Currently, the paleo diet is one of the hottest and most popular diets on the planet. Thousands of people have reported benefits such as weight loss, less inflammation in their bodies, the disappearance of certain illnesses, etc. after they adopted the diet.
The diet is pretty restrictive and anyone who adopts it will find themselves unable to eat most of the foods they are used to eating.
Processed foods, artificial flavoring, sugar, etc. are anathema to the paleo diet. The focus is totally on keeping things natural and wholesome. It adopts a mantra similar to what fitness guru, Jack LaLanne once said. “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
The paleo diet follows a concept of eating foods similar to what our caveman ancestors ate. The theory is that our bodies have not evolved that much after all these years and we would be better off eating in the same manner that our ancestors did.
The efficacy of the paleo diet has been proven over and over by people who lose weight very effectively after adopting it. Just omitting sugar and high fructose corn syrup from our diet is half the battle won.
The paleo diet also uses virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for cooking. You are not allowed to use the hydrogenated food oils sold in supermarkets. After all, our cavemen ancestors didn’t have access to the commercially produced seed oil extracts.
What many people do not know is that the oil sold in supermarkets and promoted as being healthy are in fact highly detrimental to our health. They cause a plethora of problems from inflammation to high cholesterol.
Since you’re not allowed to use the usual sauces and seasonings that you’re accustomed to, you will need to have some knowledge of paleo cooking.
There are several excellent online paleo recipe books such as Paleohacks recipe book which will have recipes that you can follow to whip up tasty dishes.
The paleo diet will take some getting used to. It is the polar opposite of the standard American diet which is heavy on oil, junk food, processed foods, etc. Making the change will be stressful in the initial few weeks.
However, with time, your body will adapt and start to enjoy the paleo meals. It may take you a month or two to fully adopt the paleo diet. You will notice that you feel better and have much more energy.
These are just some of the benefits of the diet.
What You NEED to know about the Paleo Diet
This diet has its fair share of fans and detractors. Yet, you shouldn’t worry too much about what the rest are saying. What truly matters is how the diet makes you feel.
You will need to try it out for yourself to appreciate the benefits and understand the intricacies of the diet. Since the diet is natural and healthy, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The diet focuses on eating single ingredient foods such as fish, grass fed meat, goat, poultry, rabbit and a lot of other meats. You are also encouraged to consume a variety of vegetables from broccolis, carrots, cabbages, etc.
Contrary to popular diets, the paleo diet also encourages the consumption of healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil, grass fed butter, etc. The emphasis is on wholesome, nutritious foods that our early ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era.
Grains, refined and processed foods, sugar and other modern foods that the typical American consumes avoided. Success with the paleo diet means that you will need to adhere to the guidelines of the diet strictly.
There are no cheat days with the paleo diet where you can go crazy and pig out on pizzas and ice-cream. Unlike conventional diets, the paleo diet doesn’t focus on calorie restriction or controlling your carb intake.
The paleo diet is focused on eating foods that are natural. For example, getting your carbs from eating white bread is not natural. If you’re on the paleo diet, you will be getting your carbs from vegetables and fruits.
Normal diets will recommend reducing or avoiding consumption of bad carbs such as white bread or white flour products. This is not even an issue with the paleo diet.
The rules are so rigid that they could be set in stone. The food you eat has to be natural. White bread and flour products such as doughnuts are a no-no. There is no negotiation here. You just can’t eat them. Period.
Current trends in obesity have shown that it has skyrocketed and reached epidemic proportions. The Standard American Diet, also known as SAD amongst paleo fans, is to blame for this. Of course, a highly sedentary lifestyle plays a role too… but the diet shoulders a much higher burden of blame.
You may encounter articles or people that claim the paleo diet is unhealthy because you will not get all the necessary nutrients that your body needs. This is a misconception since your body will only lacks nutrients if you do not consume a varied diet. By eating a variety of paleo foods, your body will definitely have all the nutrients it needs.
Another point that detractors may throw up is that consuming too much meat and eggs will raise your cholesterol level. This is yet again another fallacy.
Studies have shown that dietary cholesterol has minimal impact on your blood cholesterol level. The real culprit is modern day foods that inflame the body and cause cholesterol to be formed to heal the inflamed cells.
On another tangent, there are folks who say that the paleo diet is uncivilized. This is purely an image issue.
The fact that the diet is modeled after a caveman’s diet and is actually called that, conjures up images of feral men tearing into raw meat in some caves. This is just a psychological issue.
Most paleo dieters just eat more meat and they cook it well, spice it up and in many cases, their food tastes just as good as or even better than a greasy steak you may find at a local diner.
The crux of the matter is that the paleo diet is extremely beneficial to one’s health. The saying, ‘Don’t knock it till you try it’ applies here. It will do you good to give it a try and you just might find yourself a fan of this remarkable diet.
What Are The Best Foods For a Paleo Diet?
Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This is very true and you should always remember that every time you eat or drink something, you’re either feeding disease or fighting it.
