The Paleo diet is a diet based on what it is assumed pre-agricultural humans ate, and how they lived. This latter part of it is just as important as their diet – pre-agriculture humans lived very active lives, with the fitness levels and musculature of someone who is at least an amateur athlete.
This means two different things. It means that if you follow it properly and make the necessary lifestyle changes, it can increase your fitness, muscle mass and bone density, and massively reduce your risk of many degenerative diseases that are believed to be caused by the processed, overcooked foods we eat today.
It also means that it’s a little tricky to follow strictly, and if you don’t get enough exercise you stand a good chance of putting on weight.
In a nutshell the Paleo diet prohibits eating dairy, sugar or salts that are not found naturally, as well as beans, grains and potatoes because you have to cook these in order to make them edible. What the Paleo diet generally comprises of is things like lean meats, eggs, fish, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms and root vegetables that can be eaten raw like carrots. A lot of protein is also gained from eating organ meats like liver or kidneys.
The main benefit that advocates of the Paleo diet proclaim are that it helps to greatly reduce your risk of degenerate diseases. Degenerate diseases are all of the diseases associated with growing older – high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease. Other benefits include weight loss and healthy musculature with regular exercise, and a stronger bone structure with reduced risk of bone disease later in life.
The foods eaten on the Palio diet are generally high in energy, and have a ‘low glycaemic index’, meaning they release this energy slowly over time. This helps to prevent diseases such as diabetes, and gives you more energy throughout the day.
An Example of How to Follow the Paleo Diet
It’s not as difficult as you think to follow the Palaeolithic diet. Here’s an example of one that’s both easy and inexpensive to follow, and contains a lot of variation:
Breakfast: An omelette with spinach and mushroom
Morning snack: Fresh berries or a bunch of grapes
Lunch: Grilled salmon or other dark meat freshwater fish with a large serving of grilled vegetables and salad dressed with olive oil.
Afternoon snack: Raw carrots, celery or cucumber sticks with guacamole or humus.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with steamed broccoli, served with a salad of chopped tomato and cucumber dressed with a light Greek dressing.
Dessert: Apple pie with cinnamon
Visit the Paleo Cookbook to find more Paleo Diet meal planning ideas.