For most of the time humans have existed on Earth, we were hunter-gatherers. Our ancestors’ diets consisted of game they caught and edible plants they found. We, the descendants of those early foragers, inherited our genetic makeup and nutritional needs from those who could thrive on such a diet.
The Paleo Diet
The rationale for the Paleo diet, also known as the caveman or Stone Age diet, is pretty straightforward. Our remote ancestors evolved while eating certain foods. Consequently, these are the foods our bodies are designed to consume. It makes a lot of sense to start with the premise that we should eat pretty much the same foods our forebears ate. This approach offers a lot of benefits. The Paleo diet is built on a mix of meat and plant foods that offer a healthy balance between saturated and unsaturated fats,and it includes lots of vitamins and other nutrients.
What’s for Dinner?
The basic Paleo menu consists of lean meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Overall, ancient humans got about one-third of their calories from fats, another third from carbohydrates and the remainder from protein. Of course, you can’t duplicate what early humans ate exactly. Some animals they hunted are now extinct, and probably some plants as well. However, by being mindful of the foods we know weren’t available thousands of years ago, you can come very close.
Foods to Avoid
All of the food you eat on the Paleo diet needs to be fresh. This means avoiding packaged, canned and processed items. Organic plant foods and grass-fed meat are preferable because you get fewer pesticides and other chemicals. On a strict Paleo diet, you also exclude foods your ancestors didn’t eat, including dairy products and legumes (soybeans, peanuts, lentils, and so on).
The Paleo diet isn’t a “quickie” plan to lose weight fast. It is designed as a permanent lifestyle change. In addition, the Palieo diet stresses regular exercise. In prehistoric times, people had to be physically active . It’s the same today. Plan on getting regular exercise to complement your dietary changes.
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