While the paleo diet may not be the panacea for all ills, it has numerous benefits. You absolutely must know what the beneficial foods to eat are. It will be excellent to study the foods you eat to see which contain the different vitamins, minerals, etc.
You’ll then be able to consume a variety of foods to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Knowledge is power.
The paleo diet is not rocket science. The concept is pretty easy to understand. You have a list of foods that you can eat and a list of foods that you should not eat.
It is very basic and anybody can understand it. Unlike other diets which use nutrient timings, food combinations, detoxes, lemonade, etc. the paleo diet is straightforward.
However, it is not an easy diet to follow. You’ll need to be determined to get over the initial hump and inertia of adjusting to the new foods. You will have cravings that will be gnawing at you constantly. Sugar cravings for the most part. Once you get past this, it will be smooth sailing.
The paleo foods you consume will be nutrient dense and natural. It is highly recommended that you eat organic produce and grass fed meats. Even eggs should be free range.
However, this may prove to be expensive. So, if you cannot afford organic vegetables and grass fed meats, then by all means get the normal produce and meats. Most importantly, stick to the food list recommended by the diet.
There are many types of foods you can eat while on the paleo diet. It would be best to get a guide like the PaleoHacks Cookbooks so that you know what options are available to you. This article will give you a few suggestions, but it is by no means comprehensive. You will benefit more from research.
Now let’s look at what foods you can eat.
Poultry, Bacon, Pork, Ground Beef, Grass Fed Beef, Chicken Thigh, Chicken Leg, Chicken Wings, Turkey, Chicken Breast, Pork Tenderloin, Pork Chops, Steak, Veal, Lamb rack, Shrimp, Lobster, Clams, Salmon, Venison Steaks, Buffalo, New York Steak, Lamb Chops, Rabbit, Goat, Elk, Emu, Goose, Kangaroo, Bear, Beef Jerky, Eggs, Bison, Bison Steaks, Bison Jerky, Bison Ribeye, Bison Sirloin, Wild Boar, Reindeer, Turtle, Ostrich, Pheasant, Quail, Lean Veal, Chuck Steak, Rattlesnake
Asparagus, Avocado, Artichoke hearts, Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Spinach, Celery, Broccoli, Zucchini, Cabbage, Peppers (All Kinds), Cauliflower, Parsley, Eggplant, Green Onions
Coconut oil, Olive oil, Macadamia Oil, Avocado Oil, Grass fed Butter
Almonds, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Macadamia Nut, Walnuts
Apple, Avocado, Blackberries, Papaya, Peaches, Plums, Mango, Lychee, Blueberries, Grapes, , Lemon, Strawberries, Watermelon, Pineapple, Guava, Lime, Raspberries, Cantaloupe, Tangerine, Figs, Oranges
It is understandable if you balk at some of these foods mentioned above and some might be next to impossible to obtain, but this is just a list. Pick and choose what you like and eat those. It does not have to be a rigid diet. Some flexibility is good.
If you consume only the foods on the list above, you will notice your health improve and you will look and feel better. Of course, always eat in moderation and not surfeit. If you eat sensibly and follow this diet, the results will be fantastic. Do give it a go.
Can I Lose Weight with the Paleo Diet?
You can lose weight with any diet as long as you are at a daily caloric deficit and you’re exercising regularly. The hard truth is that you can lose weight with the Mediterranean diet or even a normal sensible diet.
However, with the paleo diet, your results will come much sooner and the weight loss process will be easier. You will not have sugar or other processed ingredients in your diet.
Many of the sauces and seasonings that we use to flavor our food contain high amounts of sugar, chemical and additives. These unnatural foods cause our body to stubbornly hold on to fat.
It’s more than just calories in and calories out. You must consider the quality of the calorie.
Getting 200 calories from a packet of M&M’s and getting 200 calories from a slice of steak are two different things. The numbers are the same but how the food causes changes in our body are worlds apart.
The chocolate will raise blood sugar levels and cause fat storage. The meat will help with muscle building and indirectly result in fat loss.
So, the paleo diet is very effective for fat loss.
The paleo diet is without a doubt the toughest diet on the planet and the attrition rate is high. Thousands of people try it and quit within days because it is more than a diet. It is an entire lifestyle change.
You must be mentally prepared to make the change. If you can do it, you will shed the excess pounds.
The natural whole foods that are consumed in the paleo diet will leave you feeling more satiated and less prone to cravings. You will not suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with your tummy growling for Belgian chocolate ice-cream.
Since the paleo diet is strict, you will always be watchful of what you eat.
The average person just gobbles up whatever they get their hands on. If you are constantly on guard as to what you’re eating, you will not be making poor food choices.
It will be extremely easy to exceed your calorie deficit requirement for the day. 2 slices of pizza can come up to about 600 calories.
You can’t eat pizza while on the paleo diet. You’ve just cut 600 calories off your daily consumption.
