New diets constantly pop up, each claiming to provide significant health benefits, but not all work. However, the Paleo Diet may be one of the best, considering it is technically the “first diet” ever created. It has a few other names, including The Caveman Diet, The Stone Age Diet, and The Ancient Diet.
The Paleo Diet was created to replicate how the first humans lived and ate. These people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, mostly eating fish, poultry, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
While this diet is based on the earliest known diet, the Paleo Diet wasn’t created until the 70s. Walter Voegtlin, a gastroenterologist, is the one to thank for it. He believed that our Paleoethological ancestors, dating from ten thousand to over two million years ago, can teach us a lot about eating healthy. While Walter Voegtlin was the one who came up with this idea, Dr. S Boyd Eaton was the one who made it famous. The Emory University professor believes the way humans ate at the beginning of time is how we were built to eat, even today.
A 1988 book he co-authored, titled The Paleolithic Prescription, argued that we aren’t built to consume the modern diets we so often eat. This has to do with the fact that our genetic makeup was established before agricultural societies were created.
Eaton even argues in his book that many of the most prominent illnesses today come from our modern diets.
The theory that the Paleo Diet is based on argues that agriculture and technology advanced too quickly for the human body to keep up and fully adapt. This would mean that there are only some foods we evolved enough to digest- the foods our ancestors ate in their hunter-gatherer societies.
“If a caveman didn’t eat it, a modern man shouldn’t eat it.”
That is the motto the Paleo Diet was founded on. This includes processed foods but also expands to include foods harvested by ranching and agriculture. Cane sugar, grains, dairy products, beans, and peanuts are all on the list of foods that cavemen didn’t eat. Any fruits and vegetables must be organic, and salt must be limited or not used. After all, cavemen didn’t salt their food.
The theory behind this diet sounds good and makes sense, but some scientists don’t think it is accurate.
Many anthropologists argue that early humans didn’t care about eating “clean,” They just ate whatever they could get their hands on. It was all about survival for them, with some scientists saying that early humans followed a diet similar to that of pigs. Neal Malik, a professor at Bastyr University, also spoke out, saying that people from thousands and millions of years ago ate different foods depending on where they lived. Some probably did eat beans and grains, possibly even more foods that would be off-limits for the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet became famous for its numerous health benefits, including weight loss. It is also sustainable, as it does not focus on trying to cut calories. People can be complete and satisfied but still lose weight.
The Paleo Diet has stayed popular and mainstream because it has become easier to follow over recent years.Paleo substitutes are everywhere, making it easier for people to follow this diet and providing easy access to transition from one diet to another. This adds convenience to a diet that felt more inconvenient than anything else just a few years ago. The complete lifestyle change that comes with the territory makes it feel like more than a diet, encouraging more people to try it. Today, the Paleo Diet is one of the most popular diets in the world.
A State University of New York survey reported that over three million Americans are following the Paleo Diet. In addition, Paleo was the most Googled term in 2013 for people searching for diets.
The surge in popularity started a few years ago, and it has just continued to grow as more studies are done to prove the health benefits of the Paleo Diet.
More and more people are turning away from modern foods in favor of this “re-discovered” way of eating. One appeal of this diet is how simple it is. People can plan meals, meaning less work goes into cooking and creating meals. This simplicity is where the Paleo Diet motto comes into play;
“Don’t live to eat, eat to live.”
Life shouldn’t revolve around food, your next meal, or how long it will take to prep dinner. The Paleo Diet takes this burden of life away, giving you more time to focus on the more critical aspects of your life.
Food to Eat and Food to Avoid
Like any diet, the Paleo Diet has certain foods that should be eaten and others that should be avoided whenever possible. There is no calorie cutting, just the concept of not eating past feeling full, so the main rule comes down to following the food lists.
This means eating the approved foods and avoiding those that should be avoided.
Foods to Eat In Paleo Diet
Vegetables: Vegetables will be the primary foundation for any meal eaten while following the Paleo Diet. The below lists covers some of the best veggies to use.
Fruit: Fruits are another tasty food that can be enjoyed on this diet, and they can also help to satisfy any cravings for sweets because sweets are for sure a food to avoid. When starting the Paleo Diet, stocking up on the below fruits is a good idea.
Proteins: Proteins are another staple of the Paleo Diet, but only specific proteins are allowed. Nothing processed. In addition, nearly any seafood is on the table. Protein can come from many food types; the list below sums up almost all of them.
|Free range chicken.
|Grass fed beef
Fish (wild-caught if possible)
Shellfish (wild-caught if possible)
Nuts and Nut Butters
Healthy Fats: The Paleo Diet relies on healthy fats to get the weight loss benefits. Many of the fat comes from the actual foods, but other fats will be needed to cook and flavor.
Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices are a great way to make veggies and other foods taste better than usual, which can be helpful when trying a new diet. Many spices have the Paleo stamp of approval, offering some health benefits that others don’t.
Sweeteners: While processed sweets are off-limits, natural sweeteners are not. Of course, there aren’t many of these that are Paleo-approved.
Drinks: Staying hydrated is extremely important, no matter what diet is being followed, even if no diet is involved. The Paleo diet includes more than just water for staying hydrated and healthy.
|Unsweetened sparkling water
|Low-sugar hard cider
Food To Avoid In Paleo Diet
The list of foods to avoid may look shorter, but it is less specific and has a broad range. The list of approved foods may be longer, but it is clear and hardly includes any fares not listed.
