The Paleo diet is a relatively new diet, according to the Harvard School Of Public Health, hit its peak in 2014, although it comes from the very ancient eating traditions our ancestors followed. Made popular initially by the CrossFit community for it’s more pure and holistic nature, This low carb diet goes by many different names including the hunter-gatherer diet, the Stone Age diet, and the caveman diet; all of which are names that describe the type of diet plan you will be following while on the Paleo Diet.
This diet is a modern diet that bases its meal plans on what our ancestors ate, or as best as possible in the modern world, such as animals and wild plants along with any other types of foods that were consumed daily during what is known as the Paleolithic era, about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. While the diet in question happened before the development of grains and other agricultural developments, some forms of the Paleo Diet will allow you to enjoy some plants found during the agricultural development. The important thing about the Paleo Diet is that you follow the diet of the ancestors back before agriculture as closely as possible.
Some of the Paleo Diet foods that you can expect to enjoy include fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, and fish along with some forms of nuts; any food that your ancestors enjoyed before having the luxury of agriculture and technology is allowed with this diet. This means that on the Paleo diet you cannot enjoy processed oils, sugar, salt, potatoes, dairy products, legumes, and grains simply because they were not around at that time.
The Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Some of the great benefits that you can discover when you get started on the Paleo diet will include:
Paleo can promote healthy cells and boost your immune system.
According to webmd, the paleo diet is good for immune system boosting. If you want to maintain your health, you must make sure that you keep your cells healthy and functioning properly. Every cell in the body is going to be made up of both unsaturated and saturated fats. Your cells depend on there being a nice healthy balance of the two so that they are able to send the right messages in and out at any time.
One thing that the paleo diet can help with is to provide that perfect balance that is needed between fats. Many other diets work on eliminating one fat over another. And while this may seem like the right answer to overall longevity, it is actually a recipe for disaster and can cause a lot of harm to the body. With the paleo diet, you will strike that healthy balance that the cells need. That healthy balance will lead to a healthy you and a healthier immune system.
Paleo Offers Clean Eating Options
There is a big movement in clean and healthy eating. The Paleo Diet plays right into this mode of healthy eating thinking. Many people are looking to clean up the foods that they consume and get rid of anything with extra sugar, too much salt, and other additives and chemicals that are bad for the body. You will quickly find that the paleo diet is one that emphasizes clean eating. It asks you to remove all of the unnatural and processed foods that you eat in your regular diet and replace them with health and whole ones.
This doesn’t mean that you will end up compromising on flavor and the enjoyability of the food just to improve your health. In fact, the more whole and nourishing the foods that you eat, the easier it is to avoid the cravings for the bad stuff. Fruits and vegetables are high on the list of approved paleo diet foods, and there if anything the freshness of the food you will be eating will help you enjoy your meals much more. You are allowed to indulge on this diet occasionally. But you will learn how to pick out options that are better for you. Instead of eating something out of the freezer section. For example, you may be more likely to choose some high-quality dark chocolate.
Movement & Exercise while on the Paleo Diet
While this low carb diet was initially made popular by the CrossFit community, there isn’t one kind of exercise regimen that works best on this low carb diet plan, it is highly recommended that you learn how to incorporate more movement into the various aspects of your daily life. While getting a workout at the gym can be nice, don’t limit yourself to just that. Take time to walk, dance, swim, hike, and bike just regularly for the fun of it.
Our ancestors were not people who just sat around and watched television all the time. They had to get up and move to keep entertained or to find the next meal. Make sure that you get up regularly and move around to get as much physical activity as possible. 10,000 steps per day is a good target to aim for.
Can Reduce inflammation
Did you know the paleo diet can help reduce inflammation in your body? Why? Many of the foods that cause inflammation are not allowed on this low carb diet. But, there are a lot of reasons why inflammation may be found all over the body. Sometimes this is a natural response when you get sick or have been injured, and the body is trying to take care of itself. Other times it is a chronic response to our lifestyle choices, and the longer it lasts, the harder it can be on the body. Chronic inflammation is often the root cause of many different conditions including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The paleo diet is able to help you eliminate the four main culprits of inflammation in the body including alcohol, sugar, gluten, and dairy. Sugar is one of the biggest reasons for inflammation in the body. When you are able to reduce these foods, you can give the body time to heal itself, and the inflammation will go away, providing you with some great results in your overall health. Learn more about foods that help fight inflammation.
Reduce Cravings For Bad Foods
In the beginning, you are going to have some cravings due to the diet’s low carbohydrate nature. You will want to have baked goods, potato chips, sugar and other foods that aren’t that healthy, but that your body is used to eating. But if you can make it through the first week or so on this low carb diet plan, and you make sure to really follow the eating guidelines, you will find that you are able to keep the cravings away, for the most part, making this diet plan more enjoyable than some of the others.
