Commonly known as the Caveman Diet is the Paleo diet!
Stop and think about our menu and common food choices of today. Has it changed much through each generation? What about our “staples” of today?
Chances are a quick look at them from the perspective of our great grand-parents would be enough to shock them silly when we look at the nutritional value, the ingredients, the preservatives and also the additives in the absolute majority of today's food! But it does not end there! That's just the view of a few generations back! What about looking at the changes in our nutrition and food choices from further back … in fact, way, way back to the simple hunter gatherer days of our ancestors?
In a return to a menu containing far less processed and man-made food, the Paleo diets main purpose is in improving the quality of our modern-day diet which has become significantly tainted.
The Paleo diet comes from the ideas that many of today's allergies, medical conditions and genes stem from the distance we have moved away from the life conditions through our evolution from caveman to now – a period of more than a million years.
It could easily be argued that many of today's nutritional and food health problems come from the fact that our bodies are not fully equipped to deal with the types of food we eat today. Even though our species has been around for what looks like forever, the human race has only been cultivating plants and farming for approximately 10,000 years.
10,000 years may seem like a long time but it is still not enough for humans to adapt our physiology and metabolism to different lifestyles. This refers specifically to our consumption of dairy products, many grains and also legumes. Our bodies and systems simply have not had the required time for our genes and physiology to adapt to eating these kinds of foods and as a result, today's society is rife with digestive and other dietary problems caused by consuming these types of foods. Just one common condition, lactose intolerance, has never been higher and I am sure you probably know some people with this troublesome condition.
But what exactly is the Paleo diet and its associated lifestyle?
At its most basic explanation, this diet is focused primarily on the eating habits of a typical caveman! Specifically, this means plenty of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables as well as lots of lean meats and proteins.
A major part of this diet however is what you are not allowed or recommended to eat and that means pretty much staying away from all processed and refined foods. A common message among those following the Paleo diet is that if it comes in a box, do not eat it! It sounds quite simple does not it?
The Paleo diet is certainly not a choice less menu and there are countless foods available and on offer within its parameters. Lean cuts of meat are a cruel feature of this diet and for those who are keen; you can also still eat a few of the organ meats like tongues and liver – like I said – if you are keen!
No dairy is also a big one and as briefly touched on above; dairy creates many a nutritional and health problem especially in those that are infected with Lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.
Eggs, a favorite of many, are definitely on the menu however it is still a good idea to only limit you to 6 or less eggs a week.
The Paleo eating plan also allows great freedom in the range of nuts. Although people will tell you nuts are too fatty, nuts are a great source of the good kind of fats – mono-unsaturated, and can also help to lower cholesterol as opposed to raising it!
Nuts have also been credited in reducing the risks of breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer and can also help reduce the risks of heart disease – another massive killer of our unhealthy population.
On the cons side when it comes to nut consumption, many people use Paleo meals and nutrition to lose weight. Nuts certainly do contain calories so they should be enjoyed only in moderation however as you continue your efforts on this diet you will certainly see increases in your metabolism which of course means that you will be able to eat more nuts and enjoy what they can do for you without gaining weight.
As said above regarding staying away from all foods that come in a box, while this is good general advice for this diet, there are also heaps more bad foods that should be avoided while on the Paleo diet.
Again, referring back to what the caveman had available to him sweet, sugary drinks are also a big no-no. In fact, sugar is pretty much off limits absolutely! Sugar while sweet and tasty, is perhaps one of the biggest causes of obesity, diabetes and other major heart and health problems simply because of its abuse in modern nutrition. Once there may have been a time where sugar was used within reasonable guidelines however today, sugar is rampant and is often in scary levels in our foods. You would also be amazed at some of the levels of added sugar in some of our foods that you would not even think had sugar or its associated by-products within it. Sugar products to avoid also include syrups and other sweeteners.
Grains are also not allowed while on the Paleo diet and that also includes all food products made with grains. Foods such as pancakes, cookies, pasta, rolls are all a no go for consumption when following the Paleo. Foods from the dairy cabinet like cream, butter and cheese are also off-limits.
In reading this, you may think that a diet such as the Paleo is extremely limited in its food and drink choices and there is no 100% denial of that assumption. As you look a little deeper however and explore the many options available, you will find that there are plenty of choices, recipes, cookbooks and more that now support the Paleo way of life
But let's not forget the many benefits you can gain for being on this diet that can more than make up for the sacrices you have made!
Weight loss is a real factor when following this diet as there is a heavy focus on high-protein meals. Studies have shown that an average person following a high protein diet over six months without even increasing their levels of physical activity can lose anywhere between 10 to 15 pounds and more. Combine this high protein with increased activity and exercise and the weight loss is multiplied even further!
This factor alone makes following the Paleo diet a great choice for anyone who wants to get healthy and drop some weight! Do not forget however the other amazing health benefits associated with this diet. Finally people have the ability to rid themselves of many of the nutritional health problems and ailments caused by eating foods your body just can not handle!
Nutritional choices like the Paleo diet, Paleolithic nutrition and even others like the blood type diet are not always the favored option when it comes to eating a rich variety of foods especially those that are yummy but are not good for you. However, when you stack up the benefits you can potentially gain, it all comes down to working out what you want most out of your life and what you are willing to do to get it.