What is the Paleo diet? It is a nutritious real foods diet that eliminates processed foods as well as grains. The Paleo diet is the original human diet, designed by nature itself, that we are genetically programmed to eat. The Paleolithic diet, also called the caveman diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet, is a simple and healthy way of eating based upon the wild plants and animals that mankind ate during the Paleolithic era. It is the diet humans have subsisted upon for more than two million years.
Farming and Modern Civilization
Prior to the advent of farming, we were hunter-gatherers who lived on animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, and game, and we foraged for vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Our Stone Age ancestors were nomadic cavemen who roamed the earth. Then 10,000 years ago with the onset of the agricultural revolution, something drastic occurred. Farming was born and the ability to store food gave birth to modern civilization.
The Paleo Diet and Diseases of Affluence
The diet of our hunter-gatherer, pre-agrarian ancestors was free of the toxic processed foods of today. Paleolithic man did not eat modern foods including nutrient deficient, high-calorie grains and processed sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup. Hence, our Paleolithic caveman ancestors did not have junk food. While they surely dealt with other adversities, they did not contract the diseases of modernity.
Once modern foods were introduced into our diet we began to suffer from the “diseases of affluence,” including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease. Weston A. Price is a fabulous resource when it comes to investigating the diseases of modern man, and the foods we are biologically destined to eat. I bought a copy of his groundbreaking book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, in 2001 and keep it on my desk as I reference it often.
Why Do You Follow a Paleo Diet?
Everyone has their own reasons for going on the Paleo diet. Why did I choose the Paleo Diet? In 1998, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I followed the gluten-free diet 100%, and saw little improvement. My digestive system remained in distress. So in 2001, I went on a strict grain-free diet. After two months, my digestive system felt dramatically better, and I’ve stayed on it ever since!
Here’s a link to my Paleo Recipes, there are hundreds on this site. Remember, all of my recipes are grain-free, gluten-free, and easy!
What Foods are Allowed on the Paleo Diet?
The diet of Paleolithic man is as popular as ever. Still, “Is that Paleo?” is a question I encounter daily. I’ve compiled the list of foods below (in alphabetical order) that are do’s and don’ts for the Paleo diet to make things easier for you.
Fats -bacon fat, duck fat, ghee, grass fed butter, tallow
Meat and Poultry –(grass-fed, organic) bison, beef, chicken, duck, eggs, lamb, pork, turkey
Fish –wild caught, not farmed
Nuts –almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
Oils –avocado oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, walnut oil
Seeds –hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Vegetables and Fruit –local, organic
Grains –barley, buckwheat, corn*, oats, millet*, rice, rye, teff*, quinoa*, wheat (*grain-like seeds)
Legumes –beans, lentils, peanuts, soy beans
Processed Foods –candy, chips, cereal, soda
For me, the Paleo diet or Primal diet, is easy when I think of it as avoiding grains, as well as modern processed foods, and sticking with the good whole foods listed above.
The Paleo Diet and Your Health
How does the Paleo Diet impact your health? I believe that some of the people who spend years going from doctor to doctor with undiagnosable and “untreatable” health conditions may simply be ill-adapted to eating grains.
I’m not saying that the Paleo diet is for everyone. All I can tell you is what I know from personal experience. The Paleo diet works very well for me. I eat basic foods including animal flesh, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and a lot of good fat. I sleep quite a bit. I allow myself to get plenty of fresh air every day. Some might call it Paleo. Others might call it common sense. Either way, it works for me.
What works for you? Leave a comment and let us know!