Food and Drinks to Avoid: Many modern foods should be avoided following the Paleo Diet. The following list only includes the top foods to stay away from.
|Refined vegetable oil
- Some various meals and snacks can be eaten when following the Paleo Diet. Some people choose to follow recipes, while others like to experiment with Paleo substitutes. No matter which one you plan on doing, the below meals and snacks are a perfect way to enjoy this diet.
- Caribbean Paleo Jerk Chicken: This chicken bakes in the oven, and there is not much prep time required. While it is full of spices already, adding just a little more never hurts.
- Curry Chicken: This is another pretty quick meal, and it comes full of wonderful Indian seasonings. The seasonings help to set it apart from other chicken-based Paleo meals.
- Healing Chicken Soup: This soup is the perfect Paleo day when you feel under the weather, or it is too cold outside to even think about leaving your house.
- Pecan-Crusted Salmon: The pecan crust on this salmon gives it that extra layer of flavorful goodness. It’s a favorite Paleo seafood dish for many.
- Zucchini Slow Cooker Paleo Lasagna: The zucchini in this dish is cut in a way that looks like pasta, and using zucchini adds much more flavor to the meal than traditional noodles.
- Slow Cooker Chili: This Paleo chili recipe includes vegetables, meat, and rich seasoning. The recipe makes a pretty spicy dish, so it is advised to leave out certain aspects of the herbs for something less hot.
- Paleo Pizza Crust: The recipe for this pizza crust makes it a Paleo meal, but once the crust is done, you can add the toppings you desire. Of course, to stay on track with the diet, it is best to ensure they are healthy.
- Flat Iron Steak: The steak used for this dish is typically grass-fed, and it goes well with some lovely green vegetables. It is a true example of a meal from our ancestors, made with food from our backyards and farmer’s markets.
- Show Off Lasagna: This meal is just as healthy as the zucchini lasagna but calls for many more vegetables. In addition, some beef sauce gives it the flavors traditionally found in lasagna.
- Sandwich Bread: While this dish isn’t its meal, it can be used in various ways, including for toast. The batter used hardly takes time, and it’s full of protein.
- Breakfast Casserole: This dish may have breakfast in the title, but it can be enjoyed at any meal. It is pretty easy to make, doesn’t take much time, and is an excellent meal when you need something over a few days.
- Chocolate Chili: This chocolate chili isn’t much different than other Paleo chili recipes, save for one prominent ingredient: cocoa powder. It is another good go-to for those winter months, and making the right amount can lead to leftovers for days.
- Paleo Mac and Cheese: This dish is delicious but shouldn’t be the central part of any meal. Many people say it pairs well with chicken. It is a healthy, Paleo version of traditional mac and cheese because of all the vegetables included in the recipe. The sauce made with it is versatile enough to be used on other foods.
- Slow Cooker Stuffing: Stuffing may typically be saved for Thanksgiving, but this Paleo option is often enjoyed year-round. This dish has a balance between sweet and spicy that can be described as nothing short of perfect.
- Bora Bora Fireballs: This dish is a Paleo alternative to meatballs. However, the mix of pineapple and coconut means it doesn’t taste nearly the same as traditional meatballs. That doesn’t mean they are less delicious; a batch can make a great side dish.
- Cilantro Maple Sriracha Chicken Wings: Almost everything this dish needs is in the name. The wings are full of flavor, and making them is so simple they can quickly become a weekly go-to meal.
- Pan Roasted Pork Chops: These pork chops are easy to make, and they are so tasty it is easy to see why they become a favorite Paleo dish for many people. It takes no time to make them, and they can pair well with almost any side dish.
- Chicken Salad with Green Apple: It wouldn’t be a list of diet foods without mentioning a salad. This dish is easy to make and contains protein and healthy fats.
- Bacon Chicken: This dish may not be the healthiest on the list, but these Paleo-approved ingredients remove some of the guilt of eating this. Of course, the bacon needs to be nitrate-free. It’s simple: chicken wrapped in bacon, but oh-so-satisfying.
- Parsnip Risotto: Traditional Risotto is full of grains, so those who love it must give it up for the Paleo diet. However, substituting parsnip makes for the perfect Paleo Risotto dish. It’s rich, silky, and creamy, something cauliflower substitutes could never reach.
- Autumn Spinach Salad: Salads are a general staple of dieting, and this one is considered one of the best. It is full of nutrients, and the ingredients create a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory. Some even call it a Paleo masterpiece.
- Cuban Vaca Frita: This is a traditional Cuban dish with the Paleo stamp of approval. It is slow-roasted, so you have hardly anything else to worry about once everything is in the crockpot. A pressure cooker can also be used to speed up cooking time. It is traditionally a Paleo dish, so there is nothing to cut out or substitute.
- Eggs in a Nest: This dish is perfect for breakfast. These are a unique spin on scrambled eggs and topped off with bacon to make them even tastier. They are straightforward to make; the only cooking utensil you need is a muffin tin.
- Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Mini Muffins: These may traditionally be eaten as a breakfast meal but also make a great snack. Plus, they are grain-free and gluten-free, meaning they have “Paleo Seal of Approval” written all over them. These mini muffins are melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
- Chicken and Dumplings: This dish is the epitome of comfort food. The bone broth gives it that savory taste in traditional chicken and dumplings. Of course, the Paleo version is healthy on top of being comforting.
