Doctors and nutritionists have long been recommending diets low in sugar, sodium, and processed foods for health and weight loss. Rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have increased along with the rise of salt, sugar, and processed foods in our diets. By following the Paleo Diet, or Caveman Diet, you can cut those substances out of your food and their harmful effects out of your life.
The diet is based on the theory that our bodies are still set up to eat the way our Stone Age ancestors did. Supporters say that all the chemicals and additives in modern foods are the cause of our national poor health and the obesity crisis. To follow the diet you only eat what would have been available to a hunter-gatherer in the Paleolithic era (about 10,000 years ago).
A Paleolithic diet can only be approximated, but you can eat a revised version consisting of fruits, nuts, vegetables, eggs, seafood, and lean meat. It is gluten-free, low in salt, sugar, and cholesterol. That makes it good for fighting heart disease and diabetes, and great for healthy weight loss. But how do you know what not to eat in order to follow the diet?
Foods from after the start of agriculture are off limits. That means legumes, including beans, lentils, peas and peanuts. Grains like oats, barley, wheat, and corn are not allowed. Sugars, processed oils, all dairy, and potatoes are modern and therefore out.
You can probably guess that the Paleolithic era was not known for its take-out, and you’ll be hard pressed to follow this diet eating in a restaurant. Your best choice is healthy cooking at home. But where to begin? The modern foods have come to be staples in our diet. Fear not, a paleo friendly diet can become second nature very quickly.
Some quick and easy meals are basic chicken, tuna salad, or beef with steamed vegetables. Eggs are a great source of protein and good fats, and can be made for any meal. With some imagination many recipes can be converted, and there are tons of cookbooks and websites available.
One concern that people often have about the Caveman Diet is that the food will be boring and bland. After all, they didn’t exactly carry a spice rack when hunting and gathering. The problem, aside from most spices being cultivated and imported, is that modern seasonings are high in sugars and salt. However, enjoying the food you eat is crucial to any diet plan, so I would suggest using low sodium, salt free, and sugar free seasonings. There are many readily available today, and they are often also gluten free.
Whether or not you agree with the theory behind the Paleo Diet, it is a healthy diet good for fighting heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Healthy cooking is important for healthy weight loss and maintenance. Cooking paleo friendly meals at home will help you get in the paleo habit and on your way to a healthier lifestyle.