The Paleo Diet: A Quick Guide on What to Eat

The Paleolithic diet, also commonly known as the Paleo diet, has something to say: Obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and more health conditions are acquired through our inactive lifestyles and way of eating, which is jam-packed with sugar, fat, and processed food. To fix this, they proposed an eating pattern that cuts down modern food and for hunter-gatherer diets to come back. 

What is Paleo Diet?

A paleo diet is a diet plan that encourages the consumption of food that was eaten during the Paleolithic era, which was roughly 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. This usually includes food that could be acquired through hunting and gathering, such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The paleo diet also limits the intake of food when farming was popularized, including dairy products, legumes, and grains. 

It is believed that the Paleo diet is the most suitable diet for all of us. It reasons that the modern diet that came with farming practices is genetically mismatched to the human body. Because of the emergence of farming, food like dairy, grains, and legumes have become staple food, prompting a rapid change in diet and outpacing the body’s adaptability. 

This genetic mismatch is said to be the reason why we have health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases today. 

Paleo Diet’s Benefits and Disadvantages

Before shifting to the Paleo diet, here are a few pros and cons to this diet plan that you might want to consider. 

Paleo Diet

The Pros

Rich in Potassium. The Paleo Diet requires you to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables. This increases potassium levels, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure, as well as kidney and muscle function. 

Healthy Fats. The fats encourages in the Paleo diet are unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Moderate amounts of these promote a healthy lipid profile. 

High Protein. Lean protein is one of the encouraged food to consume in the Paleo diet. Protein is needed for the growth and development of the skin, muscles, and bones. The right amount of lean protein consumption promotes healthy body composition and a lowered insulin response. 

Elimination of Processed Food. The Paleo diet requires you to consume whole foods, which means less salt and sugar. This improved blood sugar levels and maintains healthy blood pressure. This also decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. 

The Cons

Elimination of entire food groups. The Paleo diet eliminates certain food groups, which can be a downside since this can mean that some essential nutrients and vitamins are eliminated from the meals. 

Less Calcium. A good portion of the population gets their calcium from milk, cheese, and yogurt. However, this diet plan restricts the intake of these which can lead to inadequate calcium consumption, resulting in low bone and tooth density. 

Elimination of whole grains and legumes. The restriction on whole grains decreased fiber intake, which can be detrimental to gut health. Legumes, as well are beneficial for gut health and are rich in magnesium, selenium, and manganese. However, the Paleo diet prohibits its consumption. 

Changing times. The Paleo diet is based on the diet from thousands of years ago, however, it is not possible to fully adopt the eating pattern. This is because animals and plants have evolved and are different compared to the Paleolithic era. 

Food to Eat

Here is the list of food you are encouraged to take while on the Paleo diet. 

  • Meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, and others
  • Fish and seafood, like salmon, trout, shrimp, shellfish. Wild-caught if possible
  • Eggs, specifically free-range, pastured, or Omega-3 enriched eggs. 
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, and tomatoes
  • Fruits, like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries
  • Tubers, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips
  • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Healthy fats and oils, like virgin olive oil, avocado oil
  • Salt and spices, sea salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, and others

Accepted Indulgences

Here are some accepted indulgences that are allowed to eat in small amounts. 

  • Wine. Quality red wine
  • Dark chocolate, specifically one that has 70% or higher cocoa content.

Food to Avoid

Here is the list of food to avoid if you are on a Paleo diet. 

  • Sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries 
  • Grains, including bread, pasta, wheat, rye, and barley
  • Legumes, beans, and lentils
  • Dairy. Most dairies are not allowed, especially low-fat
  • Some vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil 
  • Artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. Instead, natural sweeteners are encouraged. 
  • Highly processed food, food that includes additives and artificial meal replacements

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