It seems that every year there is a new diet taking over the world, promising to offer a number of different benefits.
Whether the diet can help participants to lose weight or to bulk up their muscles, these diets often fall away as quickly as they rise in popularity.
But in a world of fad diets that fall to the wayside with extreme speed, there is one diet that has managed to stand the test of time and has proven popular amongst a massive number of people.
It’s the reason that you are reading this right now; The Paleo diet!
But what actually is the Paleo diet? What does the diet entail, and is it worth taking part in? If you’ve been on the fence about the Paleo diet for some time, and you want to know if it is worth delving into, then you couldn’t have come to a better place.
Before we dive into today’s content, we want to extend our warmest welcomes to the readers of ‘frompastatopaleo’, which we recently acquired.
There’s plenty of amazing food-based content to be found on our website, so you should all feel right at home in no time. Take your time to peruse through our content and see for yourself!
Today, we are going to dedicate ourselves to finding out everything you could possibly need to know about the Paleo diet, so you can become a total expert! Read on below to get started!
What Is The Paleo Diet?
Put simply, the paleo diet refers to a modern diet that is based around eating food that would have been popular amongst prehistoric humans in the Paleolithic era, which was around 2.5 million years ago!
A particularly popular ingredient in the paleo diet is avocado! These foods are all those that can be hunted or gathered, in ways similar to how our ancient ancestors may have accessed the food! Luckily, the modern paleo diet does not require you to engage in the actual act of hunting or gathering, unless you really want to get that traditional experience!
The reason that the paleo diet has proven so attractive to so many is that many believe it could provide a solution to rising problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Many believe that these problems have arisen as a result of modern agriculture and modern diets, which are often made up of highly-processed foods.
Proponents of the Paleo diet believe that the introduction of such highly-processed foods is at odds with the human body, which has not yet developed enough to accommodate such foods.
Why Might A Person Try Out The Paleo Diet?
Due to the fact that the paleo diet originated out of a desire to escape modern dietary woes and health problems, the main reason that most people choose to take the diet on is in order to reduce the risk of things such as heart disease, or even to lose weight, or to keep the body at a healthy weight.
What Does ‘Paleo’ Mean?
The word ‘Paleo’ simply refers to something that is old or ancient and is most commonly attributed to the geological past.
Within the context of food, ‘Paleo’ largely means the same thing, and refers to food that may have been eaten during the Paleolithic era of Earth’s history, such as vegetables, meat, seafood, and fruit.
The Paleolithic era refers to a period close to 2.5 million years ago and was one of the earliest known eras in which early humans developed the use of tools which were used for hunting meat and seafood, or gathering healthy food like eggs, vegetables, and fruit.
What Foods Are Popular On The Paleo Diet And Why?
So now that we know about the driving ethos behind the paleo diet, it would be useful to find out what kinds of foods are popular on the diet, and find out what makes each of them a key part of the diet! Let’s dive in and find out now!
Of course, one of the key tenets of the paleo diet is meat. Meat was of course hunted by our earliest ancestors using tools that they had developed, and this helped to provide them with much of the protein they needed to fuel them throughout the day.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular meats in the paleo diet.
Chicken plays a very key role in the paleo diet, as it is naturally a great source of protein, while also being incredibly low in fat.
You can use every single inch of the chicken, and none of it has to go to waste.
There are all kinds of salads you can make using both avocado and chicken, meaning you don’t have to suffer through the high carbs of a chicken and avocado sandwich, and instead enjoy a low carb version of the healthy combination.
As well as beef in general, veal is also a totally paleo-friendly option for diets. It is meat that is cut from calves, and has a slightly distinct taste that differentiates it from beef, while also being incredibly lean.
Venison is also another highly popular staple meat amongst paleo diet aficionados.
Venison is a great meat to indulge in as part of the diet, as not only is it incredibly lean and healthy, but it is also super easy to serve up in a number of delicious ways.
Bacon that has been carefully reared and factory farmed will not count as part of a paleo diet, because the bacon will naturally be higher in chemicals and additives that do not naturally occur in ordinary bacon.
Whenever you are choosing bacon to eat as part of your paleo diet, be sure to check that the bacon has few additives and few extra ingredients that may have been involved in the curing process.
This not only ensures that the bacon is more healthy, but also that it tastes better.
