Understanding and Following Paleo Diet Wisely

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paleo-dietOn the background of healthy dietary rules we have learned so far, Paleo diet confuses many people to a great extent. Some prominent reasons for this are it allows fats (!) which are strictly no-no in all major diets so far, it also prohibits whole (and all other sorts of) grains which are considered to be super-healthy, and so on. With notions of a healthy diet that are endorsed on our minds for years it is somewhat hard to understand the rules of Paleo diet which seem to be quite revolutionary. Therefore, if you want to understand this form of diet and want its benefits you ought to learn more about it.

Foods Recommended in Paleo Diet

Paleo is based on the diet of Paleolithic man who was our true ancestor, founded on a theory that our body is suitable to that diet and can digest it well and get along with it. As that man (Paleolithic) was a hunter and gatherer (of fruits, flowers, nuts, seeds etc) our diet too should consist of what that man used to eat. These foods are meat which should be grass-fed, organic and/or of wild game and fish, eggs, vegetables, some types of fruits, nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), fats like coconut oil, macadamia nut oil and olive oil.

Foods to Be Avoided

If you imagine what a Paleolithic man would be avoiding (i.e. it was not available to him) you will understand what to avoid. These are all processed artificial foods (fried, refined, polished), foods that require cultivation (that man had not learned agriculture – so foods coming under this are grains and legumes), all dairy products (as that man was also not aware of dairying), refined sugars, soda, partially hydrogenated oils, junk food and fast food.

How to Make it Work for You?

Looking at the range of foods that are allowed under the paleo dietary rules, it doesn’t seem difficult at all to have a delicious paleo meal daily. You will get a lot of recipes across the internet. You can even pick a new paleo recipe every day. You can even find vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free paleo recipes.

Does Paleo Really Work?

In a society like the American society where junk foods and fast foods are part and parcel of life, paleo diet certainly works. It reduces the amount of processed foods, sodas, etc to a great scale. Just becoming aware of how they are made addicted to the processed foods which messes with their health and physical mechanism, many new Paleo dieters consider it a big step towards health. Being more conscious of what you should eat and thereby becoming selective greatly affects how one feels and the amount of energy one has. Like every good thing, paleo diet too needs patience and it definitely works.

How Should You Start?

A great thing about paleo diet is it doesn’t involve any new equipment, a new book or CD, or any authority that makes up the rules. You can start your paleo diet whenever you want and go on phasing out your old eating style slowly, eventually totally stopping processed, junk foods and other empty calorie sources like sodas.

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Comparison with Other Diets

Whole30: Paleo is at the base of Whole30 but both are not the same though are similar. Whole30 is a 30-day dietary program addressing many areas of life with the diet just being one of them. It’s a way with which you can get a strong paleo foundation, but you don’t have to essentially follow it in order to follow paleo. However, you can cook and eat Whole30 recipes because they are basically paleo-friendly.

Atkins: Atkins is based on a low-carb approach, whereas Paleo includes no carbs at all. Atkins diet approves a definite food list and is to be followed strictly. Paleo is left more to an assumption of what cavemen would or would not have eaten in their days, with just a few broad-sweeping no-nos such as dairy and grains. Two plates, one of paleo and one of Atkins may look same but actually are different philosophically.

South Beach: The South Beach diet has a Mediterranean approach of eating and a Mediterranean diet is similar to paelo diet in its theory of eating whatever is available in the region. But there are some stark dissimilarities like the Mediterranean diet allows legumes, dairy and grains, while advising to reduce meat.

Gluten-free: A gluten free diet is similar to paleo diet, because paleo diet is essentially free from grains which include wheat too. However you can eat a gluten-free diet which is not paleo because it allows legumes and dairy unlike paleo.

Vegan: While deciding on whether the vegan diet is better or paleo, it really depends on one’s own feelings about animals. However, both are a lot better than eating processed, unnatural junk foods and empty calories. But paleo is relatively easy to follow being meat-centric.

Vegetarian: Vegetarian diet has been proven to reduce the chances of diseases like cancer and heart disease. Though research in this area for paleo lifestyle has not yet been reached its final stage, there are reasons to believe that paleo too helps in this area. And it also comes to one’s own choice of eating meat. With more and more evidences showing eating dairy and grains (which are allowed in a vegetarian diet) disadvantageous for your health, paleo seems to be a winner.

Is Paleo a Weight Loss Diet?

Though one of the many results of paleo diet is weight loss, it is not a weight loss diet. Paleo is more a philosophical diet about providing your body all the healthy things it needs to live life to the fullest.

Is Paleo Safe?

Yes, as far as you are following it as prescribed and as per your own limitations. Paleo diet allows eating lots of foods; but if you are allergic to one of them and so, suffered from it, it’s not the fault of paleo diet. Here you are expected to understand what is good for you. Therefore it is better to consult with your physician and follow a paleo diet program that will be suitable to you and in that case it may be the safest and most health-giving diet program for you.

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