This diet plan asks you to increase the amount of protein and healthy fats that you consume, especially compared to the typical Western diet. So, in order to help stay full swap the chips and sugar-laced candy with almonds and apples. Almonds contain healthy fats that will help your body feel full, and apples contain fiber which is another healthy nutrient that helps your body feel satiated. Both of these nutrients are able to promote satiety. This means that you won’t end your meals on the paleo diet feeling deprived. You will feel full and satisfied and will be able to fight off those cravings.
But, again with the low carb nature of this diet, you can eat MORE. So, don’t go feeling hungry! A great healthy food to eat to help you stay feeling full is Avocados.
Improving Gut Health
Gut Health was a HUGE unknown positive side effect of the paleo diet that we discovered. Second, only to the brain, the stomach is an important area of your overall health. It is going to house trillions of gut flora and microbes that will help you in many ways. Some of the ways that these gut florae can help you include regulating your metabolism, boosting the immune system, synthesizing the vitamins that you consume, and aiding the digestion of food.
When the stomach isn’t working properly, you are going to feel it. You may deal with ulcers, heartburn, upset stomachs, and you may be more likely to get sick regularly. But when the stomach is working functioning as it should, you will find that you feel amazing. Your energy levels are higher, your mood is better, and you are able to digest the foods that you eat more efficiently.
The paleo diet helps improve your stomach by getting rid of the usual inflammatory culprits that irritate the gut like gluten and processed foods. As we talked before, due to the fact that this low carb diet cuts out a lot of those foods that cause inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal tract. And, It can also help by restoring the stomach with foods that promote good gut health. When these two things come together, it leads to a much healthier gut.
So, if you are having stomach issues or GI Issues you can try this diet out or just cut gluten out of your diet to see if it helps. It has helped us with some former diagnoses.
Promotes Good Heart Health
Another benefit that is said to be possible is that the paleo diet will improve heart health. There are many ways that this eating plan can help to make your heart health better. When you reduce the amount of processed foods that you eat and replace them with lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy ingredients, you can heal a bunch of different health conditions that could negatively affect your heart. Also, when you replace those unhealthy fats for the good fats found in more natural foods you will help reduce the likeliness of heart disease. However, moderation is key! Going overboard on red meat is not recommended. Too much red meat is high in saturated fats, and those can cause more harm than good. So, Make sure you balance your proteins better lower fat meat options like chicken, and turkey.
The paleo diet isn’t just about the foods that you eat and the foods that you do and don’t eat. It is more of a holistic approach to your health. This means that this diet plan works to treat the soul, body, and mind. While the diet portion of this is important, you will find that things like self-care and fitness are going to be just as important. This includes getting adequate amounts of sleep. When the body is fueled properly, you will find that it is easier to get the sleep that you need. Plus, the feeling of accomplishment of losing weight and looking more fit will help you have a positive self-image and will help you perform better at work, school, or in life.
Paleo Helps Weight Loss & Better Overall Fitness
We know that the reason you are looking for a diet is to lose weight. So, this section is somewhat of a non-factor for you more than likely so we will keep it brief. But, here is the great news! This diet will get you results very fast without you feeling drained or like you are having to eat super small portions. Due to the fact that this diet is low carb, and high in foods that are protein-rich your body will kick into a fat-burning state relatively quickly. Plus, when we eat too many carbs your body turns it into fat. So, by naturally reducing those foods and increasing your physical activity your body will start burning off that extra fat and weight.
Foods That are Allowed on the Paleo Diet
When starting a new diet figuring what foods are allowed and which ones are not can be a difficult task. And, the paleo diet is no different. Some of the rules can be confusing, but once you figure out what you can and can’t eat creating paleo meals is super easy! Below we will look at some of the foods that are allowed on this low carb eating plan, as well as some of those that you should avoid. Since the paleo diet plan is a bit more restrictive compared to other eating plans, you may need to make adjustments to your eating habits to make it work. But, once you get used to the rules and the foods that are allowed, you will find that following the paleo diet is one of the best decisions you ever made.
Foods that are allowed on the paleo diet
There are a lot of great foods allowed on the paleo diet! So, finding something good to eat is never an issue. It’s all in making sure you plan your meals so you won’t be tempted to grab some nonapproved snacks. There are a few different rules that you need to follow when it comes to eating on the paleo diet, but in general, you want to make sure that they include things that your ancestors were able to either gather or hunt. Some options you can choose from include:
- Healthy oils like coconut, avocado, macadamia, flaxseed, walnut, and olive.
- Nuts- almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts
- Seeds -sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chai seeds, flax seeds.
