The paleo diet (the paleo diet, Stone Age diet, the diet of hunter-gatherers) — is a diet which is based on the exclusion of cereals, sugar, dairy and all other processed foods or products that contain artificial additives.
All this should be replaced with high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables. Sticking to the paleo way of life does not mean to be a vegan or vegetarian.
The diet is based on the presumed ancient diet of people during the Paleolithic Age – the historical period that lasted 2.5 million years and ended 10,000 years ago.
Scholars’ Researches and Opinions
Scientists have analyzed modern and ancient men for centuries and in the end, it was concluded that an excess of calories in relation to energy consumption is the basis of diseases of affluence, but not the consumption of certain products.
It is argued that the problem of the industrialized world health is the ready availability of food, as well as an imbalance of consumed and expended energy.
Followers of the Paleolithic diet claim that the main reason why you have to stick to it is that the human body, especially the digestive system is adapted to such kind of foods.
It is alleged that the consumption of dairy and other products (which were not available before the advent of agriculture) challenges both evolution and the human body.
Loren Cordain, American scientist, professor, a specialist in nutrition and the diet founder, explains what this diet is all about. She claims that the human genome was formed in the Paleolithic era and earlier.
Consequently, products that appeared later, contrary to the human genetic structure and correct nutrition system, so that they lead to permanent health problems.
According to a Polish research, 70% of the energy necessary for the human body, people of the Western world get from the food that early humans ate very rarely or not ate at all: dairy products, cereals, refined sugars and processed fats.
From studies on the paleo diet, it follows that this diet helps people lose weight much faster.
Organic meat derived from animals reared in natural conditions: beef, lamb, venison. For example, bison meat, or venison, as well as the liver, kidneys and so on and you should purchase them only from reliable suppliers, such as the agricultural market, where the farmers sell the products themselves (you should choose pieces of meat with bones).
The higher the price of the meat, the better it is. In the organic meat ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is more optimal than in the animals that are fed with grain concentrates on farms. Moreover, it is almost impossible that animals raised in vivo were fed with hormone supplements or antibiotics.
The paleo diet allows to eat lean meats and proteins:
- Lean beef steak, lean cutlets, grilled and steamed meat.
- Lean pork: loin, chops, and various lean tenderloin
- Hare, goat, pheasant, venison, bore and horsemeat.
This meat must be obtained from chickens, ducks and turkeys grown up in vivo (Latin for “within the living” – in a natural environment)
They should be obtained from poultry grown up in vivo.
Fish and seafood
Different types of fish grown in their natural habitat, such as salmon, sardines, cod, mackerel, trout and oysters, mussels, and so on. As for farmed fish, it contains fewer useful nutrients.
Grown in the wild, such as cabbage, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers, garlic, spinach, mushrooms, onions, turnips, and watercress.
They include almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and so on. But it should be mentioned that peanuts belong to the beans, they are not nuts, so they should not be consumed.
Fruits and berries
They are avocadoes, apples, olives, apricots, coconuts, citrus, peaches, pears, grapes, melon, berries, etc.
Oil for sauces cooking
Coconut oil, and avocado oil.
Various herbs and spices (coriander, thyme, paprika, garlic, onions, etc.), but without salt.
Basically water. It can be considered the most important of all the nutrients, because our bodies are largely made up of it. What is more, water is essential for the absorption of nutrients and the flow of processes in the body.
Good drinks also include green tea and herbal teas without sugar, such as mint, chamomile, and others – but not fruit ones. Coconut water, natural isotonic drink, also can be considered a good drink.
Foods to Avoid
Exclusion of these products from the diet will exert a positive impact on your health.
Xylitol, chocolates, sweets, and various artificial additives.
Whole grain foods and purified wheat (bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, noodles), rye, corn, oats and all other types of grain (including millet, rice, buckwheat and so on) and granola.
All dairy products, including butter, cheese, cream, whey, cottage cheese, yogurt, and so on.
Beans (including soybeans and peanuts), and so on.
Salt, vinegar, yeast.
Black tea, coffee, all alcoholic drinks, all sodas, all sweetened beverages (both with natural, and all other types of sweeteners), dietary non-caloric or low-calorie drinks, fruit and vegetable juices (they do not contain fiber, which indicates a higher content of sugar).
This product should be completely eliminated or be used only in very small quantities, as they can contain a lot of sugar. For example, a ripe mango contains 15 percent of sugar, while the dried one – 74 percent, and it’s almost the same amount of sugar as in candy.
All ready-made products
All foods that are sold in packages of ready-portioned meals, as they contain grains and dairy ingredients, as well as many food additives.
It is necessary to eliminate all semi-cooked products.
Soybean, soybean milk, and any soy-based products.
There are several clinical studies confirming that soy foods cause thyroid dysfunction, digestive disorders, disorders of the reproductive system and cancer.
Industrial trans fats
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are often found in bakery products and fried foods.
Vegetable oils and spreads
These include sunflower oil, vegetable oil, margarine and so on.
All fruit and vegetable smoothies are rich in vitamins and minerals, but they are able to exert a sufficiently strong negative impact on blood sugar levels. However, they contain much less fat than the natural fruits and vegetables. Cocktails can contain even more sugar than carbonated drink!
Any cereal and high-protein snacks that are eaten as a substitute for the usual lunch or afternoon tea.
Why should you not use products that do not belong to the paleo diet?
Nature has given to all living things – both animals and plants – a set of protective gear against predators, although it is not so easy to see all. Not all plants have thorns, but it does not mean that they are completely exposed.
Plants can also have other protection mechanisms, such as chemicals. This is the case with cereals, beans and even vegetables such as tomatoes. They all contain chemicals which should protect grains from eating and ensure safety during passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
Some of these proteins are destroyed by the heat during cooking, or during germination of fermentation, and others are not destroyed by these processes but are still not absorbed, causing irritation and inflammation of the intestines.
These mechanisms of protection can be activated at once, causing an allergic reaction or intolerance or neurointoxications or can influence gradually, leading to problems with the immune system and inflammation, which can cause serious diseases.
It can be said that these protective substances act opposite to nutrients function. Lectins are a good example of these protective substances.
This protein, found in plants, such as cereals, seeds, legumes and solanaceae (e.g., tomato and potato). Its main function is to protect the seeds.
Lectins have a tendency to retain in the intestines, where they play the role of saboteurs, penetrating the heart of our immune system.
This can lead to increased intestinal permeability and other problems of the immune system and insulin resistance. Studies show that the majority of lectins are harmless, but a certain group of lectins contained in cereals, legumes and solanaceous plants, are harmful to humans.
Paleo diet sample menu for one day
Scientists, nutritionists advise to stick to paleo diet at least for two weeks, if you want to see the first positive results such as skin improvement, hair becomes healthier and shiny, and the excess weight will gradually go away. The daily diet may look something like this:
- Immediately after awakening: 250-300 ml of still water at room temperature;
- First breakfast: fruit salad (1-2 handfuls), 1 boiled egg;
- Second breakfast: an apple, a handful of fresh berries;
- For 15 minutes before lunch: 100 ml of carbonated water;
- Lunch: fish fillet steamed, the salad of lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Half an hour after the lunch – a glass of carbonated water;
- 15 minutes before dinner: a glass of warm still water;
- Dinner: chicken cooked in any form, except for the grill, served with – 150-200 grams of boiled asparagus with a spoon of olive oil;
- For 2 hours before bedtime: fruit salad.
Leave your comments and opinions about your experiences with the paleo diet. Did you notice any improvements in health?