What is the Paleo Diet?

Paleo Diet-friendly salmon dish that has plenty of omega-3 fatty acidsThe paleo diet, also referred to as the modern day caveman diet or the Paleolithic diet, is based on a return to the type of dietary standards that our ancient ancestors lived by. If you adopt the paleo diet, then you’ll essentially be cutting out any processed foods in order to gain improved health and a better physique. So what kinds of foods will you be eating on a modern caveman diet? Well, our ancestors lived on a diet that was rich in animal fats and lean protein, but they ate very little carbohydrates. The Paleolithic diet will require that you avoid many of the foods that have become staples in our diets since the agricultural revolution.

Where Does this Diet Get Its Name?

The paleo diet is aptly named, because it was based on a fairly simple foundation. Followers of the paleo lifestyle want to eat the foods that were available to early humans during the Paleolithic era, which was about 2.5 million years ago. They believe that since much of our early development as a species took place during this period of raw natural selection, then the body would be most nourished when fed these “paleo” food groups. Those who chose to partake in this way of eating will be consuming plenty of lean meat protein (including beef, poultry, and fish), vegetables, fruits, eggs, and nuts. However, all sources of meat should come from free-range and grass-fed sources.

The Agricultural Revolution

Nearly 10,000 years ago, our species experienced what has come to be known as the agricultural revolution. This provided us with the ability to cultivate large quantities of food that would had been completely unheard of to our Paleolithic ancestors. According to the modern day caveman diet, many of these foods should actually be avoided, because they were not introduced to our systems until after thousands of years of evolution during the Paleolithic era. Many followers of the paleo lifestyle believe that these dietary changes could be the reason why so many people are now living with things like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and a slew of autoimmune disorders which did not exist among the early cavemen.

Not the Easiest Diet to Adopt…..

This is a difficult diet to truly adapt to, because many of the foods that you will be avoiding make up a solid part of the established U.S. Food Pyramid. However, this paleo philosophy does say that things like red meat, saturated fats, and cholesterol all have their appropriate place in the optimal human diet. The foods you’ll be avoiding include such things as processed oils, sugar, breads and grain products, legumes, and dairy products. These restrictions are one of the reasons why there has been some controversy over the paleo diet.

If you are considering this type of diet, please remember that the paleo diet is more than just adapting the dietary habits of the early cavemen. The foundation of this lifestyle is based upon real evidence and scientific research. Clinical studies have examined how this type of diet can help to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of other chronic diseases. As the paleo diet and lifestyle continue to grow in popularity, it certainly seems like people are reaping new benefits from a diet that is quite old.