The modern form of humans has been around for a long, long time. Over those hundreds of thousands of years, the average daily diet for humans has shifted significantly. We’ve gone from spending our days focused on gathering berries and root vegetables and hunting protein-filled prey to ripping open plastic containers holding foods made with processed sugars and dangerous chemicals we can’t pronounce, much less understand where they came from.
The Paleo diet is a means for changing the way you eat and restricting your food choices to those that would have been available to your caveman cousins hundreds of thousands of years ago. All foods must be whole, fresh and unprocessed in order to qualify. The diet was named Paleo after the Paleolithic era, also referred to as the Stone Age, a time when grubs, nuts, seeds, meat and fish weren’t just mainstays—they were it.
The Paleo diet is relatively simple, but there are some important guidelines you need to follow to eat the right kinds of food. For example, while meat— such as beef and pork are good choices, they need to come from grass-fed sources. In other words, you want your proteins to have enjoyed the same diet they would have back in the caveman days. The reason for this is that you end up eating what your proteins have eaten— so if you’re eating grain-fed beef, then you’re technically off diet.
Other Paleo-friendly foods include:
healthy oils (coconut, avocado, olive)
You might be surprised by the foods and additives your caveman cousins didn’t have access to. Ingredients such as sugar and vegetable oils are not permitted. Additionally, grains such as wheat, cereal and rye as well as legumes such as soy, kidney and pinto beans are not permitted.
One thing you may notice missing is cheese and other dairy products. For people used to doing a low-carb diet, the lack of cheese may be confusing. But Paleo isn’t about being low-carb; it’s about choosing healthy, complex carbs and unprocessed foods. You still need to think about calcium, however, so choose dark green leafy vegetables and nuts like almonds in order to round out your nutritional intake.