Paleolithic diet, you may have heard of it, more commonly known as the paleo diet or the cave man diet. It basically involves eating as the cavemen did in Paleolithic times, or the stone age.
The diet came about because overtime, humans have developed a liking for unnatural, highly processed, high in sugar and high in fat foods, coupled with leading a sedentary lifestyle. This has resulted in many health issues, including, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
The paleo diet is based on the ‘hunter gatherer’ principle, meaning you only eat foods that would have been consumed in the Paleolithic era. This would include, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, roots and nuts, and exclude dairy, sugar, processed foods, grains, legumes, alcohol, coffee and oils,
To gain the full benefits of a paleo diet, it is suggested that you also increase your physical activity. The cavemen of the Paleolithic period certainly did not lead a sedentary lifestyle, spending their days, gathering, hunting animals and constructing tools.
Now clearly you don’t need to hunt for your dinner, forage for fruits or build your own shelter, but the general principles of the diet is what you need to follow. Fresh produce direct from the land, no processed foods or additives and increase your exercise.
Positives to the Paleo diet:
- It eliminates all processed foods from your diet, including any additives, chemicals or preservatives
- It encourages eating food at its freshest and most natural form.
- Increase in red meat will lead to an increase in iron
- Leave you feeling duller for longer due to the high protein levels of the diet
- The foods available are high in potassium, which assist in maintain healthy blood pressure and kidney health
Negatives to the paleo diet:
- It eliminates whole food groups, grains and dairy, which can be beneficial for health, including bone development, and fibre intake for a healthy gut
- Can be very restricting and difficult to maintain
- Does not take into account our changing digestive systems and lifestyles
- Difficult for those who train at an elite level, due to the lack of carbohydrates
- Hard to follow if you are a vegetarian
I would never say if a diet is ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ because I’m not a nutritionist, so I’m not qualified, also what works for one person, doesn’t work for another. However, I would encourage every to get their doctors advice before undertaking a diet like this, which eliminates specific foods groups from your diet.
I tried a very low carb diet for a period of 4 weeks and it left me feeling sluggish and generally unwell. However I have heard from others that they love a lo-carb diet and they feel energetic and less bloated. It has always been my theory that moderation is the key and you need an eating plan that is a lifestyle, not a temporary diet.