The paleo diet is extremely effective for fat loss and when coupled with a sensible training regimen, you will shed the fat faster than you can say “paleo”. It will be an uphill battle to adapt to the paleo diet, but once you master it, the rewards you reap will be totally worth the effort.
What Should My Calorie Intake Be if I’m On a Paleo Diet?
It can be whatever you want it to be. It all depends on what you want.
If you want to be overweight, you just need to be on a caloric surplus. If you wish to remain the same weight, you just to maintain your calorie intake. If you wish to lose weight, you should be at a caloric deficit.
The key point to note is that the paleo diet does not decide your calorie intake.
You do. Your goals do.
Firstly, you need to know what your daily calorie requirement is. You can find out form this link
If you wish to gain weight, you need to consume more calories than your daily calorie requirement. This is for people who are underweight or if you’re trying to build muscle and bulk.
If you’re happy with your body and don’t see any need to get bigger or smaller, you just need to maintain your calorie intake. Then you will need to consume your paleo foods in the right proportion to meet your calorie intake.
There is no exact number as far as macro nutrients go with the paleo diet. You will need to adjust your macros to suit your needs. It helps to know exactly how many calories you are consuming with each meal.
You can find this out by doing a Google image search for “paleo foods calorie list” or similar search terms. In fact, you can find out how many calories a serving of food is by Googling it. Things are really easy these days.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to be at a caloric deficit of about 500 calories a day. Generally, most people say that it is much easier to lose weight on the paleo diet because sugar, hydrogenated oils and processed foods are not allowed on the paleo diet.
If you are an athlete, your calorie requirement will be much higher than the average person. You will need to gauge how many calories you are expending during your workout and eat accordingly.
The paleo diet does not allow the consumption of rice, bread, grains, etc. So, if you are training hard and not consuming enough carbs, you may end up feeling lethargic. Or you may lose weight rapidly and end up looking gaunt.
The aim of the paleo diet is to make you look and feel healthy. In order for it to benefit you, you must know its limitations and restrictions so that you can adjust and get the best out of the diet.
While a high degree of compliance is necessary as far as avoiding the “harmful” foods, there is some room for flexibility. You may consume bananas or potatoes if your workouts need more carbs.
Use common sense and make the diet work for you and do not end up a slave to the diet. Then you would have truly mastered the paleo diet.
The Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet
Nothing is perfect for everybody.
While the paleo diet is has thousands of fans all over the world, not everybody may be able to adopt it for a variety of reasons.
People have lost weight, reduced allergies, gained control of their health issues like diabetes, cholesterol, etc. and much more with the paleo diet. In fact, it is considered one of the best diets around.
Yet the paleo diet has its pros and cons. You will have to decide for yourself if the pros outweigh the cons. Thousands of people decided that it did and adopted this diet.
First, you will need to understand the paleo diet. It is a diet that is more concerned with food choices rather than calories, nutrient timing, carb cycling, detoxing, etc. In theory, the paleo diet is simple.
Eat the permitted foods and avoid the other foods. All you need to do is follow the food list. In practice, however, the paleo diet is extremely difficult in the beginning because it involves sacrifice. Nobody likes that.
Many people just may not have the discipline or determination to stick with the diet till they have gotten used to it. The temptations of junk food and other guilty pleasures may be constantly beckoning them and they give in and quit.
It happens. That’s one of the cons. This is a difficult diet to adopt.
If you have health problems such as high cholesterol, allergies, diabetes, inflammation, etc. the paleo diet has your name written all over it.
The paleo diet is rich in protein and it keeps your blood sugar levels stable and prevents insulin spikes. This prevents weight gain, helps control diabetes, prevents muscle loss, etc.
The diet is also very clean and that means it is anti-inflammatory. Most people on normal diets often complain of aches and pains for no reason. This is due to cell inflammation from food that is not good. No such problems with the paleo diet.
One of the cons of the paleo diet is that it is not suitable for vegetarians. Paleo dieters often do not balance their meals well. Too much protein is consumed without adequate carbs.
So, they’ll need to carefully keep track of what they eat. When food choices are limited, more attention is required to keep the diet balanced. A vegan who is on the paleo diet will need to track how much protein, iron, vitamins, etc. they’re consuming.
This is why it is essential to have a good paleo recipe book. At least then, you will have a variety of dishes to make and the dishes will address your nutrient requirements. Most people are creatures of habit and just eat the same food over and over.
Having a recipe book will challenge you to try new dishes and keep things interesting. Unlike people who are on a normal diet and are spoilt for choice when it comes to food, paleo dieters really have it tough.
It’s next to impossible to find a restaurant that serves paleo meals or even one that uses coconut oil in their cooking. That is why learning how to cook your own meals is imperative to succeeding with this diet.
You will need to assess your goals and weigh your options. If you’re willing to make sacrifices for better health and fewer health issues, you definitely want to adopt the paleo diet.
It is well worth the effort and can be truly life-changing.