Whenever I tell someone that I’m a paleo dieter, nine times out of ten, I’m met with a blank stare. Those two words tend to mean next to nothing for most people. In all honesty, the diet idea has been around for literally thousands of years, but it’s only in the last couple that it’s really been examined and implemented, and that paleo cookbooks and paleo reference books have begun to appear on bookstore shelves.
“So, what is the paleo diet?” “Paleo” is short for paleolithic, and it refers to diet of the cavemen living during the paleolithic era. These early humans were hunter-gatherers, and their diets were limited to what could be killed or collected, things like meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and eggs.
Foods like grain products and dairy products were not available to these hunter-gatherers, therefore, they are restricted from the paleo diet, as are anything processed or unnatural.
There are also a few things that paleo purists will tell you are not allowed, but that the average follower of the diet has some leniency to. These are things like salt or oils made from nuts or fruits. No, cavemen did not have access to these things, but only because they lacked the knowledge to harvest them. Both do technically exists in a natural state. They only need a small amount of outside intervention to be made, and the choice to consume them is completely up to the paleo-ite.
“What are the benefits of a paleo diet?” Early proponants of this diet claimed that the human body was not created to digest or process anything that does not exist in the wild. Others argue that we have evolved to match our diets. Whether you agree with either one, everyone can see benefits from a paleo lifestyle.
Two of the most common food allergies today are wheat and milk. The number of cases of gluten allergies are on the rise and according to an article in USAToday, 60% of adults are lactose intolerant. By eliminating grain and dairy products from our diets, we eliminate the symptoms associated with these allergies.
There are also other benefits to this low-carb high-protein lifestyle. Many studies have shown a corolation between high-carb diets and obesity. By not consuming as many carbohydrates, paleo dieters are better able to maintain a healthy weight.
Athletes see great gains in both physique and performance through a low-carb high-protein diet. Protein is essential for muscle growth, and by consuming relatively high amounts of protein and healthy fats, they have increased growth as well as more energy and focus.
I hope I’ve peaked your interest in the paleo diet enough to convince you to give it a shot, or at the very least to check out a few reference books or paleo cookbooks. It’s not just a diet, but a viable lifestyle for anyone who wants to feel better, look better or just live better.