We’ve covered Paleo diet research A LOT on this site, but since the diet trend has continued to be popular for several years now, we thought it was time to put together a simple guide to eating a Paleo diet.
First, let me start by explaining that there is no scientific basis to support one type of Paleo approach. In fact, depending upon where our Paleolithic ancestors lived in the world, determined what they ate. It’s also thought that cavemen were mostly vegetarians, something that most modern-day Paleo diet plans don’t address.
When you break down a typical Paleo diet, the majority of calories come from animal-based proteins and fats and less than 50% of calories form plant foods, making it a less environmentally sustainable approach to eating.
Here’s the main guideline to follow to eat a Paleo diet: If a caveman could eat or drink it, you can too.
There are some healthy aspects of eating like a hunger-gatherer, like no added sugars, avoiding most processed foods, drinking primarily water and eating simple, single-ingredient foods. But, the reality of 2014 means that almost everyone who eats a Paleo diet does some type of “modified” plan. The good news is that even modified, people tend to lose weight and Paleo diets have received high marks among consumers who follow them.
A Caveman Diet So Easy, Even a Caveman Could Do It
- Eat whole, natural foods instead of those that are highly processed
- Enjoy plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and limit refined grains and sugars.
- Increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, fish oil, and plant sources
- Avoid trans-fats and limit saturated fats. This means eliminating fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, and most packaged and processed snack foods.
- Substitute monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (ie, olive oil and canola oil) fats for saturated fats
- Increase consumption of lean protein, such as skinless poultry, fish, and game meats and lean cuts of red meat. Cuts with the words round or loin in the name usually are lean.
- Avoid high-fat dairy and fatty, salty processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats
- Drink water as your primary fluid
Adapted from: O’Keefe and Cordain, Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Paleo Diet Meal Plan
Here is a Paleo Diet Meal Plan that is common from my Crossfit gym.
Coffee or tea with coconut oil or cream
Grilled chicken, fish or beef with salad topped with avocado and olive oil
1 cup sliced fresh fruit
2 Hard-Boiled Eggs
Grilled or roasted beef, poultry or fish with roasted vegetables
Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with avocado
1 cup Fresh Fruit