As you’re probably aware, the human race is in pretty bad shape at this moment in time. Obesity rates are through the roof, weight-related illnesses are becoming more common with each passing day, healthcare officials and governments are spending billions upon billions on weight-related healthcare every single year, and perhaps most shockingly of all, life expectancies are actually on the decline.
For the first time in recorded history, children born in this generation, are predicted to have a shorter lifespan than their own parents had, which is unheard of considering the huge advances in modern medicine and technology. What’s even more frustrating is the fact that all of these issues could quite easily be avoided, by simply making a few healthy lifestyle changes.
We’re a race that is becoming increasingly sedentary, as many of us spend our days barely moving, so obviously we don’t get enough exercise. Combine this with the fact that many people consume far too many processed foods which are packed full of complete junk, and all of a sudden the reason for the human race’s declining health and expanding waistlines becomes all too clear. To counter this, changes in diet and lifestyle are recommended by experts, and there is one diet that has been found to be incredibly beneficial, which we’ll be looking at in this article. The diet in question is the Paleo diet, and here is your ultimate guide to this very diet.
What is the paleo diet?
First and foremost, before we go any further, it’s important that we clear one thing up. The paleo diet isn’t simply a diet at all, it is actually a change in lifestyle and dietary habits.
Diets are commonly used by people as a short term solution to lose weight when they’ve found themselves putting on a few stubborn pounds. The paleo diet isn’t a quick fix, it is a way of life, and it is designed to promote health and well-being, with the added bonus of also assisting with weight loss in the process. The paleo diet is basically a diet which encourages followers to change their dietary habits and to only consume certain types of food, and to avoid others.
The foods that followers should consume are very similar to those that our ancient caveman ancestors used to consume back in paleolithic times, hence the name ‘Paleo-diet’. Basically, an emphasis is placed upon consuming all natural foods, rather than processed or refined foods.
Why follow a paleo diet plan?
The standard everyday diet in more developed parts of the world, is commonly rich in refined foods, processed foods, and other types of food and drink that are loaded full of sugar, chemicals, additives, and all kinds of artificial ingredients that do the body no good at all. Because of this, the number of people suffering with food allergies and food intolerances is at an all-time high, not to mention the fact that these foods are causing people to gain a lot of body fat, which in turn, is severely harming their health.
You see, the paleo diet places an emphasis on eating the same types of foods that cavemen used to eat several million years ago, back in the paleolithic era. The foods they ate had to be caught, killed, found, or foraged in the wild. Now, if we fast-forward to around 10,000 years ago, one of mankind’s greatest discoveries, was farming and agriculture, yet sadly, that is where many of our problems arise from.
If you look at the physique of a caveman, you’ll see that they were incredibly lean and pretty muscular, with barley an ounce of fat on them. The average human being today however, looks very different indeed, and sadly, not for the better either.
When things started going wrong
Around 10,000 years ago, mankind discovered farming and agriculture, which means that we then learnt how to become self-sufficient. Rather than having to hunt down foods, and chase foods through the wilderness, we discovered that we could plant seeds, grow crops, breed and keep animals, and grind and process these foods to make flour, grains, and other processed foods, which could then allow us to make bread, rice, pasta, and other similar types of food.
The human race began to become complacent, as rather than having to exercise and walk/run miles in the hope of catching/finding food, we instead basically planted seeds, watered them occasionally, and harvested them and ate them. We also began keeping animals and breeding them for food, instead of having to chase them. All of a sudden, after more than two million years, the average human diet changed dramatically, and evolution still hasn’t quite adapted.
A matter of evolution
Currently, the number of people suffering from various food allergies and intolerances is at an all-time high, and you yourself probably know at least one person with a food allergy. Common food allergies and intolerances include:
- Gluten intolerances such as celiac disease
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Wheat allergies
- Lactose intolerances
- Soy allergies
Of course there are other types of allergy out there, including peanut allergies and shellfish allergies, but generally, the five allergy examples listed above, are some of the more common allergies and intolerances that people are likely to suffer from. If you take a look at those foods, you’ll see that the majority of them include foods that have to be farmed and processed in order for them to be made edible. Although 10,000 years is a heck of a long time, in evolutionary terms, it isn’t very long at all. Because these types of food have only been consumed for around 10,000 years, human beings have not yet evolved to be able to always properly process and digest these foods properly, which is why they often cause so many allergies and intolerances. With paleo-friendly foods however, human beings have consumed these foods for more than two million years, so we have properly evolved enough to be able to effectively process and digest these types of foods, without suffering any ill-effects. Of course there is the odd exception, but generally speaking, our bodies and our digestive systems have evolved enough to be able to utilize paleo-friendly foods to their full potential.
What can you eat and drink on a paleo diet?
Put very simply, if cavemen used to eat these types of food back during the paleolitic era, you can eat it now. Obviously you can cook your food and purchase it from a store, rather than having to hunt it down in the wild, but the principle still remains the same. If it can be found, foraged, or killed, you can eat it. Typical paleo-foods include:
- Grass-fed white meats
- Grass-fed red meats
- Free-range eggs
- Most vegetables
- Nuts (other than peanuts)
- Healthy fats and oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil etc
- Grass-fed cheese
- Black coffee
What should you avoid on a paleo diet?
In terms of food and drink that should be avoided, again, if it wouldn’t have been available in the paleolithic era, it probably won’t be allowed on the paleo diet. Common examples, include:
- Whole grains
- Processed meats
- Processed foods
Why should you follow a paleo diet?
Before we wrap things up, we’ll leave you with a few reasons why you should seriously consider following a paleo diet plan/lifestyle. These include:
Whilst the primary purpose of the paleo diet is NOT to simply burn fat, one of the main bonuses of the diet is that it will still have you looking leaner and slimmer. The foods you consume are all-natural, and what’s more, as virtually all simple carbohydrates are removed from the diet, the body is then able to utilize its preferred energy source, which is actually fat. So you burn fat and have more energy in the process.
As mentioned, by fuelling your body with healthy fats, plus by burning body fat stores, your metabolism will quickly go into overdrive, leaving you packed full of energy and feeling great in the process. When you eat processed junk, you often feel tired and lethargic, and can barely muster enough energy to walk a few yards, never mind go work out. With all-natural paleo-friendly foods however, you will have more energy than you know what to do with.
Improved health and well-being
Another great benefit of following a paleo diet is the fact that the foods you consume are all natural, and are therefore packed full of healthy nutrients that the body thrives upon. Your immune system will become stronger, plus your digestive system will improve, allowing you to absorb more nutrients from the foods you digest and breakdown, so again, the more you consume, the healthier you become. On top of that, you are less likely to suffer from food allergies and intolerances, and from conditions such as heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
Increased lean muscle mass
The paleo diet also includes foods that are rich in protein, which is an essential macronutrient which plays a key role in the growth and repair of muscle tissue, which is why many bodybuilders will follow high protein diets. The more protein you consume, within reason of course, the more lean muscle you will build.
So there you have it, a brief, yet detailed look at virtually everything you need to know about the paleo diet. If you’re simply looking for a quick way to lose weight, this diet isn’t for you.
If however, you’re looking for a way of gradually losing weight, increasing lean muscle mass, and greatly improving your health, fitness, and well-being in general, then this most certainly IS the diet for you, so why not give it a try and see how well you look and feel with each passing week?