The Paleolithic Diet – also referred to as the Caveman Diet – is a nutritional strategy largely inspired by evolutionary biological research of ancestral hominins (like what I discuss here). The basis of this diet is to emulate the eating habits of our ancestors through eating natural foods as would be available to hunter-gatherer type societies. Some strategies also urge dieters to emulate the timing and volume of ancestral eating habits, such as spacing out meals to several small ones or “grazing” upon morsels and snacks dozens of times over the course of the day.
In contrast to modern Western dietary norms, the Paleo Diet rejects consuming processed foods, high-carbohydrate foods, and dairy products. The core of a Paleo Diet would contain primarily nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, fowl, eggs, and lesser amounts of red meat, vegetable oils, honey, and salt. Most Paleo Diets trend toward a lot of raw eating but they also encourage creative and honed cooking practices that offer delicious and satiating meals. With some basic cooking skills a Paleo Diet meal with only natural ingredients can beat out any modern dish made of processed carbohydrates, high salt, excess fat, and artificial additives.
Caveats on this diet are few, if not none. The primary challenge may lie in conditioning yourself to stop craving “junk” food and to begin to desire natural, “Paleo” food. The other issue may lie in budget. Typically, raw and fresh produce, as well as organic options, tend to cost more than their counterparts. Despite this, the research on health benefits from a nature-oriented diet such as the Paleo Diet are significant. Any time you see a mention of a “super food” usually it is a natural fruit, vegetable, or nut that fits right into the Paleo Diet. With the elements of the Paleo Diet being highly healthy, the absence of processed sugars, artificial ingredients, and preservatives eliminates negative health agents from your diet; and the increase of phytonutients and a suite of antioxidants and vitamins adds positive health agents.
Tip: Every day, nurture any desire or craving you may have for natural unprocessed foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, oily fish and lean meat. Learn to graze on small amounts, and drink plenty of water. Drink a lot of water before a meal so you start with a full stomach to slow down your consumption and defend against satiety-lag.
-Protein: Meat (ex: Birds [chicken] and fish), Eggs, Nuts (ex: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts), Legumes (ex: black beans, green beans, snap peas)
-Sweets: Fruit (ex: blue berries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, peaches, pears)
-Fiber and Greens: Leaves/Stalks/Fruit (ex: broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, squash, okra), Roots and corms (ex: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, swedes, garlic, onion)
-Fats: Oil (ex: olive, coconut, canola oils), poly-unsaturated fats (non-hydrogenated)
My Ideal Paleo Meal:
A “salad” of:
Greens: kale, spinach, chives
Fruit: tomato, apple, cranberries
Corms/Roots: onion, garlic, beets, carrots
Protein: turkey, sunflower seeds, cashews, black beans
Dressing: olive oil
A dessert of:
Orange and bananna
A beverage of:
Clean, clear water