What is a Paleo Diet?

nutrition | June 23, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Digestion

What is a Paleo Diet?

Paleo, short for paleolithic, is an ancestral approach to eating real, whole, naturally-occurring and nutrient-dense foods that are truly nourishing to our bodies. The Paleo approach really encompasses the idea that food is medicine.

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates, 5th century BC

Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, had recognised as far back as the 5th century BC, the value of eating well and the potential for certain foods to optimize long-term health.

paleoThe paleo diet is based on the concept that humans should be eating foods which we are genetically adapted for, with the premise, that human genetics have hardly changed since the dawn of agriculture. Research has shown that the aged populations of hunter-gatherer societies were virtually free of high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases that have become endemic in Western societies.

Once industrialized food production took over, the modern diet changed dramatically! Now it includes wheat, soy, trans fats, sugar, and highly processed food.

This has  resulted in rates of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility to increase exponentially.  

Paleo Principles Explained

What to Eat:

Healthy oils like olive, flaxseed, avocado, macadamia, coconut and walnut oil. Saturated fats like beef tallow, lard and duck fat are also good.

paleo proteinAnimal protein. This includes fresh meats, preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat.

Organs meats (liver, kidney and heart), wild caught fish and shellfish and eggs preferably also from grass-fed chickens.

Stock that is made with organic animal bones for bone broth is one of the most important things in the paleo approach.

Fresh vegetables either cooked or raw. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams are a great source of non-toxic carbohydrates.

Fruit and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruit that is low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3, low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fat like macadamia nuts. It is preferable to choose organic, local and/or seasonal fruits and vegetables.

What not to eat:

paleo what not to eat

Processed food like fast food and ready-made-meals.

Potatoes. They contain an antinutrient than damages the intestine and the starch they contain causes blood sugar levels to spike.

Vegetable and seed oils including margarine, soya bean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower and palm oil.

Refined and added sugars like fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, agave syrup, golden syrup, malt syrup, molasses, rice syrup, jam, marmalade, jelly, tomato sauce, hoi sin sauce and BBQ sauce. Soft drinks and all packaged sweets and juices are all to be avoided.

Dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream and yogurt.

Grains which include flour, barley, rice, corn, sorghum, amaranth, wild rice, spelt, rye and oats.

Legumes and beans such as adzuki, baked, beansprouts, black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, peanuts, pinto beans, sugar snap peas, soy and related products like tofu, miso, soya milk and soy sauce.  

What Does a Paleo Diet Look Like?

paleo breakfastBreakfast Two eggs (cooked anyway), with a side of wilted spinach dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. A few cherry tomatoes, half an avocado, and a side of fermented sauerkraut or cup of bone broth.

Lunch 2 cups of mixed green salad with 1 cup of baked sweet potato or pumpkin, grated raw beetroot and carrot, walnuts and fresh basil pesto dressing topped with 150-200g of grilled chicken.

Dinner 200g grass fed beef marinated in rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Served with a grilled Portobello mushroom and 2 cups of slaw salad made with shredded red cabbage, white cabbage and carrot with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Snacks

1 piece of fruit sliced with 1 teaspoon of almond or macadamia nut butter.

paleo snacksA glass of either fresh coconut juice or coconut milk & mixed berry smoothie.

100g sardines in extra virgin olive oil with tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice.

5-6 carrot, celery and/or red capsicum sticks with cashew nut based hummus, guacamole or babaganush.

Boiled eggs.green juice with leafy greens, apple, celery, ginger and cucumber.

Tips to Make the Paleo Diet Easier:

Be organised. Spend time at the beginning of the week to shop and prepare food for the week ahead.

Plan ahead. Plan meals in advance so you have something tasty to look forward to. That way you are not getting hungry and reaching for the wrong foods.

Take foods. If you work away from home, make delicious lunches to take.

Restock the cupboards and fridge. If there is only paleo friendly food in the house it makes it impossible to cheat.

paleo vegetablesVeggie box delivery. This ensures eating fresh organic vegetables each week and there may be different varieties included to try.

Keep it simple. With each meal try and include a protein with some vegetables or fruit.

Eat regularly. Don’t let yourself get hungry. Eat little and often with small snacks of nuts and seeds and fruit. 

At a biological level, our bodies respond to real, whole food that comes from the land. It is these highly nutritious foods that our bodies have evolved to thrive on. Now more than ever we need to go back to basics and back to the fundamental principles of simple and clean eating in order to regain health and live happier lives free of chronic disease. 

References

http://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Evolutionary-Health-Promotion-Consideration-of-Common-Counter-Argument-The-Paleo-Diet.pdf

http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v56/n3/full/1601307a.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17522610

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19604407

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19209185

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23414424

Gedgaudas, N.T. 2011. Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life. Vermont: Healing Arts Press

Blum, E. 2013. Caveman don’t get Fat. New York: Gallery Books

Skipper, J. 2014. The Paleo Diet Made Easy. New York: Octopus Publishing Group

Green, D. 2014. The Paleo Diet: Food Your Body is Designed to Eat. Great Britain: Kyle Books

backBack to Blog Home