- Tom Kha Soup: American dishes aren’t the only ones that fit into the Paleo Diet. This Thai cuisine is naturally Paleo, so there is no need to cut and replace with this meal. It is a simple soup, requiring just a few ingredients and no more than fifteen minutes, and the result is just sweet enough.
- Strawberry Watermelon Slushee: This slushie is summer in a glass. The sweetness of it makes it taste like something that wouldn’t fit into a diet, but the strawberries and watermelons make it healthy. It is the perfect snack for hot days spent bathing in the sun.
- Sweet Potato Bars: This portable snack is perfect for any occasion. They are delicious and full of nutrients, making for a great Paleo snack. They also make lovely breakfast bars and can be made with chocolate instead of sweet potatoes if you so desire.
- English Muffins: This dish makes a great snack but can also be enjoyed for an excellent breakfast. They take no time to prepare, and the recipe is easy to follow. The thing that many people love is the fact that the texture of these English muffins is just like that of traditional bread.
- Churros: The fluffy inside and crunchy outside of these churros make them an absolute work of art. A nice dusting of cinnamon and sugar gives them the perfect delicious taste. The fact that they are grain-free makes them the perfect Paleo snack. A side of ice cream only adds to this tasty treat.
- Chocolate Fudge Frosting: This recipe is not specifically a snack but more something to add with dessert to make it even sweeter. You can even dip fruit or use it on cupcakes, whatever your heart desires.
- Lemon Cookies: Paleo lemon cookies are meant to melt in your mouth. They are a great snack, whether you have them around brunch or right after dinner.
- Paleo Banana Bread: While the recipe for this typically makes banana bread, it can be used to create waffles, pancakes, and numerous other dishes. This meal is versatile, making a great snack or dessert.
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies: This would make a good alternative for those who don’t like lemon cookies or prefer something more chocolatey. When it comes to many recipes, you wouldn’t even know they were a Paleo dish without anyone telling you.
- Chai Tea Muffins: These would make a good snack or breakfast item. These nourishing treats are also allergy-free so that anyone can enjoy them!
Hidden Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet: From Clearer Skin to Enhanced Mental Well-being
One big reason many people are turning to the Paleo Diet is the numerous health benefits. Studies have been done to prove how healthy this diet can be, though some experts disagree on certain benefits. These various possible benefits offer their reasons for trying out the Paleo way of living.
Skin health is not a more popularized benefit, but it is there. Following the Paleo Diet has been seen to reduce blemishes and smooth out skin. Some even report their skin having a much healthier “glow.” This may have to do with cutting out processed foods that contain high fructose corn sugar and high-glycemic foods.
A woman from Satellite Beach, Amy Mayo, claims to have started the Paleo Diet back in 2011 as a way to combat her cystic acne. This was after trying multiple creams and tonics and even laser treatments. Amy Mayo had already heard about the diet but never really gave it a second thought since she knew it was mainly used to lose weight.
However, people all across the internet began praising the diet for completely transforming lousy skin, and May decided it would be worth a shot to give it a chance.
The improvements were so drastic that Mayo continues following a strict Paleo diet. The vegetables, poultry, seafood, and fermented foods packed with nutrients helped eliminate all her skin-related issues.
However, Amy Mayo’s journey is not the only proof of how a Paleo Diet can improve skin health. Monique Judge is a licensed esthetician who often recommends the Paleo Diet to her patients.
She says that the diet itself doesn’t clear up skin. It’s the result of cutting out all of those high-carb unhealthy foods. This eliminates all the factors that typically lead to inflammation and other skin issues. One example is that cutting out sugar leads to less inflammation and fewer breakouts.
Activity in sebaceous glands is a massive cause of acne, and reducing how much you consume dairy can cause less activity in these glands. Gluten is something else known to irritate the skin and cause breakouts. Dairy and gluten products are cut out, or at least reduced, when following a Paleo diet.
Acta Derm Venereol is a scientific journal that Monique Judge often references, as it is a published study conducted over ten weeks to see how a Paleo Diet would affect skin health.
At the end of the ten weeks, all patients had less acne, their oil glands were more minor, and they produced fewer acne-causing hormones.
Researchers claimed it was from cutting sugars, dairy, gluten, and even more foods out of their diets and replacing them with more nutritious Paleo options.
The Paleo Diet can do even more than clear up skin; it also increases your energy throughout the day and can boost your immunity.
Amelia Votapka is a dietician who states our bodies can more easily digest whole foods that haven’t been overly processed. The nutrients from these foods are turned into energy more efficiently than sugar-filled processed foods. These unhealthy foods skyrocket blood sugar, but the Paleo Diet cuts them out.
Eating more nutritious food will lead to more energy throughout the day, without the risk of a sugar crash, and can boost the body’s immunity to illness.
Amelia Votapka uses those two reasons to argue why the Paleo Diet works.
Blood glucose levels tend to stay low when following a Paleo Diet because no sugars are consumed; there is less chance of your blood glucose levels spiking. While those who have diabetes should be cautious of this and consult with a doctor, leveling out blood glucose levels can help prevent diabetes in those who don’t yet have it.
The Paleo Diet can prevent diabetes, but balancing blood glucose levels also helps you lose weight and contributes to your feeling good overall.
