In simple terms, the Paleo diet is an effort to eat like our ancestors use to many millenniums ago and stay away from modern day diets. That means going back to eating natural, unprocessed foods including nuts, fish, meats, seeds, regional vegetables, fruits and leafy greens for optimal health. The term “diet” tends to mislead people into thinking this is just a short-term weight-loss program but it is actually a way of life. It is by far the best nutritional approach that functions with our genetics to help us remain lean, strong and full of life. 

What is wrong with today’s diets?

You are probably wondering why you should dump all your favorite foods today to start eating like cave dwellers use to. Meticulous research in biology, ophthalmology, biochemistry, dermatology and other fields of science reveals that our modern diets, saturated with genetically modified produce, chemically processed foods, sugar and trans fat are the root of most degenerative diseases including cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, obesity, infertility and depression. Human evolution, agricultural revolution and industrialization are all major contributing factors as to why we have deviated from our ancestral diet. 

Ancient cave dwellers thrived as hunters and gathers. Our genetics are not so different from those of our ancestors so while all the advancements were happening, our bodies never quite adjusted to the new lifestyle. The difference between humans today and our ancestors back then is stunning. The average man in ancient times was very muscular, athletic, agile and extremely versatile. The average human being today is overweight, out of shape, sleep deprived, stressed out, unhappy and quickly dying from a host of preventable diseases. Just how serious is the problem? More than 70% of us are overweight, and nearly 40% are considered obese. Clearly, something is not right.

What Is The Paleo Diet

How the Paleo diet works

The Paleo diet is an attempt to go back to the way were biologically made to eat, enabling us to tap into our genetic potential and begin living healthier right away. The diet almost eliminates processed sugars, grains and foods. Unless you are getting your sugar from fruits, forget it. Most nutritionists now agree that at best, grains are unhealthy and at worst, they are outright dangerous. Following the principle of this diet, you will need to eat less than 300 grams of carbs daily. So, how are you supposed to get the energy you need?

Our bodies are designed to function with a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we normally eat. Therefore, consuming less carbohydrates is not an issue. In fact, the absence of carbs makes our bodies use stored fat and convert it to energy, which means less fat in our bodies. In other words, our bodies are very efficient. Granted, carbs have their purpose but they are not essential. The Paleo way of life encourages getting carbs from fruits and vegetables.

What about dairy?

The majority of Paleo enthusiasts usually avoid dairy products. A considerable portion of humankind is lactose intolerant while the rest of the world has some kind of repugnance to it because there is no other species in the Animal kingdom that drinks milk beyond infancy. Our ancestors only consumed milk as infants and that was it. Generally, our bodies were not made for substantial dairy consumption. 

What you get to eat on Paleo diet

If you cut out virtually all processed foods, grains and dairy, it might appear that the Paleo approach to nutrition is all about deprivation but it is quite the contrary. There are countless foods to choose from that occur naturally including:

Fish: Wild fish is best since mercury and other toxins can be a problem in farmed fish

Fowl: Turkey, duck, chicken, hen etc.

Meat: Go for grass-fed meat rather than grain-fed

Eggs: Opt for Omega-3 enriched eggs

Fruits: These are rich in natural sugar and can have high calories so take in moderation

Vegetables: If they are not deep-fried, you can it as many as you want

Nuts: Make excellent quick snacks and are great sources of energy

Tubers: Yams and sweet potatoes

Oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and other natural oils for food preparation

Suggestions for delicious Paleo recipes

Using the foods above mentioned, you could come up with a delicious Paleo recipe. If you are just starting out, you do not have to mimic the diets of our ancient ancestors robotically or slavishly. Just keep moving in the right direction and gradually make it a lifestyle. You do not have to overwhelm yourself with complicated, time-wasting recipes. Simple and quick is the key to a realistic and sustainable Paleo nutrition. Unlike our ancestors, you can use modern conveniences to make things even easier. As you get used to it, you will realize this way of eating offers endless variety, tastes and nourishment.

Additional tips to keep in mind

First, you need to understand the Paleo approach is not a Weight Loss quick fix. If years of eating unhealthily have destroyed your metabolism, and you carry around excess body fat, adapting to the Paleo lifestyle will improve your body composition and general health. But the point of this diet is not to shed as many pounds as you can so that you can fit into your high school jeans. It is all about optimizing your wellbeing and health. 

For many people, changing to this lifestyle is not that easy. You will feel crappy for the first few weeks of trying this diet due to the abrupt drop off in carbohydrates especially if you are used to maintaining sugar or pasta. However, once you manage to get through this feeling, which lasts at least two weeks, you will begin to feel amazing. Stick with it for at least a month to realize the benefits. Eat like a champion and do not shy away from experiencing new foods or trying different recipes. If you have an adventurous palate and open mind, you will never feel that the diet is restrictive. For your new life change to hold truly, you have to be able to enjoy it.