Are you thinking about trying out the paleo diet?
If so, you’re certainly not alone. This diet has gained some attention in recent years due to the purported benefits it has for modern lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Sounds pretty good, right? So, what exactly is the paleo diet and how is it supposed to improve your health? Let’s take a look.
What is the Paleo Diet?
Essentially, the paleo diet is based on what our ancestors supposedly ate back when they were hunting and gathering many years ago. Now, it’s hard to say for sure exactly what they ate, as they lived in many different places all over the world, but researchers tend to agree that their diets were primarily made up of whole foods.
While consuming whole foods is an important part of surviving like our ancestors, it’s certainly not the only thing to focus on if you really want to do the paleo diet right. In order to truly live like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, there is also an emphasis on regular physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to lifestyle diseases like obesity, so you’ll need to exercise regularly while following the paleo diet if you really want to reap its rewards.
How Do You Follow the Paleo Diet?
The key to following the paleo diet is to eliminate modern processed and high-fat foods, and instead focus on whole, unprocessed foods. You can eat whatever foods you like as long as they fall into this category, so the paleo diet may look a little different from one person to another. Some people may choose to concentrate on a high-carb diet with lots of plant-based foods, while others may prefer a low-carb diet and more animal foods.
Still not sure what to choose? Check out the following lists for foods you should eat and avoid on the paleo diet.
- Vegetables: peppers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, etc.
- Fruits: bananas, avocados, blueberries, apples, oranges, etc.
- Tubers: potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
- Oils and healthy fats: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
- Meat (grass-fed, pasture raised, if possible): turkey, beef, pork, lamb, etc.
- Fish and seafood (wild-caught, if possible): trout, shrimp, shellfish, salmon, etc.
- Eggs: pastured and free range are best
- Seeds and nuts: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc.
- Spices and salt: garlic, turmeric, sea salt, etc.
- Natural sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, etc.
Foods to Avoid on Paleo
- Any “diet” or “low fat” foods, as these are typically filled with additives.
- High-fructose corn syrup and sugar: candy, juice, soft drinks, etc.
- Oils: sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc.
- Trans fats: anything with hydrogenated oils, like margarine
- Grains: bread, pasta, wheat, etc.
- Legumes: lentils, beans, etc.
- Artificial sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, etc.
- Most dairy, though some still eat full fat cheese and butter
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