The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is one of the most popular diets in the world. But what exactly is the paleo diet? What foods can you eat, and what are the benefits of this dietary plan?
The paleo diet or caveman diet revolves around eating foods that our 200x great-grandfathers used to eat 10,000 years ago. Pretty much anything they could hunt or collect out in the wild was fair game. Whole grains and white potatoes, though, are foods that our ancestors didn’t eat, and therefore should be excluded from our diets. Why? Because whole grains and white potatoes are results of agriculture, and your caveman granddaddy wasn’t into no damn agriculture. That means you cannot eat many foods considered to be healthy.
You can’t eat these foods because the believers of the paleo diet claim some form of carbohydrates are the leading cause of obesity and sickness in the world. Therefore, foods such as peanuts, oats, and corn are not to be consumed while on this diet.
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Paleo Diet Benefits
High in Omega 3 fats
- Omega 3’s has been found to reduce post-exercise soreness and enhance recovery (1).
- Omega 3’s can improve heart health (2).
- It can reduce anxiety symptoms (3).
It can help you lose weight
Some research has shown that you can lose weight despite not counting calories (2).
Fourteen healthy individuals were instructed to eat a paleo diet for three weeks. After the three weeks, the volunteers had lost an average of 5 pounds, while their waist circumference went down by .5 centimeters (3).
- The results of these studies were probably because, in the paleo diet, you have to eliminate highly processed foods, which do not fill you up and shift your focus on nutrient-dense foods.
It can improve your health even if you don’t lose weight
In a study by Frassetto et al., nine sedentary individuals were told to consume a paleo diet for ten days. The volunteers’ calories were controlled as not to lose weight (2).
After ten days, there was an improvement in:
- Total Cholesterol went down by 16%.
- Insulin AUC went down by 39%.
- LDL Cholesterol went down by 22%.
- Triglycerides went down by 35%.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure went down by 3.4 mmHg.
- Insulin AUC went down by 39%.
The Disadvantage of the Paleo Diet
The main disadvantage of the paleo diet is the absence of foods such as legumes (Peanuts), dairy, and whole grains. Foods that are considered to be excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, healthy fats, protein, and calcium.
Also, the paleo diet restricts you from eating a lot of foods, which makes it a lot harder to stick to in the longterm.
Foods to Eat
- Lean meat, such as chicken, pork, lean beef, bison, and turkey
- Fresh fruit
- Nonstarchy vegetables, such as lettuce, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach
- Nuts, like walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios
- Seeds, like pumpkin, chia, and sunflower
- Plant-based oils, such as olive, and coconut oil
- Fish and Seafood
Foods to Avoid
- Grains – No oats, wheat, rice, etc.
- Starchy vegetables– No white potatoes and corn, etc
- Dairy products — No milk, yogurt, cheese, or ice cream
- Sugars– No soda, candy, honey, jam or jelly, cookies, or even sports drinks.
- Processed foods – Sugary Drinks, TV Meals, Fruit Juices, cannot be eaten.
- Trans fats– No mac and cheese, doughnuts, french fries, etc.
- Salty foods– No chips, crackers, pretzels, or other salty foods
- Legumes or beans – That means no peanuts or peanut butter; no hummus, no soy, or beans of any kind
- High-fat meats– Such as salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, etc
- Sweet potatoes are considered Paleo.
- Acorn Squash is also considered paleo.
Delicious Paleo Recipes
GRILLED PINEAPPLE CHICKEN
Because everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING is better with pineapple. Don’t @ me.
*Substitute the white rice with cauliflower rice.*
Grilled Garlic Lime Chicken Fajita Salad
This salad is my kind of salad. A bunch of protein, sweet potato fries, and avocado. Every salad should strive to be like this salad. I bet other salads have posters of this salad on their walls.
Macros: 467 calories, 33 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, 19 grams of protein per serving.
Ultimate Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash
Paleo Strawberry Homemade Pop-Tarts
Your mornings just got a whole lot better. Meal prep these bad boys and voila!
Macros: 280 calories, 22 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein per serving.
Spicy Cauliflower Rice Plantain Slaw Bowls
Stovetop Sloppy Joes
Spanish Chicken and Cauliflower Rice
My God is this paleo recipe delicious. And super convenient!
- It only takes 25 minutes to prepare.
- It is excellent for meal prep, and believe me when I tell you that you’ll want to eat this every single day.
- Great for people that are on a low-carb diet.
Macros: 201 calories, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.
HEALTHY COCONUT BROWNIE ENERGY BITES
These tasty paleo coconut brownie energy balls are perfect for those long days in which you don’t have any time to think, let alone cook.
The paleo diet has been found to offer many benefits. The diet focuses on nutrient-dense foods instead of calorie-dense foods, which is excellent for those seeking to improve their health and lose weight.
My main complaint with the paleo diet is that it can be unsustainable. The elimination of many foods, some of them found to be healthy, make the paleo diet very hard to adhere to.
Also, the problem with “elimination diets” is that you do not have to track your calories. The issue with this is that when most people lose weight, they reintroduce the foods, they were not allowed to eat into their diets.
The reintroduction of these foods, without tracking calories, can cause people to regain most, if not all the weight back.
This diet is for those willing to forsake eating foods such as rice and bread or peanut butter. If you believe you can stick to this diet, then, by all means, go at it. Whatever helps you reach your goals, as long as you aren’t starving yourself, it’s good with us.
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