What you can and can’t eat on the paleo diet

When it comes to diets, sometimes going back to basics is a great choice.

Inspired by our human hunter-gatherer ancestors, have you tried the paleo diet?

A Brief History of the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is unique, taking us back to the presumed diets of our predecessors in Paleolithic times (from 10,000 years ago). It is also called by other names like the caveman diet, the stone age diet, and the hunter-gatherer diet.

The human diet is constantly changing and has evolved from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and gone even further – currently we are using highly processed and mass produced foods.

It’s time to get back to basics! Paleo comes from the assumption that the bodies of modern humans remain essentially unchanged from the Paleolithic era and that our current diets are out of sync with what our bodies actually need for optimal functioning.

How to make the paleo diet work for you?

If you’re curious about the paleo diet but don’t want to be so rigid about following it, you don’t have to. For your approach, consider adopting some paleo eating patterns and cutting out those that don’t work for you.

For example, try eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing added sugars. If you’re unsure about grains or dairy products, talk to your doctor or dietitian to determine what’s best for your body.

Although there is no scientific evidence to back up some claims about the diet, many still practice it. For example, supporters of the paleo diet claim that wheat consumption is linked to chronic digestive and inflammatory diseases, although there is no substantial evidence that people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease auto -immune should avoid wheat and other gluten-laden foods. [1].

The paleo diet eliminates dairy because its proponents say many people are lactose intolerant and because dairy consumption is associated with Crohn’s disease, among other claims. Although you don’t want to eat lactose (a sugar found in dairy products) if your body can’t take it, there is no evidence that dairy products cause Crohn’s disease or worsen the signs in people. diagnosed.

What foods to eat during the paleo diet?

It’s relatively easy to choose which to eat based on whether your predecessors could hunt or gather it; it’s allowed on paleo [2].

The list includes:

Eggs: are allowed because they are rich in protein, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus, they’re affordable and easy to prepare. Organic and cage-free organic eggs are suggested for higher omega-3 content than eggs from caged hens.

Nuts and seeds: Packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein; they were harvested in prehistoric times, so you source them. Remember that peanuts are not paleo, as they are technically legumes.

Paleo nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nut
  • Cashew nut
  • Chia seeds
  • Linseed
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • pecan nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Nut
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Sun-flower seeds

Healthy Oils: Oils are a bit trickier. Loren Cordain, PhD of the Paleo Diet Movement, details what is healthy for the paleo: avocado, coconut, flaxseed, macadamia, olive and walnut oils are allowed, as they come directly from of the plant.

Although our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably did not ingest flaxseed oil, it is included in the diet because it is high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. anti-inflammatory and heart healthy.

Paleo oils

  • Avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • Linseed oil
  • macadamia oil
  • Olive oil
  • nut oil

Fresh fruits and vegetables: Although there is some debate about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The only concern for people on the paleo diet is that some vegetables are starchy (potatoes) and some fruits are higher in sugar (bananas).

Eat them in moderation if you’re trying to lose weight or control your blood sugar. Potatoes are even banned in some strict versions of the diet.

paleo fruit

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries: including blackberries, blueberries and strawberries
  • citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Peaches
  • Plums

paleo vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes

Grass-Fed Meat: Choosing grass-fed meat is more nutritious for you and more comparable to what our ancestors ate. Most meats and seafood fit a paleo diet.

Meat is a source of lean protein; the building block of all cells and tissues. Be careful with pre-marinated and cured meats which may contain added sugar.

Look for chicken raised without antibiotics, also try to get your meat from a local farm and learn more about how it was raised [3]. Choosing wild-caught seafood over farm-caught can help boost your omega-3 intake, and it’s not always the case, but it’s better to look for wild-caught salmon and other sustainably-caught seafood. sustainable when you eat paleo.

Paleo meat and seafood

  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Cod
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Turkey

What foods to avoid

A simple guideline is if it looks like it came from a plant, don’t eat it.

  • Artificial sweeteners: acesulfame potassium, aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin – use natural sweeteners instead.
  • Dairy: Avoid most dairy products, especially low fat (some versions of paleo include whole dairy products like butter and cheese).
  • Cereals: Includes bread and pasta, wheat, spelt, rye, barley and others.
  • Highly processed foods: Anything labeled “diet” or “low fat” contains many additives.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and many more.
  • Some vegetable oils: corn oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil
  • Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup: sweets, fruit juices, soft drinks, table sugar, pastries, ice cream and many more.
  • Trans fat: are generally referred to as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.

Remember that paleo is both a diet and a way of life. Although it does not suggest becoming full-fledged hunter-gatherers, it does emphasize getting as much physical activity as possible. Also consult a doctor before starting any diet, especially if you have any underlying conditions to consider.

[1] https://www.everydayhealth.com/celiac-disease/guide/
[2] https://www.eatingwell.com/article/290612/the-complete-paleo-diet-food-list-what-to-eat-and-what-to-avoid/
[3] https://www.eatingwell.com/article/290142/clean-eating-buyers-guide-to-chicken/

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