The Paleo Diet relies heavily on meat, which has been known to contribute to leaner muscles. This mainly concerns all of the proteins we get from the heart. These proteins can also encourage muscle growth if you lift weights or something to that extent while following this diet.
Looking back at our ancestors, it makes sense that a Paleo lifestyle leads to leaner and bigger muscles. They stayed in shape well, which also had to do with the fact that they had to be ready for an attack from wild animals at a moment’s notice.
That is not a problem we must face today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay in tip-top shape like our ancestors did. Being in shape can also help us to deal with stress, and while we may stress out about different things than those from the Stone Age, we still stress out, and anything that helps combat that is worth a shot.
One health benefit of the Paleo Diet that is often overlooked is its gluten-free diet. Following it means cutting out wheat and gluten, and gluten has already been proven to cause issues for the human body. It can disrupt the digestive system and cause weight gain, which is not a problem reserved for those with a gluten intolerance.
Cutting out gluten can improve your body all around. For those with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, this is only more of a reason to try the Paleo Diet.
In addition, the Paleo Diet can directly fight off illness and disease, including heart disease and cancer. For one, Paleo-approved foods reduce inflammation and contain antioxidants and phytonutrients. Those two things found in Paleo food are often credited with having the ability to prevent several diseases and illnesses. Antioxidants and phytonutrients are often credited with having the power to ward off cancer and heart disease.
However, the Paleo Diet does not fight off disease just from the food it contains. A big reason that a Paleo Diet leads to less illness is because of the foods you will directly avoid. This mainly means fast food and junk food. You will be replacing these unhealthy foods with natural versions, and in doing so, you will be increasing your overall well-being.
This diet can also help you sleep better, which can be great for tossing and turning all night. A big reason for insomnia and restlessness comes from chemicals and additives in most junk food and fast food.
These chemicals and additives will override serotonin, our brain’s natural chemical that helps us get tired when it is time to sleep. Following a Paleo Diet will eliminate all of these foods that override serotonin. This will make you feel tired earlier at night and unable to sleep. It will also help you to wake up earlier while feeling energized for the day.
This happens because the Paleo Diet helps our bodies to get into the rhythm of waking and sleeping that our ancestors were used to. Go to sleep early, wake up early.
Following a Paleo Diet has also been known to have a detoxing effect on your body. This happens when it flushes out all the bad-for-you junk accumulated in your system. This includes sugars, trans fats, gluten, caffeine, and even more waste that drags you down.
After just a few weeks of living by a Paleo Diet, all that will be out of your system. Many people claim that this helps them to feel lighter and happier.
The detoxing effects can be good news for those looking for a way to flush out their system. Most detoxing diets mean consuming just juice and shakes for days and weeks, but with a Paleo detox, you can still enjoy full meals. It is a much more natural way to flush all the waste out of your system.
Weight Loss is why many people start dieting, and following a Paleo Diet can make shedding off those extra pounds feel effortless. You will eat natural and healthy food while cutting out all the junk food that is bad for you.
This alone will make the weight feel like it is just falling off. Some diets make people resent them and crave old foods they are told not to eat. However, the Paleo Diet has a very different effect.
People have fun and feel good living a Paleo lifestyle, so it is much easier to stick to the diet. Enjoying your diet and wanting to keep at it can help with weight loss because you don’t feel forced into something you hate. Hating your diet is just asking for a chance to slip off track and start eating unhealthy foods again.
A Paleo Diet is more enjoyable to follow, helps extra weight fall off, and is so simple that it doesn’t feel like a huge burden. You can diet and lose weight without it consuming your life. “Don’t live to eat; eat to live.”
While the Paleo Diet has numerous health benefits, it is also a great way to improve mental health. Our brain is the most essential part of our body. It controls everything we are, and many Paleo-approved foods can enhance our brain’s function.
High-quality foods full of nutrients are essential for our brain to perform the functions it is meant to. While numerous things can affect brain health, diet is a huge one. One way that the Paleo Diet can help our brains is by fighting off stress.
Stress is a huge issue today; too much stress has been known to damage brain cells. Foods that are high in quality contain nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can protect our brains from this high level of stress.
However, the Paleo Diet can do even more to improve your mental health and performance. For one, it can help you better control your emotions and regulate your mood. This mainly concerns your body’s serotonin levels, as a poor diet can override them.
Serotonin is a huge factor in regulating mood; over ninety percent of it is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. This means diet can directly impact production, and eating foods that allow harmful bacteria to build up in your gut can have negative consequences.
The lack of good bacteria will limit how many nutrients you get from your food, and fewer nutrients means less serotonin. It is typical for people to eat these unhealthy foods, and the lack of serotonin it causes can lead to less mood regulation, little control over emotions, and depression.
Consuming a Paleo Diet means that what you eat will be nutrient-dense and produce only good bacteria in your gut. This will allow serotonin to be made as it should be, and your overall mental health will ultimately thank you.
Brain fog is also a big issue and something that nearly everyone will have to deal with at some point in their lives. It is described as an inability to focus and can severely hinder productivity.
Several issues can cause it, but sleep deprivation or a poor diet are the most common. For someone who has brain fog because of diet, trying the Paleo Diet is sure to get rid of the problem. Even those who experience it because of a lack of sleep should try this diet because it has been known to help people sleep better.
