If you are planning on following a Paleo diet, the idea is that you’re going to have to eat like a caveman. This means not eating any processed foods.
If you’re considering a Paleo diet, you’re probably doing so because you’ve heard or read that it’s a great way to lose weight. The theory is that cavemen weren’t fat, and the evidence gained from examining fossilized skeletons would seem to indicate that this is true. However, whether cavemen weren’t fat because of their diet, or because they expended so many calories hunting, gathering, and generally trying to stay alive is up for debate. It may also be worth mentioning that most cavemen died by about age 30.
Proponents of the Paleo diet also claim that it can reduce blood pressure and lower triglycerides, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, and that it can control or prevent diabetes. The research really isn’t conclusive on this.
If you’re planning to follow a Paleo diet, you won’t be able to eat grains or dairy. This means that you’ll be missing out on a lot of essential nutrients, so you may want to supplement your diet with a daily multivitamin.
On the Paleo diet, you can eat significant quantities of lean meats, fish, eggs, seeds and nuts, vegetables, fruits, and healthy oils like olive or coconut. You won’t be able to have any refined sugar, potatoes or salt. If your goal is weight loss, you won’t have to count calories, and you’ll find that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables will fill you up quite nicely.
All the foods you eat are going to have to be prepared from scratch, so you should plan on spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen. You won’t be able to use any foods that are processed, and convenience foods are strictly prohibited. Basically, if the type of food you want to eat (other than the healthy oils) wasn’t available in the Paleolithic era, you’re not going to be able to eat it.
The Paleo diet won’t work for you if you plan to combine it with a vegan or vegetarian diet, because the diet is very heavy on animal protein. On the other hand, the Paleo diet is a great combined with a low sodium diet since, of course, salt was not available to our cave-dwelling predecessors. This means that you have to eliminate various other seasonings as well – soy sauce, steak sauce, etc.
If you’re committed to following a Paleo diet, be prepared to eliminate all convenience foods from your diet and consume mostly foods that you prepare yourself from ingredients that our caveman ancestors would have eaten. If your goal is weight loss, it will probably work for you, but most people find it difficult to follow. If you want to try it and need support, there are several online sources that offer recipes, tips and also encouragement.