Ham can very much be enjoyed as part of the paleo diet, but much like with bacon, to ensure that it is healthy, you will want to ensure that the ham is not too cured, as ham that is overly cured can introduce all kinds of chemical and additives that are not conducive to a healthy paleo diet.
A simple ham steak can be a great dinner to enjoy as part of a healthy paleo diet, as ham can easily be paired with other foods like eggs, a vegetable side dish, salad, and even cheese to create delightful meals that will deeply satisfy you.
And you best believe that ham will also lend itself perfectly to creating the perfect broth for all kinds of savory dishes.
Finding salami that is safe for paleo diets can be something of a tall order, as most salami products are cured using man-made chemicals and additives, to help to give them that iconic and meaty flavor.
Much like chicken and beef, turkey is incredibly rich in vital proteins and nutrients, making it a totally awesome paleo ingredient.
Turkey is not only high in protein but also contains various important vitamins, including vitamins B6 and B12.
Turkey is totally delightful when served up alongside a vegetable medley, or even a dish such as cauliflower cheese.
This also means that you can easily enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey without any sense of guilt!
You read that right! Snails were actually commonly eaten as part of early paleo diets, thanks to the fact that they were easy to find close to the ground, and the fact that they are also very high in protein.
A single snail can also provide you with plenty of iron, calcium, vitamin A, and various other benefits.
Best of all, they can easily be cooked up in numerous ways to create delightfully tasty food that will delight your taste buds to no end! You can even enjoy them without bread in order to enjoy them as part of a low carb diet.
At this point, it almost goes without mentioning that eggs are perfect for those on a paleo diet.
And as if eggs could not possibly be any more awesome for paleo diets, we can also take note of their sheer versatility.
Eggs manage to complement the flavors of all of these foods and are also incredibly tasty to eat for breakfast as well as dinner.
Starting your day with fresh eggs and fruit can be a great way to keep you fueled for hours.
Another breakfast staple that can easily be added to a paleo diet is a sausage! Of course, as with most other meats like beef and chicken, it is important to make sure that any sausage you buy has not been processed too much, and that the sausage has few preservatives.
Sausages are also often cured before being sold to give them richer flavors. Cured sausage is generally fine for a paleo diet, but you should try to verify how the sausage has been cured, and that it has not been cured too much.
Sausage that has undergone too much curing, or that has been factory-produced may have additives that spoil a paleo diet!
Sausages pair incredibly well with spinach which is naturally high in protein. The two taste wonderful when consumed together.
Tuna is one of many varieties of seafood that makes for a totally natural fit in a paleo diet.
A single tuna steak alone is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and these can help to lower cholesterol and promote a healthier mind.
Seafood does not always pair well with other foods or other ingredients, but this is not the case for tuna, which is a seafood that can easily pair with things such as other fish, such as the oyster, or even shrimp, which is similarly high in protein, and plenty of vegetables.
Of course, you couldn’t possibly talk about fish and seafood without mentioning the totally iconic shrimp.
Shrimp is a seafood that has become popular all across the world thanks to how incredibly easy it is to make use of in food.
Shrimp is also renowned for being a great source of protein, and for also having various minerals and nutrients that promote greater heart and brain health.
Next time you cook up a paleo meal, why not add some extra shrimp into the mix? Shrimp is a seafood that has a very subtle flavor that is not overbearing, but its protein-rich meat can help to make any dish even better.
Adding some scallop to your recipes can be highly beneficial thanks to the fact that it is seafood naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost your overall health.
A scallop is also totally unparalleled in taste, making it a wonderfully vibrant addition to include in just about any paleo recipe you can think of, especially if there is plenty of other seafood also included there.
Salmon is one of the world’s favorite seafood products thanks to the fact that, unlike other fish, salmon can help with weight loss, thanks to its numerous minerals and nutrients packed into every inch of every filet.
Salmon is also incredibly rich in flavor, and has a distinct flavor that is practically unrivaled by other seafood products! Salmon is also easy to whip up into countless amazing paleo dishes that you can easily serve up to multiple people, perhaps at a party or some other social function! Salmon is also renowned for being a very luxurious meat to indulge in, thanks to its fatty texture that seems to melt away on your tongue.
Is It Possible To Do The Paleo Diet While Vegetarian?
