The Paleo diet is a modern take on an ancient diet from the Paleolithic era that quite literally consists of nuts, seeds, leaf greens, meat, vegetables fruits, herbs and spices.
These foods are derived from the earth and are 100% natural, containing no added preservatives, saturated fats or sugars.
Known as the cave man’s diet, the simple rule is that if you can’t hunt, gather or pick it, you can’t eat it.
The Paleo diet strictly excludes refined sugars, some allow small amounts of honey, but only as a treat.
The diet also excludes all grains, beans and any processed meats (hot dogs, salami, devon etc). Most dairy products are excluded from the diet including milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, ice cream cheese, etc.
It sounds restricting and limited but really it’s just going back to basics, eating raw unprocessed foods. Also, there are a few variations of the diet so it’s all about finding the version best suited to your body’s needs. Health blogger Lori Harito talks about finding the perfect paleo diet for you.
Who should eat Paleo?
People who are trying to lose weight and manage their health are drawn to the Paleo diet according to Cynthia Wu, dietitian from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. People who eat a lot of processed foods and don’t pay enough attention to the nutrients and vitamins they aren’t consuming, should consider a focused Paleo diet to give their bodies the right type of fuel such as protein, healthy fats and calcium. It’s also a great diet to go on for a good detox.
Who shouldn’t eat Paleo?
A recent article by Healthy Living (2014) revealed that the Paleo diet is not for everyone, particularly those who are predisposed to heart or vascular disease. This is because the diet is predominantly protein based which can trigger heart problems.
Benefits of Paleo
Health blogger Lori Harito talks about the benefits of eating Paelo, “You really do start to notice your weight dropping and your body getting slimmer as you burn off stored fat”. You will begin to notice that you have more energy and feel less lethargic especially towards the end of the day. If you are someone that suffers from bloating you will notice this becoming less frequent, you’ll also sleep better at night because of it. According Lori you may even notice your skin becoming clearer and cleaner. Allergies can be reduced, and dental health can improve.
Eating like a cave man can have its drawbacks. A lot of people find it difficult to totally cut grains from their diets. Grains are a staple food for most and the idea of completely cutting grains may seem daunting and super impractical.
The paleo diet has various reasons for abandoning grains such as avoiding gluten to increase digestion function, avoiding phytic acid (highest doses found in legumes and grains) to prevent or correct mineral deficiencies and generally avoiding high carbohydrate foods to aid digestion, maintain a healthy weight and replace quick, non-lasting energy foods with foods that will supply your body with sustenance and fuel for long periods of time.
After reading about the highs and lows of the Paleo diet you may be thinking you’d like to give it a go but are worried it may be a hassle to prepare meals under such strict rules. However, the Paleo diet is more about getting back to basics -eating raw, organic produce as opposed to adding lots of different ingredients to make a complicated dish. Here are a few meal suggestions to get you going:
Poached eggs with mushrooms, avocado, garlic and kale with green tea.
Leafy green salad with carrots, cucumber, fresh beetroot, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, tuna and bean sprouts with lemon and sea-salt dressing.
Vension steak, sautéed asparagus with steamed summer squash and lemon juice, coconut milk and cinnamon.
Sliced apples with cinnamon and organic almond, cashew and brazil nut butter.
Trail mix: dates, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and brazil nuts.
Banana smoothie with coconut water, nuts and seeds, berries, almond milk and rice syrup.
BB Intern Lauren Walker
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