Palaeolithic Diet (Paleo Diet) is a term used to refer to a diet of ‘hunter-gatherer’ societies during the Paleolithic Era of prehistoric human history. Although Paleolithic Era lasted for tens of thousands of years, and a lot has gone on during that time, but generally speaking, the Paleo Diet is based on foods that our prehistoric ancestors would have consumed prior to the invention of agriculture and farming.
Simply put, it’s a diet of a caveman. Our ancestors didn’t have fridges built into their caves or cupboards in the huts. Their food wasn’t frozen, stored in boxes or preserved with additives. They ate what they could find or kill.
Proponents argue that this is the most healthiest way you can eat because it’s closest nutritional approach to our genetics and that the modern diet is a huge contributor to modern diseases and ailments such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, the Paleo Diet is free of processed foods, trans-fats, additives and preservatives. In it’s most rigid form it excludes any food as a result of agriculture and farming.
Pundits on the other hand don’t really have much to say but they frequently refer to fossil records pointing out inconsistencies and dismiss the diet as ‘half-baked.‘ Sure we don’t live in caves any more or have to run for miles to hunt our food, but how can you argue against consuming foods directly from natural sources? There are also Paleo Diet purists, who are dogmatic about their diet, tend to criticize the more lenient versions of the diet, arguing about what foods were or weren’t available, nutrient content and caloric ratios. Who cares! You can still benefit from the Paleo Diet if you apply just the basic principles.
Here’s a great infographic from Greatist describing and illustrating Paleo Diet:
I would also recommend you watch this documentary on the original diet that kept humans healthy, strong, lean and evolving.
Getting Started with Paleo Diet
As with any other diet plan, you need to plan and slowly integrate it into your lifestyle. Don’t do it all at once. Be realistic and patient.
Before taking on Paleo Diet read these two articles I wrote earlier:
No matter what diet you pick same principles apply.
How Would I Incorporate Paleo Diet Into My Lifestyle
If I was starting from scratch, I’d begin by:
- making a list of paleo rules – pinning it to my fridge and keeping a short version in my pocket
- making my next meal healthier
- educating myself as much as I can about Paleo
- purging cupboards and fridge of junk
- making a healthy grocery shopping list, and sticking to it
- scheduling time to get some physical activity in, shifting other things in my life to fit my new lifestyle
- planning my future meals
- learning to cook
Notice I didn’t mention anything about calorie counting or watching caloric ratios. When you start eating healthier, exercising, cooking meals for yourself and avoiding processed foods amazing things will happen. This is just to get your started. As you learn more about Paleo, about yourself and how your body responds to various foods you can move onto more rigid Paleo rules.
I personally don’t follow the Paleo Diet exclusively, in this post I described how I incorporated some of basic concepts into my lifestyle. Also, if you want another simpler breakdown of Paleo, see my post: Paleo Diet. Its So Easy, Even a Caveman Can Do It
Need more information about Paleo, check out these resources:
- Mark’s Daily Apple
- Paleo 101
- Beginner’s Guide to Paleo Diet
- Paleo on a Budget
- Cook Eat Paleo
Diets come and go. “Going on a diet” is temporary. when it’s over you’ll be back where you started. To truly make your diet a success is to make a lifestyle, which includes eliminating bad habits and adding physical activity. Once it’s part your lifestyle it will never feel like a diet.