The Paleo diet (Paleolithic, to be correct), also known as the Caveman diet, is based off the notion of focusing our everyday food consumption on real, whole food, including plenty of grass-fed meats, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables, fruits and nuts. It is an everyday term recognized throughout the functional fitness community and is gaining popularity among many athletes and health care professionals, as it redefines our notion of "healthy".
Followers of the Paleo diet report a plethora of health benefits, including weight loss, increases in energy and athletic performance, as well as an increased immune system. The Paleo diet allows the body to naturally decrease blood sugar, insulin levels and inflammation, all of which have been linked to various health ailments such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases. The Paleo diet truly brings us back to our hunter-gatherer Caveman roots and provides a whole new perspective and appreciation for what we use to fuel our bodies.
What can I eat on the Paleo Diet?
Plenty of grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, pastured-raised eggs, organic vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and good fats (avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, even fat from grass-fed meats).
What is restricted on the Paleo Diet?
The following are restricted on the paleo diet: any and all grains (including wheat, multi-grain, rice, oats, corn, barley, quinoa), soy, dairy, potatoes, legumes (including beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, even alfalfa sprouts), sugar and vegetable oils. There has been a lot of confusion as to what is considered paleo, as most who are paleo have their own take on what it means to them. The main reasons the aforementioned foods are avoided is because they raise our blood sugar, contain antinutrients (which prevent our bodies from absorbing the nutrients we need), and/or wreak havoc on our digestive system (leaky gut, anyone?). Unsure about a specific food? A simple internet search of "Is _______ paleo?" will provide you with a plethora of information (unfortunately some of it may be conflicting). If something seems debatable, research the potential affect of that food on your body so that you may make an informed decision before you decide to consume it or not. And please, don't freak out! There are a ton a recipes online that will paleo-fy most foods you think you can't live without.