What Is A Paleo Diet?
Many people are asking “What is a Paleo Diet?” only to find themselves getting more confused as they read and hear varying answers from several experts. Some claim that Paleo should include grains and dairy while others say that such foods should not be present in the Paleo diet.
Others find themselves speculating on what our ancestors really ate and then start becoming perplexed with the thought that these foods our Paleo ancestors ate are mostly too difficult to obtain today.
There are also proponents who suggest that Paleo can be a high-carb, low-fat diet provided that all the carbs would have been available to a hunter-gatherer.
By strict definition a Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet means only consuming equivalent foods to those our hunter-gatherer ancestors did. If you can imagine that there were suddenly no stores and your survival depended on what you could catch (animals) or pick (fruits and vegetables) and you will be close to understanding the basics of the diet.
Of course today you do buy these things in stores, but based on that criteria. This diet mainly consists of grass-fed meat, eggs, poultry, wild-caught fish, seafood, vegetables, tubers, herbs, fruits and a small amounts of seeds and nuts.
Food that is not allowed includes anything that would require a processing or manufacturing process to produce, such as any tinned and packaged food. Most legumes, cane sugar, artificial and refined sweeteners are excluded.
Also on the disallowed list are dairy foods and any grain-based products including bread, pasta and rice. None of these items were available to the hunter-gatherer and only became available after humans started farming land and domesticating animals and further processing the produce.
What Paleo Is All About
The principle behind Paleo is simple – eat only those foods that are not difficult for your body to digest, foods that nourish and foods that enable your entire systems to self-regulate. Making a shift to Paleo is definitely not about doing some historical reenactment but it is all about following certain practical guidelines that allow an individual to stick to better nutritional choices.
Paleo is not explicitly low-carb. It also does not require a person to count their calorie consumption. It is also not about starving yourself just to lose excess poundage.
Paleo is all about eating real, whole and unprocessed foods. It also encourages one to stop eating highly-palatable foods that are often unhealthy as they are most often filled with preservatives and harmful ingredients. A big benefit of a Paleo diet is that it is much harder to overeat.
Paleo foods are much lower G.I. per unit consumed than an equivalent amount of simple sugar carbs, while at the same time providing more of the essential nutrients the body requires for correct function. Therefore, eating Paleo meals means the brain receives signals that the stomach is full far sooner.
Paleo food, which is predominantly protein and complex carbohydrates, is used by the body and brain for correct functioning. Conversely, so much of the modern Western diet is based on high-G.I. simple carbs and much of this is readily stored as fat.
For those who are conditioned to feeding their taste buds rather than their body’s true dietary needs, the Paleo diet may seem initially dull and austere. This is a superficial view as good food tastes good. Paleo food prepared well is extremely appetizing and is the food our body really craves, even if our taste buds can be fooled otherwise with artificial additives.