Of course, up until now, we have pretty much only covered the numerous benefits of the paleo diet as a direct result of the numerous types of meat and seafood products that can be included as part of it.
As well as this, we also know that the paleo diet also covers various fruits and vegetables which would have once been harvested by our earliest ancestors.
Luckily, the answer is yes! It is more than possible to have an entirely plant-based paleo diet, or even simply a vegetarian paleo diet.
Of course, this means that you may have to check your diet more closely, and also consider to a much deeper degree the kinds of products you pick up, to ensure that they are vegan friendly.
Vegan paleo diets are more than possible and are in fact very popular, they just may require a little bit of extra work and attention to ensure that the diet is stuck to while also adhering to veganism.
What Is Not Part Of The Paleo Diet?
There are a number of food products that are considered to not fit into the paleo diet. Let’s take a look at some of these now!
The word ‘Legumes’ is used as a catch-all term to describe things such as beans and peanuts, as well as the plants that they grow from.
Technically speaking, foods such as beans are the “Pulses” of the overall plant, which are the edible seeds that we know and love.
Unfortunately, though beans are incredibly healthy, they cannot be included as part of a full paleo diet.
The reason why foods like beans and peanuts are not allowed on a paleo diet is that they are rich in lectins and phytic acid.
While these may be beneficial in an ordinary diet, these acids released by beans would not be beneficial to anyone on a paleo diet.
Sweetcorn can offer a similar texture to beans, and can easily be sprinkled into various recipes.
You may actually be surprised to hear that grains actually cannot fit into the paleo diet, and are not recommended to consume while taking part in the diet.
This means that you would have to forgo your usual morning cereal, as well as things like bread, and even beer!
The exclusion of grains from a paleo diet can cause quite some difficulty for many, as it means that foods such as sandwiches and pasta are excluded, which are foods that are quite often gravitated towards by those on diets.
Luckily, there are plenty of low carb alternatives to foods like pasta such as various Asian noodles that are made without carbs, so you can still enjoy dishes like chicken pasta skillet, or a beef and pasta skillet!
You can even create noodles from various vegetables to make for a perfect stand-in for your favorite noodle or spaghetti dishes! And don’t worry, you can still scatter plenty of cheese on there too! And there are also many great spaghetti or noodle dishes that make use of all kinds of seafood, so the sky is truly the limit when it comes to keeping your tastebuds satisfied while sticking to the diet.
Processed food, in general, is probably the biggest no-no in the whole world of paleo dieting. The central conceit behind the paleo diet is a focus on food that could reasonably be foraged.
Generally, you want to focus on foods that your ancient ancestors would have been eating, and they most certainly would not have been eating food that had been processed in a factory!
Unfortunately, avoiding processed foods can be something of a challenge in itself.
So much food that we enjoy on a daily basis has been processed in some way, including meat like chicken and beef, and even seafood and cheese! Thus, you may need to be a little more discerning when picking up chicken for your next dinner, or cheese to scatter over your next salad!
Try heading to your local butchers, where you can peruse specific cuts of beef that have been carefully selected by specialist teams.
You can also grab entire chickens for roasting, beef steaks for carefully grilling up, or simply some chicken breasts to cook up in some of your favorite recipes.
Some butchers may also provide access to fresh cheese that has been lovingly prepared.
If you’re looking for perfect seafood, then try heading to a local store that specializes in it.
Much of this seafood will have also been freshly caught, allowing you to savor the flavors of your local waters and its bountiful seafood. This also means that you will be helping your local community!
Where Did The Paleo Diet Originate From?
Although the core tenets of the paleo diet, a focus on forageable food like seafood, beef, chicken, and other foods, date back to our early ancestors, the paleo diet as we know it today actually originated around the 1970s, when Walter Voegtlin, a gastroenterologist first put forward the idea of eating a diet similar to our ancestors in the Paleolithic era.
Beef in particular would have been very easy to hunt, as all that was required was to track down some healthy cows.
Of course, the paleo diet also recommended the increased consumption of seafood right from its very conception.
Seafood has long been a staple of human diets thanks to the ease of access to seafood, and the various methods that have been developed over the various eras of human history to allow us to catch seafood.
What Effects Does The Paleo Diet Have?