- Fruits ( organic fruits when possible)
- Vegetables ( organic veggies as much as possible)
- Fish and other seafood options- salmon,
- Grass-fed meat- chicken, turkey, red meat ( but don’t overdo it)
Types of Meats You Can Eat On The Paleo Diet
When it comes to the meat and seafood group of this diet, you will find that you can’t get enough. Meat is going to provide you with a great source of lean protein, and this protein will then, in turn, become the building block of every tissue and cell in the body. While most Americans don’t take in enough high-quality protein in their diet, those on the paleo diet will make this a staple and will work to get in plenty to keep them healthy. Protein helps to build up the cells and the tissues can help build muscle mass and ensures that you stay full for longer.
If possible, stick with grass-fed meat. This is because studies show that animals who follow a grass-fed diet had more of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can help to protect your heart and prevents inflammation. Since most Americans follow a diet that is high in trans and saturated fats and high in the bad fats, following this diet plan can help to reverse some of the negative side effects and can protect the body.
Seafood is encouraged, especially fish containing high omega-3 levels, such as salmon. Also, some shellfish are high in zinc which is excellent for immune system health! If your budget allows, go for wild-caught fish. Wild Caught salmon is delish!
Approved Fruits and Vegetables on Paleo Diet
There isn’t much of an argument against eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and all of the great health benefits that can come from eating more of them in your diet. Eating lots of fresh produce can provide your body with lots of great antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins to keep you healthy. You can fill up your plate with a ton of produce each meal, and it won’t take long before you notice the health and weight loss benefits.
The one thing to watch out for as a paleo dieter is that some starchy vegetables, including potatoes, and some of the fruits that have more sugar, such as bananas, should be limited or eliminated. If you go on the paleo diet to help you monitor your levels of blood sugars or to lose weight, then these should be options that you eat in moderation.
Fruits Approved On The Paleo Diet
I’m sure you’ve heard the song, “Fruit Salad.. Yummy, Yummy”. So, instead of eating a bowl of ice cream try switching it up to a bowl of fresh fruit! You’ll satisfy that sweet tooth and get loads of healthy antioxidants and vitamins! Some of the Approved fruits on the paleo diet include apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, blackberries, raspberries, etc. These do have sugar in them but it is natural sugar. And, the paleo diet is anti processed or added sugar to foods. If it comes naturally, then it is ok. But, again.. don’t overdo it. Keep your intake balanced.
Below is a more complete list of paleo fruits!
Try these great fruits while you are on the paleo diet!
Paleo Diet Approved Vegetables
What vegetables can you eat on the paleo diet? Well, Most vegetables are approved for the paleo diet. The great thing is that all of these vegetables can be easily roasted in the oven so you don’t have to eat them raw. One of our favorites is butternut squash. It is amazing!
Below is a list of the great vegetables you can eat on this low carb diet.
- Yellow Squash
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Sunflower Sprouts
- Broccoli Sprouts
Nuts, seeds, and other oils
The next food category that you can work with on the paleo diet is the nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. The first thing here is the nuts and seeds. These are going to contain a lot of healthy protein, fiber, and fats that your body needs to feel amazing. Plus, your ancestors were able to forage them back in ancient times so that they can be used in the modern paleo diet.
You will find that the oils that you are able to eat on this diet plan are going to be a bit trickier to work with. You will find that there are a few different types of oils out there, and you must make sure that you pick out the right ones so you can maintain this diet plan.
Did you know that some spices are paleo diet approved? So, adding spices to your foods may be something you want to consider.
Most spices and herbs are fine when you are on this plan. It is best if you are able to get them fresh or double-check that they aren’t prepared with extra sugars or other preservatives that can make them unhealthy and kicks them off the paleo plan. If you can, it may be worth your time to grow some of your own herbs and spices. This ensures that you know exactly where these herbs go, and you will be able to get lots of health benefits, while also adding in some extra flavoring to your meals.
Foods that aren’t allowed on the paleo diet
You will also find that there is a list of foods that you should avoid when you go on the paleo diet. These are often foods that your ancestors would not have had access to, and many of them are unhealthy and bad for the body anyway. Some examples of foods that you should avoid when you are on the paleo diet will include:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Refined vegetable oils
- Processed foods
- Refined sugar
- Legumes that would include options like tofu, lentils, beans, and peanuts
- Cereal grains and other wheat products.
- complex carbs
- regular potatoes
Well, we hope that this article helps you figure out if the paleo diet is right for you or not. As you can see it can be very simple to follow once you get the hang of it. But, if you are looking for a low carb and high nutrient-based diet paleo is a great one to try out. Let us know if you have had success or issues with paleo. We would love to hear about them!