The Paleo Diet can get rid of brain fog for many different reasons. One comes into play for gluten-intolerant people because the diet eliminates gluten. Gluten can cause brain fog, especially for those sensitive to it, so cutting it out will stop the issue.
A Paleo Diet also stabilized blood sugar levels, and irrational levels have been known to cause brain fog. Carbs are cut out, so you won’t have to deal with sudden drops or spikes in your blood sugar levels.
However, it is essential to remember that when you first start the Paleo Diet, you may experience brain fog because of the lack of carbs. This is because a typical diet relies heavily on carbs, and your body has to get used to functioning without them. After a week, maybe even two, the brain fog will be gone, and you will start to feel better.
During those first few weeks, your body is turning to ketones for fuel, so you might feel off while this is happening. But once your body has fully adapted and adjusted, you will feel better overall and should not experience any brain fog.
While feeling fuller may not technically be a health benefit, it can help when following a new diet. The Paleo Diet is full of healthy fats and nutrients meant to keep you feeling full from one meal to the next. This drastically reduces the odds of you falling off course or having a cheat day.
The Paleo Diet is a simple way of eating. It provides you the benefit of knowing what you will have for every meal up to a week in advance. This can be a burden off of your chest and leave you time to focus on other matters at hand.
Despite the health, mental, and lifestyle benefits, certain people still should wait to follow a Paleo Diet. These people should avoid it for various reasons, as laid out by experts who claim a Paleo way of living is not for everyone.
Lauren Popeck is a registered dietician who claims the Paleo Diet is not for everyone. Some of her patients who want to try it find it challenging to stay on track, as they miss the foods they are used to too much to keep going.
Cutting out dairy, beans, and other foods that many people love means there is a steep learning curve to adopting this way of eating. It can be hard to do, and Popeck even admits that it is not her top choice diet.
Amelia Votapka agrees that the learning curve can be challenging, and it is a difficult diet to get used to, but she also claims the benefits you will get from a Paleo Diet make it worth it in the long run.
The Paleo Diet is chock-full of health benefits, but there are some things to be aware of before diving right in, and most of them have to do with the foods you will have to give up.
Cereal grains are something the Paleo Diet asks you to cut out, leading to a lower carbohydrate intake. In addition, these cut-out grains are good sources of vitamin B, fiber, iron, magnesium, and selenium. All these contribute positively to your overall health, so cutting them out should not be done lightly.
Low carbohydrate intake leads your body to turn fat into energy, but your body could start to overuse the fat. This overuse is called ketosis, which means your body is creating and using more ketones for energy than it needs to.
Ketosis causes ketones to build up in the bloodstream, which can cause dehydration and lead to comas from metabolic abnormalities.
In addition, the low consumption of carbohydrates can make exercise extremely difficult. When we work out, our body burns carbohydrates, but following a Paleo Diet means we don’t have many of those in our system. This means our body will start burning fat instead, but that isn’t the only thing.
Working out without having carbohydrates in your system will also cause your body to burn muscles as energy. It breaks down muscle mass, which can also cause your metabolism to run faster. While this will lead to weight loss, it will also hurt your muscles in the long run.
Muscle breakdown presents itself in fatigue and exhaustion while exercising and throughout the day.
Cutting out and reducing dairy intake is a big part of the Paleo Diet, but it can also lead to some overall health issues if not done correctly. Dairy is a good source of calcium and vitamin D; cutting it out can cause a deficiency that negatively impacts bone health.
The Paleo Diet also heavily uses saturated fats, as it is a pretty fat-heavy diet, but this can also have a negative impact. Consuming too much saturated fats has been known to cause kidney and heart disease and possibly cancer.
These risks are something to remember if you want to try the Paleo Diet. The diet itself has aspects that fight off disease and illness, but the intake of saturated fats can have a negative connotation.
Red meat is something else that goes hand in hand with saturated fats in terms of intake. Consuming both of these runs the risk of bowel cancer and bad cholesterol. It is important to note that thirteen grams of saturated fat is the recommended intake by the American Heart Association.
Those following the Paleo Diet tend to consume up to fifty grams daily. This is because of the red meat consumed daily, which tends to be high in fat.
Considering the above risks regarding the red meat and saturated fats you will be eating on this diet is essential.
The Paleo Diet tends to section food into excellent or bad sections, which can also hurt those trying to follow it. Calling a diet “one size fits all” can be problematic and can lead to poor self-worth at the end of the day.
People with an all-or-nothing way of thinking will likely experience guilt and shame if they slip up and eat something that doesn’t align with the Paleo way of eating.
In addition, some experts argue that the evolution reasoning behind the Paleo Diet doesn’t hold up. These experts claim that humans evolved to eat modern foods, and a Paleo Diet isn’t essential to health.
This argument claims that humans are ever-evolving, continuing over the past ten thousand years with no evidence of stopping anytime soon.
However, there is still the side of research where experts claim modern food has led to modern diseases and issues, from obesity to diabetes.
Consider whether the Paleo Diet is proper for you.
It is backed up by heavy research, with studies proving the numerous health benefits the diet holds, which can be more than worth it for many people. Of course, there are also negative impacts of this Paleo diet and lifestyle that can keep many away.
This means it comes down to the person deciding if this diet will work for them and how they want to live.
