Did you ever think a diet that mimics the way your caveman ancestors ate would become one of the fastest growing diet and weight loss plans? Well, that is exactly what has happened with the Paleo diet.
With the increasingly high rates of obesity, disease and overall bad health, researchers began to wonder if this was due to all of the overly processed foods that many people eat on a regular basis.
They thought that perhaps our bodies are not processing these foods well because they were never designed to eat them in the first place.
Think about it—there were no pizzas, frozen dinners, chicken nuggets or spaghetti during the Paleolithic period. There was also very little, if any, incidences of cardio vascular disease, cancer, chronic inflammation or all the other illnesses found in today’s Western cultures. After conducting all of this research on how our ancestors ate, the Paleo diet was born.
What can you eat on the Paleo diet
The list of foods and drinks that you can eat on the Paleo diet is somewhat limited and comes as a bit of a shock when people first see it. The only allowable foods are meat (preferably grass-fed), seafood/fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, healthy oils (like coconut and avocado), nuts and seeds—basically all the foods that Paleolithic men ate. The foods that are not allowed on a Paleo diet include anything processed, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, potatoes, grains, legumes (yes, peanuts too), salt, refined vegetable oils and dairy.
At first glance, you may wonder why anyone would limit themselves to such a small sampling of food for the rest of their lives. But die-hard Paleo followers will tell you that they have never felt or looked better since adapting this way of eating.
Benefits of a Paleo diet
While the food options are somewhat limited, the diet does eliminate many of the foods that are the cause of many health problems like processed foods and sugar. As a result of not eating these foods, your body starts to function the way it was intended without the sick, tired and not-so-good feeling people often experience.
Those who follow a strict Paleo diet claim that they have lost weight, they sleep better, their moods are much improved as is their mental function, and they have more energy. Some experts state that you can also lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, and reverse specific autoimmune diseases.
Pros and cons of the Paleo diet
Eating a Paleo diet has some definite advantages including those mentioned like losing weight, increasing your energy level and feeling better.
The focus on natural, whole foods is also a great way to eat a healthy diet while eliminating foods that do more harm than good. On the flip side, it can be difficult to give up foods that you have lived on most of your life like dairy, grains, peanut butter—even caffeine.
The diet may be too limiting and too much of a drastic change for you to maintain for the long-term. And the Paleo diet is not a plan with a beginning and an end like other diet plans. It is a way of life for most of its followers who usually never go back to their former way of eating.
Should you try the Paleo diet
Why would anyone not want to try a diet that has so many health benefits and relies on food in its natural state rather than being processed and stripped away of its vital nutrients? But if you do set out to eat a Paleo diet, start slow.
Rather than give up every food on the “don’t” list at once, try giving up one each week or every few days to give yourself time to adapt to the change. If you attempt to do it all at once, you may get frustrated and give up on it. Also beware that the diet includes a lot of fat, albeit healthy fat. If you are trying to lose weight, be mindful of how much fat you are eating so you do not overdo it.
What the Paleo diet will not, and should not do, is leave you feeling deprived or starving. The allowable foods are loaded with protein and healthy fat which should get you through each day with a lot of energy and little chance of feeling hungry. There are many books, magazines and websites that focus on the Paleo lifestyle. They offer excellent recipes and tips for making the diet interesting so you do not get bored with eating the same foods.
In the end, do what feels right for you. You can eat a Paleo diet every day of the week or a few days a week. It is all about finding the right balance in terms of your goals and your lifestyle.
There are many diets available to try with costs varying from free to ridiculously expensive. The two diet plans/programmes with throughly recommend are:
The 5:2 Diet – this is fast the fasting or intermittent fasting principle. This has been in the media lately due to Michael Mosley’s branded version – The Fast Diet. It is well worth a look and can be used in conjunction with the 5:2 Fast Formula, an appetite suppressant that can help you through the hunger pangs and replace lost minerals.
Fitium – an online diet program, that has been created with the help of a doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer, putting years of experience into an easy to follow system, you can access online 24/7 from the comfort of your home.
The cost is just a few £/$ a week – the price of a Starbucks coffee as they put it. It does require you do something but your chances of success are high. It depends if you actually want to lose weight or are just happy with idea of losing weight.