The Paleo diet is a healthy lifestyle that focuses on the consumption of un-processed, nutrient dense, natural foods from the basic food groups of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Paleo stands for Paleolithic which is a prehistoric period of mankind where the main diet consisted of raw meats, fruits, seeds and nuts and leafy greens. The Paleo diet may also be referred to as the cave-man diet, ancestral diet, or primal diet. There are many different variations and titles, but the core purpose of the Paleo lifestyle remains the same: returning to the roots of our food sources.
The premises of a Paleo diet is that our human bodies have not yet adjusted to modern foods that have been farmed, processed and genetically modified and that these foods are the root causes of poor health. This excerpt from the top Paleo site Nom-Nom Paleo reads:
“Agriculture came on the scene a mere 10,000 years ago—a tiny fraction of our evolutionary history—and there simply hasn’t been enough time and evolutionary pressure for humans to completely adapt to eating modern foods like wheat, sugar, chemically processed vegetable and seed oils, and other “Neolithic” foods. It’s not a coincidence that many modern diseases of civilization—including autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rampant obesity—have accompanied the global spread of industrialized food. That’s why the Paleo approach emphasizes returning to a more ancestral approach to eating.”
Many have experienced drastic changes in their health and well-being after switching to a Paleo lifestyle. Most notice a significant reduction in body fat, stabilization of blood glucose levels, healthy blood pressure, the improvement or diminishing of major health issues, etc.
Most followers of a Paleo diet agree on these core principles:
- Only eat foods that can naturally be picked or hunted in nature.
- Only eat meat products from animals raised naturally and fed their natural food.
- Eat as much lean meat, fish and seafood as you can
- Eat as much fruit and not starch vegetable as you can
- Avoid grain and cereals
- Avoid legumes
- Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined seed and vegetable oils
- Avoid all processed food
Paleo diets can differ from group to group and person to person. The basic foundation of a Paleo diet is to strictly consume foods that are hunted or gathered. If you hunt your own meat, gather berries, harvest nuts, and cook food over a fire then you are strictly living the Paleo lifestyle. This version is extremely difficult to adhere to in today’s world, so modifications have been made over time. The Autoimmune Paleo serves individuals with autoimmune conditions or advanced health issues. For these individuals eggs, nuts, and nightshade vegetables are highly recommended to avoid. In The Low-Carb version of Paleo no starches are allowed (like potatoes) and carbohydrates are kept below 100 grams per day. The Primal Paleo diet includes organic, grass-fed, whole (full-fat) dairy products. Mark Sisson at the popular website Mark’s Daily Apple has created a spin-off of Paleo with his Primal Blueprint. He sets a limit of 150 carbs per day, and is more lenient when it comes to dairy. Chris Kresser, author of Your Personal Paleo Code, shares a similar view about dairy, that raw or fermented, full-fat dairy might be OK for you, but you need to determine for yourself by eliminating dairy for a month from your diet, and then reintroducing it to see how your body reacts. The 80/20 Paleo diet is most popular, where 80% of your diet is considered strictly Paleo and 20% healthy foods that are not specifically Paleo.
Whichever version of the Paleo diet a person decides to follow is discretionary, but overall any variation of Paleo can be beneficial to one’s health and well-being.
Paleo Supplement Recommendations
There are many supplements that can be used to fill in nutritional gaps when following a Paleo diet in our hectic modern world. Most experts agree that the most important and common supplements for the Paleo lifestyle include Probiotics, Omega 3s (Healthy Fats and Oils), Vitamin D, and Protein. Perfect Supplements recommends Prescript-Assist as a probiotic, Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Perfect Coconut Oil as natural sources of Omega 3s, Vitamin D and healthy oils, and Perfect Desiccated Liver and Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen as Paleo-friendly supplements for Protein and Iron.
Looking for Paleo Diet friendly super foods and supplements? Please visit the Paleo Diet section of our store.