Paleo is an ancestral approach that prioritizes eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. At its core, Paleo is about trying to eat real, naturally occurring ingredients that are healthful rather than harmful. Biologically, our bodies respond best to real, whole, nutrient-dense foods like plants, meat, and seafood—all of them packed with the nutrients our bodies evolved to thrive on. It was only after industrialized food production and lab-engineered edibles took over our diets that the ”diseases of civilization“ exploded. Today, wheat, soy, sugar, and highly processed foods continue to drive up rates of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. But by getting back to eating real food, we can stay healthier and happier.
While there is wide variability in the way the paleo diet is interpreted, the diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol or coffee.[additional citation(s) needed] The diet is based on avoiding not just processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture. The ideas behind the diet can be traced to Walter Voegtlin, and were popularized in the best-selling books of Loren Cordain.
Grass-fed meat is recommended on the paleo diet because it is leaner than meat from grain-fed animals and has more omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that reduce inflammation in the body and protect your heart. A typical American diet is high in saturated and trans fats and lower in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, hence the paleo diet's emphasis on grass-fed meats, as well as seafood.
Cordain admits that meat leads to plaque and increases cholesterol where plants wouldn’t. And science establishes that plaque and cholesterol lead to heart attacks and strokes. But Cordain argues that plaque alone is insufficient to cause harm. Rather, it is plaque combined with inflammation that causes heart attacks and strokes. So avoid acid, salt, legumes, wheat, starchy vegetables, dairy, oil, fatty meats, and grains because they cause inflammation. But if both science and Cordain agree that plaque is a necessary part of the heart-disease equation—and that meat causes plaque—why should we follow Paleo rather than just forgo meat?
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD. A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly "wheat belly" bulges, and reverse myriad health problems, like minor rashes and high blood sugar. The author contends that every single human will experience health improvement by giving up modern wheat. The book provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle. Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat. The author's blog. Published August 30, 2011.
To get an idea of what that means, we turned to the experts, including Loren Cordain, PhD, a professor emeritus at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the author of The Paleo Diet; Erin Holley, RD, of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio; and Lona Sandon, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
A large percentage of individuals with Celiac disease still have persistent symptoms after eliminating gluten from the diet. Other factors that may be at play, including proteins and starches in dairy, other gluten free grains and legumes as well as gut microbial balance. We can think of no better principles than The Paleo Way for individuals with Celiac disease. However, despite the possible benefits of a Paleo based diet, again we strongly recommend you seek advice and support from a suitable health professional both before making any changes to your diet or physical routine.
Alcohol is a no-no if you are strict paleo. Beer is made from grains, and liquor also contains traces of gluten. But, good news for cider-lovers: most hard ciders are gluten-free, so they are allowed. Check the label to be sure. Red wine is more accepted in the paleo community because it contains the antioxidant resveratrol, but sorry chardonnay lovers, white wine is technically not allowed.
Optimal Diet is a dietary model of human nutrition devised and implemented by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski. Lots of fat and low in carbs. Lots and lots of articles collected from various places. He has an out-of-print book: Optimal Nutrition. The book is explained at the Australian Homo Optimus Association website. A thorough analysis is the first post here: Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet: Sanity, Clarity, Facts.
Fruits are not only delicious, but they’re also great for you. That said, fruits (even paleo-approved ones) contain large amounts of fructose which, while much better than HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), is still sugar. If you’re looking to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to cut back on your fruit intake and focus more on the vegetables allowed on the paleo diet. However, feel free to have one to three servings of fruit a day. Check out this list of paleo diet fruits and see if you’re not hungry by the end! (We’ll admit, we’re partial to blackberries!)
However, as I already mentioned, the Paleo template simply gives us a starting point from which to decide how to feed ourselves in the modern world. I make my own choices by weighing the health consequences of the foods I eat—and I also consider the gustatory pleasure of the experiences, too. Over the past few years, my attitude toward food has evolved. When I first adopted a Paleo lifestyle, I strictly followed the rigid dictates of the Paleo diet because this new way of eating made me feel so much better. I didn’t even think to question why it worked. But with time, I’ve learned that it’s more important to stay curious about the science behind the approach, and to be fully conscious of my food choices. I learned that I don’t need to strive for “Paleo perfection” as long as I’m mindful of what I’m choosing to put into my mouth, and why.
This recipe idea came from her, she has a staple chicken salad recipe that she makes weekly, and we get really creative with 100 million ways we can eat it. After finding these completely Paleo wraps, we decided to stuff them with her chicken salad. It was deeelicious. I love all different kinds of chicken salad. I actually have another Chicken Salad Recipe on my blog, which is a bit more complicated. This one that I’ll share today is much easier and perfect to make each week.
