What is Paleo Diet?
Paleo diet, also known as the Paleolithic diet, is named so because the dietary habits you have to take up are similar to those of the people of the Paleolithic era which was before the neolithic revolution. After this revolution, people started to abandon their hunter- gatherer lifestyle and started to settle in small settlements.
The purpose of this diet is to go back to the eating healthy food that existed before cultivation started. As our ancestors from the Paleolithic period were hunters and gatherers, only the foods which can be obtained that way are allowed in this diet plan.
Paleo diet can be counted as a remedy for diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. You have to cut out all the foods that are modern and go back to the natural ways.
Another important thing in this diet program is exercise, as our ancestors of millions of years ago were extremely active, and hence stayed healthy and never put on extra weight.
How does the Paleo Diet help you lose weight?
Processed fast and junk food of today’s modern times, extra sugar in fizzy drinks, candies etc are all the ways by which our bodies go towards obesity and diseases.
While being on the paleo diet, you have to cut out all of these things. Only whole foods are going to be included in your diet.
Omission of all the processed foods are going to cause your body to be free of all the junk you had been stuffing it with, and come back towards its natural form.
This way, you will be consuming healthy calories from natural and clean foods instead of empty calories which are easily consumed from the foods that are processed.
Consumption of whole foods will keep you full, reduce and eventually stop all your junk food cravings and will ultimately result in weight loss.
An average person can expect to lose around 6-8 pounds within a month of following the paleo diet plan.
As exercise is also important with this diet, you will be burning calories by being active and sweating away the extra fat faster.
All these habits are going to pave your way towards a healthier and lighter life.
Scientific studies have also shown that Paleo diet works for belly fat reduction and fat mass decrease. (1)
A review of literature has also shown that there is visible benefit of paleo for metabolic dysfunction and weight loss. (2)
Is Paleo Diet Safe?
As paleo diet encourages us to eat foods that are completely natural.
It strongly recommends steering clear of modern foods that are far from nature, helping you to make better choices about the food you consume .
This diet permits you to free your body of all the junk you had been carrying around in form of food. Hence, it is safe. You are going to be adding all nutrition full and clean foods into your life on a daily basis.
Taking a break from all the processed foods of today is going to do a world of good to your body. Your diet will be composed of protein, vitamins, healthy fats, energy filled nuts and healthy oils. All of this is going to result in better health and figure.
However, some people reported a weight gain from this diet, which happened probably due to overeating of allowed foods. If you eat healthy fats and protein in modest amounts and keep your body active, you are surely not going to put on extra fat.
Paleo vs Keto
While paleo and ketogenic diets are among the most popular diet and emphasize whole foods and eliminate legumes and grains from your diet.
However, the biggest difference between the two is that Keto almost completely eliminates all carbohydrates. Paleo on the other hand allows whole carbs like vegetables and fruits.
Another key difference between the two diets is that paleo focus more on healthy food and lifestyle choices. One good example is its emphasis on exercise. Ketogenic diet doesnt endorse exercise and also focuses primarily on macro-nutrients, the main emphasis being on drastically reducing carbs.
Let us take a look at the foods you are going to be consuming and avoiding.
Paleo Diet Food List
Whole foods are all included in a paleo diet plan. So it is time to search on google for “whole foods near me”.
Meats: Grass-fed meat is recommended as it is the healthiest and is best source of lean protein.
You can have lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, bacon etc.
Make sure the meat you take is fresh. It should not be marinated too, as it could contain modern ingredients that were not present in the Paleolithic era.
The poultry food you take should not contain any chemicals in its diet like steroids or antibiotics. Staying as close to nature as possible is the key element in this diet.
Also, overeating of healthy foods can cause you to have unwanted results too. Overdoing anything is never healthy.
Seafood: Seafood like salmon, tuna, trout, shellfish, shrimps etc are all allowed on a paleo diet. If you can get a wild caught fish, it’s better. Stick to the natural ways guys.
Fruits: Apples, bananas, grapes, peaches, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, pomegranate, etc are all packed with vitamins and nutrients. These provide you with instant energy and keep you full.
One thing to take care of here is that fruits like bananas are rich in sugar too with all the other nutrients. So, you have to keep the intake lower.