Common Questions and Misconceptions Explained
Like any diet, numerous questions and misconceptions are floating around that people want to learn the truth about before considering converting to a Paleo way of living. There are too many questions to count, but the list below attempts to tackle some of the most common and popularized.
Question: How Does This Diet Work?
Answer: As addressed in previous chapters, the point of the Paleo Diet is to eat the way our ancestors did. Specifically, eating the way that they ate before agriculture came into play. This would mean that following the Paleo Diet is following the same diet your relative from three hundred and thirty-three generations ago probably lived by.
These Paleo-approved foods have high nutritional value and promote good physical and mental health. This includes weight loss, clear skin, more energy, better sleep, and more.
Question: How Is It Different from Other Diets?
Answer: The Paleo Diet is unique because it is meant to be in tune with how our ancestors lived, while modern diets focus on finding new ways to eat. It is not a diet designed by anyone but simply a way of eating and living that researchers have rediscovered.
It is based on scientific research that delves into the past and attempts to take us back to a rediscovered way of eating and living that hunter-gatherers were used to. It is based on natural foods that can theoretically be found in our backyards and cuts out all modernized foods.
Question: How Will It Help with Weight Loss More Than Other Diets?
Answer: It is a common idea that losing weight means burning more calories than we consume while eating low-fat plant-based foods. The first part is genuine, but following a diet like people assume they should doesn’t work out.
People tend to have an unpleasant feeling while still feeling hungry. In addition, most people report that losing weight this way doesn’t last, and they gain weight quickly after the initial loss.
The Paleo Diet is an alternative to this and can produce lasting results. It has higher fats than most diets but includes healthier food options and more protein. Protein is better at weight loss than fat or carbohydrates and does more to speed up the metabolism, which can help unwanted weight fall right off.
In addition to shedding weight, the Paleo Diet helps keep the weight off long after it has been lost.
Question: What Are Other Health Benefits?
Answer: The Paleo Diet has numerous health benefits in addition to weight loss, many of which were already addressed in the previous chapter. These benefits include balancing blood sugar and insulin levels, improving sleep quality, boosting energy, controlling mood and emotions, and fighting depression.
This has to do with the healthy foods consumed, such as fruits and vegetables and other foods high in protein and nutrients.
Question: How Will I Get Enough Calcium Without Consuming Dairy?
Answer: Experts argue against the Paleo Diet because it requires cutting out dairy, which can lead to insufficient calcium and hurt bone health. Strangely enough, Americans have the highest calcium intake compared to other countries but also the highest rates of osteoporosis.
This happens because calcium intake is not the only thing that keeps bones healthy. Bone health also comes from our net calcium balance: calcium intake minus excretion. Many experts consider calcium intake more than excretion, but the second aspect of our calcium balance is just as important.
Bone health depends on dietary acid/base balance just as much as it does on calcium intake. Any food we eat is put into one of two categories after digestion: acid or base. Alkaline stores and then buffers all acids. Calcium salts in our bones are the body’s biggest alkaline stores.
High-acid-producing foods include cereal grains, salted foods, and hard cheeses. On the other hand, the only base-producing foods are fruits and vegetables.
The Paleo Diet encourages less consumption of high-acid foods and more base-producing foods, which keeps the calcium balance in bones how it should be. While cutting out dairy will lead to less calcium intake, keeping the acid and base balance that the Paleo Diet suggests will keep your bones at peak health.
Question: Why Should I Avoid Putting Salt on My Food?
Answer: Putting salt on your food while following a Paleo Diet can lead to poor bone health. Cutting out dairy but still consuming salt is when a lack of calcium consumption can come into play to impact your bone health.
Our bones are meant to store calcium, but salting food will cause our bodies to stop in those calcium stores. Depleting them from the bones puts you at risk for bone deterioration and osteoporosis. Thanks to this, it is best to keep salt out of as many meals as possible.
Question: Does A Meat-Based Diet Not Promote High Cholesterol and Heart Disease?
Answer: The meat that our ancestors from the Stone Age ate was quite different than the meat we eat today, primarily because of what animals ate back then compared to what they are fed today. For example, look at the heart of a buffalo compared to the same size T-bone steak.
A one-hundred-gram cut of roast buffalo has 2.4 grams of fat and .9 grams of saturated fat, with two hundred and fifteen milligrams of omega-3, three fatty acids that promote heart health. A T-bone steak, also one hundred grams, contains twenty-three grams of fat and nine grams of saturated fat while only having forty-six of these heart-healthy fatty acids.
While saturated fats have been known to raise cholesterol, it has been found in recent studies that they don’t harm heart health much.
When following a Paleo Diet, it is recommended to seek out meat from free-range or grass-fed animals. That is because these animals are more similar to wild animals that our ancestors ate and are far healthier than most meat the typical American consumes.
In addition, they are higher in protein, and high protein intake has been known to lower risk factors that can cause heart disease.
Question: How Can I Get the Nutrients from Whole Grains If I Have to Cut Them Out?
Answer: Whole grains might be a pretty good source of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins, but they are considered a pretty poor source of these essential nutrients when compared to grass-fed and free-ranging meats, seafood, and fresh fruits and veggies that are common in the Paleo Diet.
For example, look at a serving of fruits and veggies that equals one thousand calories. It has up to seven times as much fiber as a similar serving of whole grains. In addition, the fibers found in fruits and vegetables are more heart-healthy and produce lower cholesterol levels. Most whole grains contain fibers that are considered to be insoluble.