The paleo diet is meant to mimic what our preagricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. The premise is that the current Western diet is contributing to the rise of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and cancer. This diet, paleo proponents claim, can reduce inflammation, improve workouts, increase energy, help with weight loss, stabilize blood sugar and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Interestingly, all of these seemingly unrelated diseases share a common cause: damage to the intestinal lining which allows large, undigested food particles to make their way into the body. This is called “leaky gut and the autoimmune response”. Here is a 7-part video series by Prof. Loren Cordain describing the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. And please watch this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD as she describes how she reversed her Multiple Sclerosis with a paleo diet. If you have an autoimmune disease you might consider trying the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet. If you do, please tell us about your experience.
Paul Burke's Neo-Dieter's Handbook: When We Lost Our Nutritional Roots; Where to Find These Foods Today by Paul Burke M. Ed. The book focuses on nutrition, the right nutrition to enhance health, exercise, weight training, and fitness. The diet consists of lean protein, vegetables, nuts, and fruit. He is opposed to grains. He wants you to stay away from grain-fed meat. The single review at Amazon.com gives the book 5 stars. Published August 21, 2009.
In the long term, you have to be sure you’re getting calcium and other nutrients you’re missing by not having dairy products and certain grains. Some paleo-approved foods, such as salmon and spinach, contain calcium, so you have to be sure you’re including them in your diet. It would be a good idea to check with a registered dietitian, too, to make sure you’re meeting your calcium and other nutrient needs.
Experts estimate that our ancestors consumed a one-to-one ratio of calories from meats to produce. Since you have to eat a lot of salad to consume the same amount of calories in a steak, the paleo diet should ideally include mostly fruits and vegetables, Katz says. However, many people don't realize that and eat too much meat. Consuming excess protein and not enough carbs can cause kidney damage and also increase your risk of osteoporosis, Dr. Ochner says. Plus, since most of today's meats are higher in saturated fat than those of yesteryear, it can increase the risk of heart disease, Dr. Katz says.
There is little argument over the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The only caveat for paleo dieters is that some vegetables are starchy (e.g., potatoes) and some fruits are higher in sugar (e.g., bananas). So, if you are trying to lose weight or watch your blood sugar levels, eat these in moderation. In fact, potatoes are banned from some versions of the diet.
A Paleolithic-oriented diet has been in existence and followed by both men and women for more than 2 million years. Our particular version of a Paleo approach to eating tends to advocate protein moderation for average adults. It is, however, important in this circumstance that a pregnant woman not overly restrict protein during the course of her pregnancy and subsequent nursing. When it comes to pregnancy and breast-feeding, we believe it is important to increase your standard recommendation for protein intake (0.8 g/kg of estimated ideal body weight — which translates to something like 50–75 grams of actual meat, fish or eggs) per meal by about 25%. Also, we believe that dietary fat and particularly fat-soluble nutrients plus extra essential fatty acids become particularly important during this time. We are also of the view that you may benefit from putting an emphasis on 100% pasture-fed meat and wild caught fish/fish eggs, etc. during this time. Traditional and (so-called) primitive societies often made a point of supplying lots of fat-soluble nutrients to both expectant and nursing mothers at this time.
Lucy is WH’s Digital Editor, Features Writer, social media guru and resident woo. A long black lover and foodie at heart, she considers peanut butter an hourly staple and believes chardonnay is the superior drop. When she's not at the beach, barre or yoga studio you'll find her coming up with new and improved ways to kill her unkillable houseplants
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Alpha Amino is the ultimate performance, hydration and recovery sports drink powder. Its premium formula is built on the power of amino acids and formulated with ingredients that promote healthy fluid balance. Alpha Amino has 14 Amino Acids including a well-studied 2:1:1 BCAA ratio. These Amino Acids support the body’s ability to fuel skeletal muscles, preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce protein breakdown.
The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Recipes include: Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herbs and Garlic, Salmon Chowder with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes Stuffed with Ground Bison and Eggs, and Baked Chocolate Custard. Recipes are simple and have limited ingredients. Complaints are the book is stuffed with unnecessary photos and proofreading could have been better, e.g. oven temperatures were left out. And recipes are not truly paleo. Despite what is on the cover dairy is used in some recipes. The Amazon reviews average to 4+ stars.
Paleo lays the foundations for a healthy diet – whole unprocessed foods, leafy greens, fresh pesticide-free vegetables, nuts, fruits on occasion, grass-fed meat, pastured free-range poultry and wild-caught fish – and lifestyle – moving your body every day and being mindful; a holistic approach to achieving a healthier and happier life and becoming the best version of you.
As paleo guru Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
Origins and Evolution of Human Diet was an academic web site at the University of Arkansas devoted to discussion of evolution and the human diet. They had good articles on the conferences link. Here is one from the archives: Boyd Eaton's Evolution, Diet and Health which argues that current w-6 : w-3 imbalance together with absolute dietary DHA intake quite low in human evolutionary perspective may be relevant to the frequency of unipolar depression.