Paleo 101

Paleo Diet for Beginners

Have you heard of the Paleo Diet? This diet also goes by the aliases of the caveman diet, stone-age diet, and paleolithic diet. Apparently, whatever these early hunters and gatherers ate form part of what this paleo diet is all about. Just when you thought diets couldn’t get any more complicated this one promises to be interesting.

 

What Is The Paleo Diet?

One thing is certain – early hunters and gatherers ate ‘whole foods’. There certainly was no fast food chain outlet down the street in every village. According to the nomadic lifestyle they lead, they searched for, hunted and gathered their food. Therefore they also lead very active lives as well. This ensured that diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease were much lower back then if they even existed at all.

Simply put, if the food did not exist back during the Paleolithic era, it should not be eaten. This list would exclude all processed foods, such as dairy products, cereals, candy, and pasta to name a few. What would be eaten on the paleo diet are regionally available meat, fish, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and leafy greens. And guess what else – there are no serving portions! Just imagine all the potential benefits that participating in the paleo diet offers.

Paleo Recipes that Don't Suck

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

Do you recall those GEICO adverts which were produced in 1999? Those which went, “… it’s so easy a caveman could do it.” usually to a disgusted response from a cultured caveman. Let’s have a look at a handful of benefits that are promised by the paleo diet.

  • Essential Vitamins & Minerals

As you already know, fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals for the proper functioning of the body. As the old adage goes, ‘an apple a day…’. Additionally, meats eaten should be grass-fed and not given food pellets.

  • Regular Exercise

You have to keep active. Take the stairs when time permits, instead of an elevator. Adopting a healthy can help in preventing obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. Also, the active lifestyle changes made will also aid with weight loss.

  • Reduced Intake of Additives

The jury is still out on the usefulness of additives to either enhance or extend the life of processed foods. As there are no prepackaged foods on the paleo diet list, here goes your additive intake. No more preservatives, colors and flavor enhancers to trick your taste buds.

  • Inflammation Reduction

Consider this – The intake of ‘modern foods’ contributes most to inflammation within the body. The paleo diet is aimed at removing this inflammation giving foods. Therefore this diet is considered anti-inflammatory.

 

What are the risks of a Paleo Diet?

Of course, you must consider both sides of a coin to understand its value. Here are a few risks associated with the paleo diet.

It’s New

Although one may argue it existed millions of years ago, there’s no proof of the paleo diet’s long term effects. The research to prove that the paleo diet wards off disease haven’t been put out there by the scientific community. But that is not to say that research is not being compiled as we speak.

A Challenge for Vegetarians & Athletes

Meat is allowed on the Paleo diet, however, beans are not. This could prove challenging to vegetarians who often use beans to supply much-needed proteins and nutrients. Athletes also require carbohydrates to supply the energy needed to perform. With the easily available carbs from nutritional bars and drinks off the list, this may be a challenge.

Maintenance Woes

It may be challenging getting the ‘right foods’ to bring the paleo diet into being. However, because the meals are so plain, they tend to become a bore quickly. Therefore it may be challenging for you to maintain this diet for extended periods of time.

Feelings of Illness

As your body adjusts to the paleo diet, it may undergo physical ailments which are temporary. How long they last would depend on how quickly your body is able to adjust. Such symptoms include fatigue, change in bowel movements, and flu-like symptoms.

Expensive

It’s a well-acknowledged fact that hard work usually calls for a higher fee. As a result, grass-fed meats and organically grown food tend to be much more expensive. Seeds are relatively affordable, though. Also, preparing your own paleo diet food will cost you significantly less than eating out.

 

Common misconceptions when it comes to a Paleo Diet

As with any diet, there are usually a few misunderstandings that may arise. No cause for worry, we are about to clarify a few of those for you.

The Diet Has No Fibre

With bread and cereals off the list, many may think that their fiber needs will suffer. This is not true. The fiber you need can be supplied from peas and Brussel sprouts, for example.

It’s All Meaty

The idea of the caveman is usually associated with the idea of large portions of meat consumption. However, this view is also a bit exaggerated as well. The paleo diet is about eating healthy foods that don’t add additional stress to the internal structure of your body. Healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables are also consumed on the paleo diet. Just have a peek at a few of our paleo diet Meal Prep recipes available for you to try.

You Have To Become A Caveman

This may sound ridiculous but being called the caveman diet may have lead to this. Honestly, you are not from the caveman era, so asking you to live like one would be silly. Simply consider that they lived on whole foods and survived. Therefore it is possible to eat good quality, high-nutrient foods that can maintain optimal health.

paleo food pyramid

Photo: Kitsap Crossfit

Top 15 Food you can eat on the Paleo Diet

As we’ve said before, there is no clear cut manual to refer to for the paleo diet. Yet there are a variety of paleo diet recipes out there for those willing to savor a few. However, based on what was supposedly eaten back then and what is available now, we’ve made you this shortlist.

  • Meat* – steak, ham, pork, bison, boar.
  • Organs – liver, kidneys, heart.
  • Marrows – seeing a theme here? Eat ALL parts of the animal!
  • Fowl – chicken, duck, hen, turkey…things with wings that (try to) fly.
  • Fish – cod, tuna, salmon, and so on.
  • Eggs – Look for omega-3 enriched cage-free eggs.
  • Vegetables – spinach, broccoli, kale, carrots, peppers, zucchini, onions, etc.
  • Oils – minimally processed, derived from plants: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil.
  • Fats: ghee, lard, or other animal fats.
  • Fruits – apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries.
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, cashews, and their respective butters (almond butter is so good!)
  • Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams.

*If you can, aim for grass-fed beef and organic fruits and vegetables. But don’t go break the bank with your food purchases. Just do the best you can.

As the Paleo Diet explains: Pick any of the foods from that list and eat as much as you want of them.

Sheet Pan Zesty Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Our favorite Paleo Diet Meal Prep Hacks/Products

When embarking on a new venture, a few useful tips go a long way. Here are a few suggestions which we hope will guide you as you delve further into the paleo diet.

  • Plan & Prep Meals

We lead relatively busy lives. Therefore we need ways to efficiently prepare meals so that they don’t become a hassle. Plan your meals for the week. Our dual compartment Meal Prep storage containers can be used to securely store your food in an organized way. Have a look at our paleo diet meal prep recipes such as Salmon Cobb Salad Meal Prep.

  • Try Your Own Substitutions

So, perhaps the paleo diet recipe you saw has ingredients that you don’t fancy. That should not deter you from trying your own version with a few adjustments of your own. For example, flax seeds can be used as an egg substitute in a recipe. After all, it was the constant experimentation with food which creates such variety in recipes. How about you try out, our paleo Steak, Sweet Potato & Apple Hash Meal Prep.

  • Cut Expenses

Of course, grass-fed meats and organically grown fruits and vegetables tend to be retailed at an exorbitant cost. This, however, should not discourage you. With vertical backyard gardening and other creative space-saving methods of gardening, you can plant some of your own vegetables. Also, visiting the farmers who produce organic crops and grass-fed meats to make your purchases directly could save you money.

There you have it our review of the paleo diet. Tell us what you think of the paleo diet. Do you think it is worth a try?