Eat like a caveman to achieve a lean, strong, healthy body
By Matt Davis on March 21, 2016
According to Paleolithic advocates the trouble with our diet began when ancient man turned from hunting and gathering to agriculture and the domestication of animals for food. According to them, that’s when humans became shorter than their predecessors and began dying at an earlier age.
It is their belief that foods made edible by modern civilization, including grains and milk, are the cause of many diseases, including obesity that did not exist when humans ate a Paleolithic diet. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers and ate a wide variety of plants and animals.
Devotees believe technology has deeply compromised our health. Mass production of refined foods that are widely available and affordable, including white flour, canned foods, and sugars of all types, may have helped feed the growing population, but this has come at a huge human cost in terms of disease.
Paleolithic followers point to various studies showing that the promoted modern low-fat diet actually promotes weight gain. Low-fat diets have failed to control or conquer obesity. They believe Americans should aspire to the meat based caveman diet because it is so high in fat. Like other low-carb proponents they believe that a high fat diet will prevent the surges of insulin into the bloodstream that cause us to pack on calories as body fats.
Eating foods that are “free from technology” is the way back to good health they claim. The Paleolithic diet advises you to banish the “addictive” carbohydrates (such as any grain) that your diet is based on. They also wish to exclude any other foods that promote bad health or obesity. Exercise is also an important part of this diet plan since a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major pitfalls of modern life. Regular physical activity is encouraged for weight loss and better health.
How the Paleolithic diet works
The main premise is that diets based on calorie restriction will ultimately fail. For that reason, there are no calorie restrictions on the Stone Age diet, and snacking is permissible. As long as you choose “technology free” foods, you can eat as much as you like. Now the question is, how do you decide whether a food is free from technology? The acid test is whether a food would be edible when found in its natural state without using technology. For instance meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs are allowed in the Paleolithic diet, but they should always be cooked first, as eating animal foods in their “natural” (raw) state raises the risk of food poisoning.
The fundamental guidelines of the Paleo Diet, are very basic and easy to follow: fresh meats, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. You avoid all processed foods and eat foods as close to the source as possible. The food you select should only contain one ingredient; that ingredient is the food.
Foods you need to avoid on the Paleolithic diet
All processed foods.
Refined sugar in any form.
Refined vegetable oils, such as canola.
Wheat and other grains.
Legumes (such as peanuts and beans).
Food you should consume on the Paleolithic diet
The main thing to keep in mind when you’re on the Paleo diet is that for all foods freshness and quality are most important. As a simple rule of thumb the closer the product originated to you, the fresher it will be.
Vegetables: you can eat as much of these as you like, either fresh, lightly steamed or in a dish of your making. To increase the variety of vegetables in your diet, discover new and interesting vegetables at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Better yet, grow your own outdoors or in an indoor vertical garden.
Fresh lean meats, preferably from grass fed, pasture raised, organic fed animals.
Fish, preferably from wild caught or sustainable seafood sources.
Fruits. Fruit can be hard on your blood sugar if you overdo it, so it is encouraged that you limit your fruit intake. Avoid adding fruit to your meals; instead, eat it for dessert. If you exercise a great deal and want to maintain athletic performance, you can include more fruit in your nutritional plan.
Nuts and seeds. When you are new to a Paleo type diet, nuts are a great go to snack item. That said, nut consumption can easily be overdone. If your goal is fat loss, it is cautioned against eating too many nuts.
Healthier oils, including coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil.
Herbs and spices. You should stock your pantry with a variety of herbs and spices both in fresh and dried forms.
Dietary restrictions on the Paleolithic diet
Since this diet emphasizes meat and fish, it would be impossible for a vegetarian or vegan to follow a Paleo Diet. Normal vegetarian sources of proteins, such as beans and other legumes, are not allowed on this diet. It should be noted that some of the variations of the Paleo Diet publications do claim to have vegetarian recipes, but these are not considered strict paleo by most authorities.
Since this diet does not allow additional salts, it may help you cut down on sodium. This makes this diet good for people with high blood pressure.
Calorie counting on the Paleolithic diet
No calorie counting needed since the fiber-rich fruits and vegetables will fill you up, as well as will the lean meat.
Dedicated paleo followers use the 85/15 model. This simply means that 85% of your meals should be strictly Paleo. However, you are forgiven for 15% of your meals that, for whatever reason, are not strictly Paleo. Some of these exceptions may include that birthday dinner for Aunt Martha, family holidays and the occasional not particularly healthy snack.
Just because you’re eating all healthy foods does not mean that you should gorge yourself to the point that you can’t get out of your chair. As in with all lifestyles and diets, common sense must prevail and as with any diet plan, exercise is very important.
The Paleolithic diet conclusions
The Paleolithic diet claims to harken back to the days of our ancestral hunters and gatherers. The foods that are recommended and used are basic foods of nature, meats, fish, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. All processed foods are avoided, as well as dairy and legumes.
As with any diet plan, the Paleolithic diet is not necessarily right for everyone. Even though the Paleolithic diet is about eating healthy and avoiding unhealthy food, it would be a huge misstep to believe that we can and should all eat exactly the same foods. That said nature does provide an abundant variety of natural foods.
As in all diet plans exercise is extremely important.