Of course, one of the most popular effects of the paleo diet is its ability to aid in weight loss.
Cutting out things such as carbs and processed foods, and replacing them with fresher food like beef and seafood is beneficial because such foods naturally contain fewer fats, and typically have higher levels of protein.
Higher levels of protein in paleo foods like seafood also help to keep those on the paleo diet from snacking on unhealthy foods, as the protein will help to keep the consumer fuller for much longer, in turn reducing the desire to binge on unhealthy snacks that are full of carbs.
Unfortunately, though the paleo diet has been shown to offer a number of great long-term benefits, it can also bring with it a few downsides.
The most crucial downside of the paleo diet is that it significantly reduces variety in your diet.
With much of the diet being focused entirely on foods like beef and seafood, it is much harder to introduce variety, and thus it is easier to miss out on key nutrients that can be offered by foods with higher carbohydrates.
The paleo diet also brings with it a risk of calcium deficiency, as those partaking in the diet are recommended to cut down on the consumption of processed dairy goods like milk, and even cheese.
While it is still possible to consume things like cheese on the paleo diet, research has also shown that most people on the paleo diet are only receiving around 50% of their recommended calcium intake!
The focus on red meats like beef can also be harmful if not carefully measured. Red meats like beef can be very harmful to the kidneys if not consumed in a regulated manner.
Red meat like beef has very high levels of saturated fat, saturated fat has been commonly linked with increased risks of heart disease and strokes, thus you should make sure to monitor the amount of beef that you are including in your diet.
Try to only consume around 13 grams of saturated fat from beef at most per day. Try not to exceed this level to help to keep your heart healthy.
Again, try to substitute beef for products like seafood for a healthy source of protein.
Has The Paleo Diet Been Shown To Work?
Yes. Various studies on participants taking part in the diet found that engaging in the paleo diet helped people to reduce their weight and to increase the overall health of their heart and brain.
The increased level of protein in foods like beef helped participants to keep from snacking, while the calcium from products like cheese helped to ensure that the rest of their body was able to keep up.
However, it is important to note that the paleo diet is not recommended for everyone, as it involves cutting out a lot of nutrients and food groups that may prove vital to certain people.
This can make it very difficult for people on certain existing diets such as vegan diets to partake.
As well as this, you must make sure that, despite the diet limiting food options, you keep the diet varied.
Is The Paleo Diet Worth Trying Out?
If you want to try a unique and interesting way of reducing your body weight while also improving your muscle mass and the health of your brain, then the paleo diet may be worth trying out.
The paleo diet can be interesting to try out partly because of how challenging it is. It causes you to think more critically about what you are eating, to determine whether certain products are beneficial to your overall health.
Doing this causes you to learn more about how the food you consume is made, and what sorts of processes like cheese go through!
Before taking on the paleo diet, make sure to consult your doctor, to make sure that it is right for you.
Remember that the paleo diet requires cutting out certain food groups from your consumption, and thus it may not be right for you.
If you already suffer from problems such as a calcium deficiency, then you may not want to try out the diet, as you will need to restrict your intake of dairy from products like cheese.
You should also make sure to consider the fact that the paleo diet can be very expensive. One of the main reasons why processed foods are so prolific is that they are often much more affordable.
And it isn’t just limited to cheese, as the price of freshly cut meats is also much higher than meats that have been carefully processed.
However, if you are able to manage the costs of the diet, and you have no major specific dietary requirements, then the paleo diet is easy to recommend, as you can still indulge in rich foods like cheese and meat, except you can consume far more fresh versions of these products.
Truly, nothing compares to the taste of fresh and organic cheese that isn’t factory-made.
To Wrap Up
There we have it! The paleo diet is one that has totally taken the world by storm but has established itself as more than just a fad diet thanks to its continued endurance since its introduction in the 1980s and the numerous studies that have shown its benefits to the world.
It is a diet that is well worth taking part in if you wish to lose a little bit of weight or to improve the overall health of your heart and mind.
However, you must make note of the fact that the diet requires cutting off entire food groups, which can make it very challenging for people with specific dietary needs.
If you are planning to partake in the diet, make sure to consult your doctor first to make sure that it is right for you!
Regardless, the diet has proven beneficial to many, and has helped thousands of people to lose weight while still indulging in treats like rich meats and fresh cheese!