A one thousand-calorie serving of whole grains contains substantially less calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper than found in a similar serving size of fruits and veggies.
In addition, whole grains contain something called phytate, which almost wholly prevents our bodies from absorbing calcium, iron, and zinc. These properties in grass-fed meats and seafood are easily absorbed in the body, making them an excellent substitute for whole grains.
Question: Can You Follow the Paleo Diet If You Are A Vegetarian?
Answer: The Paleo Diet is based on what our ancestors ate during the Stone Age, including meat. Diets became more plant-based after the agricultural era, but this came after the ancestors we are trying to emulate with the Paleo lifestyle.
Vegans and vegetarians rely heavily on legumes, which the Paleo Diet cuts out almost completely. It has also been shown that these vegan/vegetarian diets can lead to health issues and vitamin deficiencies.
Simply put, it is impossible to be a vegetarian or vegan while following a Paleo Diet.
Question: Can You Follow the Paleo Diet Without Being Rich?
Answer: Many people wonder if they can follow this diet on a budget, and they definitely can. Experts on the diet claim that specific ways of following the Paleo Diet, since there are multiple out there, are the cheapest diets to follow.
One researcher discussed in his book Primal Body Primal Mind that a Paleo Diet is substantially cheaper than the standard American Diet. It comes out at around fifteen hundred dollars cheaper per year per person.
Since the Paleo Diet is nutrient-based, you can keep yourself full, satisfied, and healthy with less food. You will no longer be spending countless dollars on soda, junk food, fast, dairy, and more that is cut out with this diet. By cutting out all that food, spending a little less for the more nutritious vegetables and meats means nothing. You will still end up saving money.
So, no, the Paleo Diet is not only for the rich. It is budget-friendly, the most budget-friendly diet out there.
Question: Is There Anyone Out There Who Should Avoid This Diet?
Answer: Someone with a severe illness or medical condition should talk to a doctor before any significant diet changes, including switching to the Paleo way of eating. Even if the difference would be positive for their wellbeing, it can still come with quite the learning curve, and those with health issues should be extra cautious until their bodies have adapted.
In addition, people with gallstones or people who are prone to biliary attacks need to resolve those issues before trying out the Paleo Diet. The diet uses high natural fats, which can cause these issues.
While there are countless questions about the Paleo Diet, and we did manage to answer some of the more common ones, tons of misconceptions give this lifestyle a bad name and turn people away before they even give it a shot.
One misconception, a more popularized one that tends to annoy experts and researchers, is that the Paleo Diet is about gorging on meat like brutes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This goes hand in hand with the misconception that those following a Paleo Diet don’t care about the welfare of animals or the planet. Once again, this is not true.
Meat-eating is seen as destructive to the planet, but the Paleo Diet and lifestyle have a more natural approach. The Paleo Diet is about humanely harvesting grass-fed animals, and there is a way to do this without depleting natural resources from the Earth. Our ancestors could follow this lifestyle without harming the planet or destroying animal populations, which the Paleo Diet is still trying to do today.
The Paleo Diet being a fad is another misconception, which is fair considering all the diet trends that come and go in any given year. However, this is not a new diet, just a rediscovered one that has existed since the beginning. Thanks to this, it is impossible for the Paleo Diet to be considered a fad, as it has always been around and does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Some call it a grassroots movement or even an anti-fad diet, considering it is more of a lifestyle than a diet in many ways.
Many people assume that the Paleo Diet is more carnivorous than anything else, but that is another misconception that is not true. Yes, the diet relies on meat, but it also depends on seafood, vegetables, and fruit. Many people even choose to eat more seafood in place of heart.
Meat is a staple of the Paleo Diet, that is true, but people can get their fill of Paleo-approved foods from other sources, like fish, vegetables, and even coconuts. It is a well-balanced diet, despite what some people choose to believe about it.
We have already addressed that the Paleo Diet can be budget-friendly, but there is still the misconception that it is an elitist and expensive way of eating. This is partly due to celebrities and other influencers promoting and raving about it, but that is hardly the diet’s fault.
Just because the people discussing it are rich does not mean you have to be rich to follow it. Yes, organic kale is more expensive than Twinkies, but the point is you would not be buying junk food at all anymore. The cost of organic food may be higher, but you will save money by cutting out all of the junk food that typically piles up during a grocery run.
Junk food being so much cheaper than organic healthy food is an entirely different issue rooted in the heart of our economy and has nothing to do with the Paleo Diet.
The Paleo Diet calls for cutting out entire food groups; many have called this unhealthy, but that is untrue. This diet calls for cutting out food groups because they were not around for our ancestors to enjoy, and we are trying to get more in tune with them with this lifestyle.
Nothing is found in dairy and whole grains that cannot be found in other food groups. There is proof enough of this found in the fact that we survived over ninety percent of our history without having them around. Dairy and whole grain only came to us thanks to the agricultural era about ten thousand years ago.
The Paleo Diet is often called the caveman diet. It is usually accompanied by pictures of Neanderthals hunting for food, so it is easy to see where the misconception of it being more suited for men came from. However, that is not true. After all, women were part of the era we are trying to replicate and would have eaten the same foods as men.
