You’ve probably heard of the ‘paleo diet’ but maybe you aren’t sure exactly what it is. In simple terms, it’s a diet plan mimicking what our ancient ancestors would have eaten.
It’s also known as the ‘caveman diet’ or ‘stone-age diet’, and the idea is that you go back to eating what the first humans ate when they were hunter-gatherers.
This includes nuts, fruits, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and seeds. It doesn’t include foods that became more common as humans became more civilised and began farming, such as grains, legumes and dairy.
The paleo diet is based on the idea that our bodies are not well adjusted for modern food and takes it right back to the palaeolithic era from around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, a time period that humans first began to evolve.
There’s a belief that while our way of living has changed, the way our bodies function hasn’t. That modern and processed foods are believe to contribute to health issues, such as obesity, diabetes and other weight related issues.
When it comes to the food groups you can eat on this diet, one of them is meat – think non processed – such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork as well as seafood, such as salmon trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish can be included on the eating plan.
Paleo meat is usually considered organic, grass-fed as well as pasture raised meat is ideal and is wild-caught fish.
What’s more, the diet includes majority of fruit and vegetables as well as nuts, seeds and eggs.
The idea is to not eat foods are processed or when farming began to take place. So grains, such as wheat, oats and barley, aren’t part of the plan.
Dairy products, such as milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese, aren’t part of the diet, as well as refined and added sugar, starchy vegetables such as white potatoes, highly processed foods, such as chips or cookies and also vegetable oils.
Other grains such as breads, pastas, cereal, rye, legumes as well as beans, lentils are also not part of this type of diet.
Paleo Bread is low carb, high protein, and is packed full of nuts, seeds and nutrients and doesn’t contain wheat. The key being that it is naturally gluten free.
As the paleo diet doesn’t encourage sugars or caffeine, it can help improve your quality of sleep, help you lose weight and also helps those with type 2 diabetes stabilise their blood sugar levels.
It can also help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol and you may feel more energised eating foods like nuts and seeds.
One of the biggest drawbacks and criticisms of this caveman diet is that it limits so many food groups and also the lack of dairy also means a lack in calcium, although it can be found in other foods.
Because this stone age diet is so restrictive, it might also be harder to maintain long term.
With such a restrictive diet, you may be able to lose weight quickly. The paleo diet might also help prevent heart disease and help you get down to a healthy weight due to plant foods in the meal plan.
However, it is important to note that following a restrictive diet like the paleo diet can be difficult and may lead to nutrient deficiencies if not followed properly.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
Additionally, sustainable weight loss is often achieved through a combination of healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and overall lifestyle changes rather than through a quick-fix diet.
However, it is important to note that the long-term sustainability of a strict paleo diet is questionable, as it eliminates entire food groups and can be difficult to maintain in social situations.
Additionally, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition, and some people may not respond well to the paleo diet for various reasons.
It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or making significant changes to your current eating habits.
When compared to the keto diet, which is a high fat, low carb diet. Both diets cut out grains, legumes and sugars but keto isn’t as restrictive as paleo. For example, you can eat high fat dairy on the keto diet but paleo doesn’t allow you to eat it, whereas high sugar fruit, such as orange, peach, grape, apple, can be eaten following paleo but not keto.
Furthermore, keto may help you lose weight faster, but it might be harder to maintain. Whereas, paleo is easier to stick to in some ways but you might not lose weight as fast.
Ultimately, the best diet for an individual depends on their goals and preferences. When following a diet, we believe you should check with an expert first.
We believe in eating a varied diet at The Healthy Mummy. We also don’t believe in cutting out whole food groups, like the paleo diet.
However, we do have some paleo-inspired recipes on our Healthy Mummy app.
If you fancied dipping your toe in and trying some paleo-inspired meals, as there are many different versions of the paleo diet, then you can try some of these.
We believe in eating whole foods and also limiting processed foods and sugar but everything in moderation.
A veggie-loaded salad from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge that will fill you with nutrients and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
This recipe is a zesty lunch option packed with vitamin C, folate, protein and fibre. It’s perfect to make for yourself, or if you’re having friends over and want a ‘cafe quality’ salad option that is different from your usual home made salad.
If you want a healthy meal that takes just 15 minutes to prepare, this Speedy Beef Stir Fry is for you. Super quick, super tasty and super healthy.
You can swap the vegetables to what you have on hand and the beef for chicken if you prefer. Totally flexible.