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The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
Painting of a group of cavemen on a hill
The Science Behind the Paleolithic Diet
There is a lot of information available on the Paleo Diet. A quick search on google will provide you with tons of results claiming all sorts of health benefits. It can be a little difficult to get to the core concepts when digging through all the noise. That’s why we took it upon ourselves to dig deep and find the truth! The Paleolithic Diet advocates for the consumption of natural, whole and unprocessed foods. It focuses on fruits and veggies as well as meats and fish while removing sugars, dairies, and grains
The Paleo diet gained popularity sometime in the 1980s. It follows the nutrition of our paleolithic ancestors. They existed sometime between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago. Humans lived as hunter-gatherers and ate only what was seasonal. Lacking agriculture and industry, our ancestors ate only what nature provided. There was no refining or modifications. There were only natural, unprocessed foods consumed raw or cooked over a fire. Paleo Diet proponents state humans have not evolved much since. However, science tells a different story. Evolution has played a pivotal role in our eating habits. Paleolithic humans ate a variety of foods across the entire world. There is no singular caveman diet (just as there is no singular Mediterranean Diet). Cavemen lived hard, short lives. Some of the hunter-gatherer communities that exist today live in similar conditions. The original Paleo study stated that all paleolithic diets focused on “real foods” with high micronutrients. Their conclusions were not that the diet was healthier, only that it could be a model to live by.
So, maybe the Paleolithic Diet isn’t quite about eating exactly like cavemen. That said, studies show that natural foods help maintain a healthier lifestyle. The Paleo diet is high protein, moderate in unsaturated fats, and low to moderate carbohydrates. It restricts sodium and refined sugars. This is a diet that homes in on natural, non-processed foods. That’s what makes it a healthy diet plan. The rest is debatable, but don’t dismiss it! The Paleo diet has a ton of health benefits that can help you lose weight and get healthy.
An apple and a bottle of fruit hanging together
What are the Health Benefits?
Studies show that the Paleo Diet can lower the risk of heart disease, type-two diabetes and reduces obesity. It can also help moderate type-two diabetes by improving glucose tolerance and cardiovascular risk. A study in Sweden followed 70 post-menopausal women with obesity for 2 years. The group that followed the Paleo diet saw greater weight loss in the first 6 months, but not so much after. There was a significant reduction in their triglyceride levels. This they were at a decreased risk for heart disease. The Paleo Diet also helps to reduce inflammation and promotes clean eating. It reduces your intake of chemicals and preservatives. The average American diet has less than the recommended daily amount of both fruits and vegetables. There is a high concentration of processed carbohydrates. Cutting out empty calories on the Paleo diet can lead to weight loss. Increasing your consumption of whole, natural foods can improve your health. If your family has a history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, the diet can help reduce your risk.
It’s important to remember to maintain a balanced diet even when you’re on a diet plan that restricts specific food groups. Using the Paleo Diet as an excuse to eat a lot of red meat can negate its cardiovascular health benefits. Because it’s low in dairy, you may develop a deficiency in Vitamin D. That could lead to osteoporosis. Maintain the diet as needed for your lifestyle and the Paleo Diet can be a beneficial change.
A Day in the Life of the Caveman Diet
There might be many iterations of the Paleo Diet the most popular stems from a Western approach. Eat lots of meats like poultry or beef, fish, fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Depending on the diet you follow, other foods are allowed. All Paleo Diets agree that the plan abstains from refined sugars, dairy products, beans and legumes, and grains. Anything that would have required farming is out of your meal plan. You’ll want to approach this diet plan with a simple mental exercise. If a caveman would eat it, then you can too! If a caveman couldn’t eat it, then it’s best to skip it.
Paleo Dieters use a plate template for their three meals of the day. According to PaleoLeap, it looks something like half a plate to a 1/3 of vegetables, ¼ to 1/3 a plate of meat. The rest consists of healthy fats, a few fruits, and more veggies or nuts. Here’s a sample template for a day of Paleo eating, derived from multiple Paleo-approved sources.
Breakfast: Start your most important meal of the day with a pesto cauliflower rice bowl. Cauliflower makes a great substitute for white or brown rice. It’s high in fiber which makes you feel fuller for longer—sounds a lot like a fruit and nut bar we know! Cauliflower is also low-carb and low-cal, making it a great addition to any meal. Most importantly, using it as the base in this rice bowl means you’ll have all the veggie you need.
Lunch: If sandwiches are your go-to, you’re going to have to skip the bread. How about trying some portobello mushrooms, instead? You can use them in a sandwich or top them on a burger or even stuff them with vegetables for a delicious and hearty meal. You can have all sorts of fun meals with portobello mushrooms.
Snack Time: Can’t forget that all-important snack time in the day. Though we usually are pretty strict about all that snacking, on the Paleo Diet it’s a good idea to have one snack a day. Some sources say Paleo Dieters may have trouble eating enough calories throughout the day. If you’re looking to lose weight, then this might be good for you. If you’re looking to maintain your weight you want to eat the same amount of calories day in and day out. The best part of eating snacks on the Paleo diet is that they are always going to be healthy! Do them the right way and you’ll have yourself a snickerdoodle protein ball smack in between lunch and dinner.
Dinner: For your final meal of the day, bake a tasty, garlicky salmon with a side of superfood broccoli to top off your day. Salmon’s one of the best proteins you can get. It’s full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and cancer risk. Combined with broccoli, this is one vitamin-packed, healthy meal.
If you’re wondering what you can drink on the diet, you might be surprised to find that you don’t just have to drink water. Water is definitely the most essential liquid in the paleo repertoire. But, you can partake in some coffee, coconut water, fresh-juiced juices with their pulp. Alcohol is allowed if you can abstain from the brands which use grains.
Hand holding a bowl of fruit with a fork ready
A Diet Plan Can Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals
The Paleo Diet can help you reach your self-improvement goals and set you on the way to a healthier lifestyle. If the diet is a little too restrictive for you, there are ways you can modify it. Eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial for your health. Take a chance and try out the diet, it may work for you! On the off chance that it doesn’t, there are plenty of other diet plans you can try. Remember, the best diet plan is one that you can follow and stick to. In the meantime, Snack Less is here for you! With one of our fruit bars or gums, you’ll be snacking less in no time.
Each fruit bar and gum is combined with the unique Hoodia parviflora plant that is grown and cultivated in our very own desert fields. Hoodia parviflora affects the hunger centers of your brain. It will keep you feeling fuller for longer, resulting in less snacking. So, grab one of our tasty fruit and nut bars or chew on a piece of sugar-free gum. It’s a great way to keep the calories down whether you’re on a specific diet or not!