While the Paleo Diet has a pretty basic concept and food groups that apply to everyone following it, it is a more than one-size-fits-all diet that many believe it to be. Everyone is different and will find other ways to enjoy the Paleo Diet and lifestyle.
There may be certain foods to avoid, but there are no set meal plans that you have to stick to or a limited number of calories that you have to worry about every day.
The Paleo Diet is nothing more than a path to a healthier lifestyle, and there are numerous ways to follow that path.
The Power of Community, Lifestyle, and Exercise”
Food is a big part of the Paleo Diet, but three other things play a significant role in the Paleo way of life. This includes the community, the lifestyle, and exercise. Each of these things means something different, but they all work together to bring a sense of balance to the Paleo Diet and make it a more enjoyable experience.
The Community: Being part of the Paleo Community can happen in several ways. For one, there are countless blogs out there that can help you at every step of this journey.
People write about their favorite meals, tips for staying on track, why they chose this diet, etc. They then share these stories with others, creating a small community. You can follow these blogs or even start one of your own to feel more at home in the Paleo Community.
Blogging and sharing stories is the best way to join this community; there are also Paleo-centered events. This includes conferences, lectures, and meetups.
While there is little on that front, more events will pop up as other people join the Paleo Community and strive to get involved.
The Paleo Diet is a lifestyle that turns eating into something simple and less of a burden. Our lives are consumed by food, even more so than we think, in terms of figuring out what to eat and then actually cooking it.
With a Paleo Diet, you don’t have to worry about this. Meals are effortless to make, and meal prepping is a huge part of it, so some days, you will barely have to give your meals a second thought. Taking away this burden and stress means you can live more of your life and be more productive.
The essential lifestyle premise of the Paleo Diet is not letting what you eat consume you anymore.
Lifestyle can also incorporate the Paleo Community and exercise, depending on how you choose to define it in your own life.
“Do what you were designed to do.”
That is one of the mottos of the Paleo Diet, and it applies to exercise as much as it does to eating. Practice often goes hand in hand with dieting, but training is looked at differently regarding the Paleo Diet.
Our ancestors did not start their days with an hour at the gym, and there is no reason for us to do that either. However, our ancestors were substantially more active. There were no cars; they had not even domesticated horses yet, so they walked everywhere.
Exercising on the Paleo Diet means adding more movement into your everyday life. While you can get this movement done on a treadmill, it is recommended that it is done outside in the fresh air. This can mean walking a lot more, and some people on the Paleo Diet claim that CrossFit is the perfect exercise.
Bodyweight exercises are adapted to your fitness level. It is tailored to everyone and perfectly fits the Paleo Diet.
In addition, over-exercising is a thing, and the Paleo Diet warns people away. Movement should be encouraged, but there is also time for resting and recovering before the next day.
The community, lifestyle, and exercise that come with the Paleo Diet mean something different to every individual, so to get the most out of this diet, you need to find out what those three terms mean to you and how you will incorporate them into this diet.
Exploring the Paleo Diet’s Benefits and Myths
“Most People Have No Idea How Good Their Body Is Designed to Feel.” – Kevin Trudeau.
The Paleo Diet is an ancient way of eating and living. Following the Paleo Diet means following how our ancestors lived before the agricultural era began. This means cutting out entire food groups in favor of natural, organic, and healthy foods.
By consuming these healthier food options, you can see numerous health benefits, like weight loss, clear skin, and improved sleep. This diet can help combat more severe issues like cancer and heart disease. Of course, people with specific health problems should consult a doctor before making any significant diet changes.
This diet is trendy, which has led to numerous questions and several misconceptions floating around. However, we were able to answer many of those questions and even debunk a few misunderstandings along the way.
You need to sit down and consider whether the Paleo Diet is right for you and if it can offer the benefits you seek. If you decide to follow the Paleo way of living, the following words may encourage you.
“Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe.
“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” – Wayne Dyer.
“What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows.” – Ralph Marston.
“Stop wishing. Start doing.” Anonymous.
If all else fails, remember the two mottos on which the Paleo Diet was built.
“Don’t live to eat, eat to live,” and “Do what you were designed to do.”
Free 28 Paleo Diet Plan PDF
|Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
|Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
|Baked salmon with asparagus
|Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts)
|Sweet potato and sausage hash
|Tuna salad lettuce wraps
|Beef stir-fry with broccoli and cauliflower rice
|Carrot sticks with guacamole
|Frittata with mushrooms, onions, and peppers
|Turkey and avocado lettuce wraps
|Grilled shrimp with mixed vegetables
|Sliced cucumber with salsa
|Coconut milk chia pudding with berries
|Chicken and vegetable soup
|Pork chops with roasted Brussels sprouts
|Celery sticks with almond butter
|Omelette with bell peppers and onions
|Salmon and avocado salad
|Beef stew with carrots and celery
|Cherry tomatoes with olives
|Banana and almond butter smoothie
|Leftover beef stew
|Grilled chicken thighs with zucchini noodles
|Spinach and mushroom omelette
|Mixed greens salad with grilled steak
|Baked cod with lemon and garlic, served with steamed broccoli
|Sliced bell peppers with hummus
You can use this format as a starting point and customize it to suit your preferences while ensuring that it aligns with the principles of the Paleo Diet. Repeat this meal plan for three more weeks to create a comprehensive 28-day plan. Adjust portion sizes and calorie intake based on your specific dietary needs and goals.