The Paleo Diet is often referred to as the caveman, stone age, or Paleolithic diet. This is because it involves eating the foods that would have been easily available to our ancestors in order to lose weight and become healthier. It goes hand-in-hand with the hunter/gatherer lifestyle that many of our ancestors lived, which made them very physically active. Between the Paleo Diet and exercise, it is believed that you can become much healthier without having to count calories.
The Essentials of the Paleo Diet
When following the Paleo Diet, there are specific types of food you will want to seek out as well as many you will want to avoid.
Foods to Eat on the Paleo Diet
The most important thing to look for when on this diet is whole, unprocessed foods. Good choices include:
- Meat: Chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, and pork
- Eggs: A great source of protein – seek out free-range, Omega-3 enriched, or pasteurized eggs
- Seafood: Wild caught fish is a great choice. Shrimp and other shellfish are acceptable as well.
- Fruits: Most fruits are acceptable. Try apples, berries, bananas, avocados, pears, and more
- Vegetables: Kale, peppers, broccoli, carrots, onions, and more
- Nuts and Seeds: These are a great snack. Try walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and more
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Choose coconut oil, avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil when possible
Foods to Avoid on the Paleo Diet
It is equally important to avoid certain foods when following this diet, including:
- Grains: Including breads and pastas
- High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar: No sugary fruit juices, soda, candy, ice cream, pastries, etc.
- Dairy: Most dairy is to be avoided, particularly things that are “low fat”
- Artificial Sweeteners: Opt for natural sweeteners instead of sucralose, aspartame, or other artificial sweeteners
- Highly Processed Foods: Any food claiming to be “diet” or “low-fat” has been highly processed and should be avoided.
- Trans Fat: Found in many processed foods, as well as margarine
Eating a Paleo Diet in the Real World
With a little time and effort, you can fill your cart with Paleo-friendly items at almost any grocery store. It is still easy to enjoy a meal out with friends or family while on this diet as well. When you eat at a restaurant, avoid the pasta dishes and go with something meat or fish based. Substitute extra veggies for a bread or rice side. Finally, request that your food be cooked in either coconut or olive oil.