your diet.
A caveman diet can be extremely beneficial, but it’s important to do your research and adopt it in a way that works for you.
If you want to experience significant benefits without cutting out entire food groups, try adapting your current diet rather than adopting an entirely new way of eating. By making small, sustainable changes that don’t cut out entire food groups, you can adapt your diet to fit in with a caveman lifestyle.
Despite its potential benefits, adopting a caveman diet can be tricky. The main risk of an all-or-nothing approach is that you may cut out an entire food group completely, missing out on key nutrients in your diet.
When trying to adapt your current diet so it fits into a caveman lifestyle, there are plenty of ways you can fit more healthy fat, lean protein and fresh produce into your meals without eliminating other options completely.
The idea of adopting a caveman diet may sound appealing, but it’s important to be aware of potential downsides before you make any drastic changes. While there are plenty of ways you can adapt your current diet so it fits into a caveman lifestyle, there are some risks involved with making dramatic changes in your food intake.
If you want to try out new eating habits, be sure to consult with your doctor or nutritionist first so they can help you determine what works best for your unique body and needs.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply maintain your current body composition, adapting your diet to fit in with a caveman lifestyle can be extremely beneficial. There are plenty of ways you can cut back on unhealthy foods and add more fresh produce, lean protein and good fats into your diet without completely eliminating entire food groups.
The caveman diet gets its name from people following a Paleolithic lifestyle, but you don’t have to follow it exactly in order to reap its benefits. By eliminating processed foods and adopting more healthy fat, lean protein and fresh produce into your diet, you can dramatically improve your eating habits without cutting out entire food groups.
No matter how many changes you want to make or how drastic those changes are, there are plenty of ways you can adapt your current diet so it fits into a caveman lifestyle.
A paleo diet is a diet based on what our ancestors ate. It consists of lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts. Whole grains are excluded due to their high carbohydrate content; processed foods and sugar should also be avoided. The typical caveman diet consists of meats, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables — all of which can either be hunted or gathered — with no rice, pasta or dairy products.
The paleo diet first became popular in 1975, when gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin published his book The Stone Age Diet. The idea behind eating like our ancestors isn’t to return to a life of hunter-gatherers, but rather an alternative way of eating that excludes processed foods and grains.
It’s believed that processed foods, sugar and refined grains upset our body’s natural equilibrium, leading to inflammation and an increased risk of chronic diseases. By eliminating these foods, it’s possible that you’ll experience better digestion, more energy and even weight loss.
It’s important to note that, as with any diet, there are health risks associated with following a paleo diet. If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia or digestive issues during your first month on the paleo diet, you may want to consider easing off of it before seeking medical advice.
Keep in mind that while most people find they have more energy and feel better overall when following a paleo plan — especially at first — that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a new way of eating or simply curious about what our ancestors ate, it’s always best to speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. As with any change in routine, especially when it comes to eating, discuss potential health benefits and risks with your physician before making any drastic changes. It’s important that your doctor also be aware of any medications you take so as not conflict or cancel out each other.
The paleo diet has gained popularity in recent years, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your eating habits, and know that results can vary depending on what other health factors may be at play. Ultimately, you should eat well because it makes you feel good – not because of some strict dietary guidelines or list of foods you have to include or avoid.
No matter what your diet, it’s always important to focus on overall health and well-being over rigid dietary restrictions. Even if you choose not to follow a paleo diet plan, remember that moderation is important in everything you eat. Not only will your body thank you for it, but so will your wallet!