Vegetables: Potato, sweet potato, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, onions etc. Some vegetables, like potatoes can be a bit more starchy than other vegetables. So, those should be added in fewer amounts in your diet.
Oils: Walnut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, flax seed oil and olive oil are all included in the paleo diet plan.
Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts etc can be taken while being on this diet. Nuts are full energy packed food. Just make sure to take these in moderate amounts.
Seeds: Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds etc.
Eggs are also allowed in modest amounts.
Drinks: For drinking, have as much water as you can. You can add lemon in water to make it tasteful. Adding lemon will also provide freshness for your body and will elevate your mood.
Foods to avoid
All unnatural and the foods that processed are strictly excluded from paleo diet. No way for junk or fast food.
Other foods that are prohibited include:
Legumes: Legumes are not allowed in paleo diet simply because these were not present in Paleolithic times, as they did not cultivate. These include beans like kidney lentils, peanuts, beans, peas, peanut butter and soy sauce etc.
Grains: Grains are considered very high in carbs and can lead to high blood sugar, so, grains are also not included in a paleo diet program. These include rice, wheat, pasta, all kinds of cereals and also beer.
Processed foods like vegetable oils, processed sugar and salt and artificial sweeteners are excluded from a paleo friendly menu.
Dairy products like milk, butter, cream, etc are also better avoided while being on a paleo diet but, some variations of this diet allows these foods.
If you are cutting out dairy in a paleo diet, then you can go for alternatives like coconut or almond milk.
Ice cream, candy bars, shakes, slush, chips, etc are all considered junk food and totally not allowed on a paleo diet.
Paleo friendly meal plan
Here is a sample meal plan to help you start on your paleo journey.
Breakfast: For a perfect paleo breakfast you can have a fruit salad. Simply cut 4 to 5 different types of fruit you have and put them in a bowl. Mix and eat. You can also make a smoothie using coconut or almond milk.
Lunch: Salad with meatballs. You can sprinkle some black pepper on it or put some olive oil, or both.
Dinner: Chicken coupled with sweet potato or some avocados on the side. Top it off with almond oil.
Snacks: You can have an apple or orange, or some berries for snack time. If you feel hungry in between meals you can grab some almonds or cashews.
You can also take some dates as they are a complete energy pack. Dates will leave you feeling full for longer time and keep your cravings away.
However, if you are really serious about you weight loss process and want it to happen fast, just gulp down a glass or two of water, if you feel hungry even after having your meals.
If you want to stay healthy and fit, exercise is also a factor that plays a really important role alongside healthy eating.
People who are active and are up and around all day have lowest to no risk or lifestyle diseases. Your body is designed to move and work.
If you are using your healthy eating as an excuse to sitting on your couch all day, with very little physical movement, you are mistaken.
Healthy food choices alone cannot keep your body fit. You have to do a combination of things for its proper working. Like getting enough sleep, moving around and going out in the fresh air.
So, sticking to natural ways, let us see what we can do in the area of exercise.
- You can choose to walk small distances of 15 to 20 minutes instead of taking a bus etc.
- Switching to stairs instead of elevators is another great way of increasing your physical movement.
- Going for at least a 15-minute walk in the fresh air in the morning, will make you bright and boost your mood for the rest of the day.
- If you have a pet dog, taking it on longer walks, running and playing with them, will not only count as an exercise but will leave you feeling really good afterwards too.
Whatever you can do to make sure your body is moving, as much as it should, you must try to do. These habits will keep you away from obesity and risk of heart diseases and will make you feel good. Movement is life.
The Bottom Line
So, if you are going to go on this stone age diet, make sure you watch out for signs if it’s not the one for you. That is very unlikely to happen because it is all natural and there is no counting calories.
It focuses mainly on healthy eating choices and making good lifestyle changes. This is surely not among the fad diets.
Any diet you follow requires changing your habits. Your body needs time for that. If you feel like you are not losing weight on this diet, do not be discouraged and give yourself some time. As this is a lifestyle changing diet, it is certain going to take a while to show complete results but will surely do.
Be gentle with yourself. Eat healthy, move around and live a free and fit life.