Paleo Practicals

What is Paleo ?

The Paleo Diet is a trademarked term that stands for paleolithic diet.

Other names for the paleolithic diet are the Stone Age diet, caveman diet, and hunter-gather diet.
The general idea is that people should return to their dietary roots to achieve optimum health and fitness.

Proponents of the paleolithic diet suggest that processed foods and agricultural products are what contributes to obesity, heart disease, and other diet-related illnesses. They advise that people are best suited to a diet of plants that historically grow in the wild, nuts, natural oils, fish, and grass-fed animals.

The argument is that humans were more fit and healthy before farming and animal husbandry were common methods of food production.

Dairy products, grains, legumes, processed oils, and refined sugars were not available to our ancestors and may be a contributing factor to the proliferation of the diseases and obesity that did not exist in the caveman.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D. coined the phrase The Paleo Diet.

His website identifies him as the world’s leading expert on paleolithic diets and founder of the modern day Paleo Movement.

This Paleo Diet being a relatively new (fad, maybe) to hit the diet industry; however, the tenants of this diet have been around for about 40 years.

In 1975, Walter Voegtlin wrote and published a book titled ‘The Stone Age Diet’ [1] where he gives details of the dietary history of man and concludes that a caveman style diet is best for the human species.

Over the last several decades, others have expanded on Voegtlin’s theories and published their results, but the idea did not become popular in the mainstream until Cordain successfully marketed the tenants of the diet.

Cordain, who has a B.S. in Health Sciences and a Ph.D. in Exercise Psychology, has authored several books and research papers on the topic as well as conducted interviews with major media outlets and engaged social media and the internet to spread the popularity of the paleolithic diet [2].

Feasibility

As with any diet, the paleolithic diet will require substantial changes in eating habits, especially for those who rely on fast food and convenience foods. There is a long list of foods that you must avoid, some of which are very common staples that you will find in most households.

Once you learn what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, the rest is pretty simple. There is no calorie counting or portion control, no meal diaries, or any other complicated system to maintain.

The Paleo diet might be difficult for those with a tight food budget as highly processed foods, which just happen to be cheaper than fresh produce and grass fed meats, are not allowed.

With some extra effort and a little creativity though, many low budget shoppers will be able to afford this diet.

Shopping for produce at a farmer’s market can save a lot of money, and all those boxed foods can be replaced with healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nuts and natural oils can be purchased in bulk to reduce the per-serving costs.

Eliminating dairy items from your shopping list will also help provide the funds for the more expensive grass-fed chicken and beef over their cheaper, factory-farmed counterparts.

Expert Opinions

The Paleo diet has mixed reviews from experts. There is some criticism about the diet from dietitians and health authorities.

Nutritionists point out that followers of the Paleo diet are missing out on many nutrients found in dairy and grains such as calcium and vitamin D found in dairy, and microbes found in whole grains [3].

US News ranked the Paleo diet dead last [4] out of 31 diets in their series  Best Diets Overall and scored the diet a mere 2 out of 5.

The NHS calls the diet a fad diet and criticizes some of the research behind it [5].

Even archaeologists, anthropologists, and molecular biologists have added their objection, saying that many of the foods in the Paleo Diet were not even available to our ancient ancestors and have only been around for the last ten generations [6][7].

Although some of these scientists do concede that the Paleo diet is far more healthy than what the average person eats.

For every expert out there criticizing the Paleo diet, there seems to be at least a dozen others defending it.

Health and diet experts point out that the Paleo diet encourages very healthy eating and discourages consuming processed foods and sugars, which are known to contribute to obesity and disease. The foods that are allowed on the Paleo diet are nutrient rich as well as satisfying [8].

Paleo advocates also have argued that nutrients such as calcium are found in many non-dairy foods such as eggs, green leafy vegetables, berries, and fish [9] and simple exposure to sunlight provides vitamin D.

Unintended Benefits

Gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease are more common than people think, and most sufferers are not even aware that they have one of these conditions [10].

The same is true about dairy intolerance [11]. People who eliminate dairy and grain from their diet may see a marked improvement in their health simply because they were unaware that they had one of these common food allergies.

Consumer Reviews

For the most part, dieters seem to be satisfied with the results of the Paleo diet, and the internet is full of testimonials claiming that the diet has helped to shed unwanted pounds and improved overall health.

Consumer Reports surveyed over 9,000 of their readers, and the Paleo diet came in at second place among best diets.

Even books about the Paleo diet on the Amazon Marketplace Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle have rave reviews, with thousands of consumers submitting their experience. Dozens of Paleo cookbooks have been published, and they seem to be quite popular.

Food List – Paleo Examples of What to Eat

  • Proteins: all (grass-fed) animal meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds.
  • Fish and seafood: all fish and seafood. For those who do not eat fish, Omega-3 supplements are recommended.
  • Fresh produce: all fruits and vegetables except for legumes and starchy produce.
  • Natural oils: olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut.

Food List – Paleo Examples of What Not to Eat

  • Grains: cereals, breads, pancakes, pastas, crackers, oatmeal.
  • Legumes: all types of beans, peas, peanuts, lentils, soybeans, tofu.
  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, butter.
  • Sugar: soda, fruit juices, all artificial sweeteners, table sugar.
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, squash, corn, rice, beets, water chestnuts.
  • Processed foods: hot dogs, convenience foods, frozen dinners.
  • Salt: table salt, sea salt, salted foods like ketchup.
  • Refined oils: vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil
  • Alcohol: beer, liquor, wine.

Article References:
[1] The Stone Age Diet, by Walter L. Voegtlin – http://books.google.ca/books/about/The_stone_age_diet.html?id=UORsAAAAMAAJ

[2] Loren Cordain – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loren_Cordain

[3] Body Ecology: The Missing Piece in the Paleo Diet – http://bodyecology.com/articles/the-missing-piece-in-the-paleo-diet#.VAVCtvmwK9E

[4] US News: Best Diets – http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/paleo-diet

[5] NHS Report “Caveman fad diet” – http://www.nhs.uk/news/2008/05May/Pages/Cavemanfaddiet.aspx

[6] Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOjVYgYaG8

[7] Archaeologists Officially Declare Collective Sigh Over “Paleo Diet” – http://hells-ditch.com/2012/08/archaeologists-officially-declare-collective-sigh-over-paleo-diet/

[8] Express: Experts put ‘primal eating’ Paleo diet through its paces and definitively rate its success – http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/diets/469017/Paleo-diet-and-primal-eating-is-rated-by-our-nutrition-experts-and-rated-by-a-reader

[9] Eat, Drink Paleo: Paleo & Calcium | Friendly Calcium Rich Foods – http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/paleo-diet-calcium-non-dairy-calcium-rich-foods/

[10] Authority Nutrition: 6 Reasons Why Gluten May be Bad For You – http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

[11] The Food Intolerance Institute of Australia: Dairy Intolerance: Lactose Intolerance, Casein Allergy – http://www.foodintol.com/dairy-intolerance

If your question was – What is Paleo – I hope that has been answered for you.

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One Response to Paleo Practicals

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