I often wondered, what is the paleo diet? I am sure you have head the chatter too. There is such a variety of diets out there, that sometimes it can be hard to choose which one best suits you and your lifestyle. One diet which has gained popularity in recent years is the Paleo diet.
The paleo diet allows you to eat a range of different foods and doesn’t create an unhealthy calorie deficit like other ‘fad’ diets. In this article we will answer the question, what is the Paleo diet? discuss why it is healthier and more beneficial than other diets, and talk about some of the things you can include in your Paleo diet plan.
Why Choose a Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet’s main focus is on eating natural whole foods that humans would have consumed thousands of years ago as hunter-gatherers. This includes a large variety of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, and eggs.
Eating a diet consisting of whole foods will exclude refined sugars and overly processed products from your meal plan, making you healthier overall. This belief is based on the fact that the early hunter-gatherers were not prone to conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, which affects such a large population of the world today, and is on the increase.
Over the years, the Paleo diet has been modified to include a wider variety of foods, as long as they are whole foods, without refined sugars. A modified version of the Paleo diet still excludes those foods made widely available with the advent of farming such as grains, legumes and dairy.
The Paleo diet allows you to eat enough to keep you satisfied, but at the same time promises significant weight loss results because it is lack of processed foods and low-sugar content. Not only will it help you lose extra weight, but it will also help keep you fit, and further promises a ton of health benefits to improve your lifestyle. Let’s look at some of these together.
Health Benefits Of A Paleo Diet
– Promotes Healthy Eyes, Brain, Heart, And Cells
The Paleo diet calls for consumption of foods such as fish, vegetables, and natural healthy fats from nuts and seeds and plant based oils. These are rich in essential Omega 3 fatty acids, which play an important role in keeping your eyes, brain, and heart healthy, and ensure their optimum function.
The Paleo diet will additionally improve the ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in your body, and thus have a positive effect on the health and function of the cells in your body.
– Can Help You Lose Weight And Stay Fit
If you’re searching for a healthy way to lose some weight or stay in shape without depriving yourself, look no further than the Paleo diet. This diet allows you to eat a number of different foods that keep you feeling satiated, won’t spike your blood sugar levels, and will cut your carbohydrate and sugar intake to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
– Reverses And Lowers The Risk Of Chronic Diseases
As a result of its weight loss benefits and the exclusion of high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates the Paleo diet is great for reversing and preventing some chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and arthritis.
Many studies show that going on the Paleo diet can keep your blood glucose levels stable and decrease insulin sensitivity. It also lowers your body mass index, waist circumference, and reduces stubborn belly fat.
As a result, you will have better control over and a decreased risk of some dangerous health-related conditions. The Paleo diet is especially beneficial for elderly people, who suffer most from poor health and chronic health conditions.
– Better Gut Health And Lesser Risk Of Allergies
The Paleo diet will allow you to eat plenty of fibre contained in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and therefore will help with digestion and increases heathy gut microbiome, which has been linked to a lower risk of allergies.
– Decreased Inflammation
The Paleo diet incorporates a number of anti-inflammatory food into its meal plan, which includes vegetables such as avocado, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, as well as fruits such as berries, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.
This makes the Paleo diet great for those with chronic inflammation, which is linked to a number of negative effects on your body, like DNA damage and tissue death.
A Beginners guide to the Paleo Diet
The Ancient palaeolithic humans thrived on a wide variety foods depending on what was available at each time of the year and where in the world they lived.
Some ate a higher carb diet with loads of plants and some ate a low-carb diet with more animal foods. See this as a general guideline rather than something set in stone.
Here are some of the basics:
Eat: Ethically caught fish, free range and grass fed meat, free range eggs, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, herbs and spices, high quality healthy fats and oils.
Always avoid factory farmed animal products as they are almost always fed an unhealthy diet and loaded with antibiotics and chemicals. I always choose organic or chemical free foods when ever possible.
Avoid: Processed foods, added, sugar, grains, dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, margarine and vegetable oils.
Foods To Include In The Paleo Diet
Here are some healthy food options you can choose from for each of the categories:
Fruits: Such as apple, pear, peach, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc.), citrus fruits, bananas, papaya, passion fruit, cherries, pomegranate, watermelon, mango, grapes, and guava.
Vegetables And Tubers: Such as dark leafy vegetables, avocado, lettuce, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green peas, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, olives, cabbage, asparagus, turnip, yams, and sweet potatoes.
Nuts: Such as Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans.
Seeds: Including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds.
Meats: Such as chicken, turkey, beef, pork, rabbit, venison, and lamb.
Fish And Seafood: Including salmon, trout, pike, mackerel, tuna, eel, cod, haddock, crayfish, prawns, and shrimp.
Oils: Including macadamia oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and hemp oil, other nut and seed oils.
Herbs and Spices: Powdered garlic, onion, healthy salts such as sea salt and pink Himalayan salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne.
Foods To Avoid On The Paleo Diet
Grains: such as wheat, barley, and millet
High Processed foods: Such as highly processed meats, nitrate cured meats, anything labeled “diet” or “low-fat”. Any food containing preservatives.
GMO Foods and Preservatives: Stay clear of any genetically modified foods and foods containing preservatives. Avoid non-organic dried fruit containing sulphur dioxide or other preservatives.
Diary products Purists would avoid all dairy. For your health and the environment avoid dairy although if you do eat any dairy be sure it is natural, full fat and unrefined.
Legumes Such as beans and pulses. Although these are very healthy. If you want to include any beans, peas and lentils in a modified paleo diet then learn how and why to sprout Legumes so they are change into a small plant.
Simple sugars and artificial sweeteners: Including sugary drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream and many others.
Refined vegetable oils: Such as soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grape-seed oil, safflower oil, canola oil and others.
A simple guide is to eat foods that do not look like they were made in a factory.
What are Modified Paleo Diets
You may have noticed that there were a lot of extreme views on the paleo diet. In a modern world it is impossible to eat a truly paleo diet. All are a modified paleo diet in some way or other. Over the past few years the paleo community has grown and evolved quite a lot.
Many modern versions of the paleo diet allow some foods that good science suggests are healthy. These include grass-fed butter and cheese or psudo-grains such as the seeds quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Just keep in mind that any food you add to a paleo diet should be gluten-free whole-foods.
You can adapt all this to your own needs. Many people will take these ideas and get inspiration. They use paleo as a template then create a modified paleo diet that fits their dietary needs and preferences.
I now see many people creating great plant based paleo meal plans which include some of those psudo-grains.
A Paleo Diet Daily Meal Guide
Here is a sample Paleo diet meal plan which can give you a taste of what your day will look like for each day of the week. This menu contains paleo-friendly foods. Go-ahead and adjust this menu to work with you and your families needs and preferences.
Breakfast: Paleo Fruit and Nut Crunch Muesli with yoghurt and fresh berries.
Lunch: Paleo chicken soup
Dinner : Oven-baked salmon and stir fry vegetables
Healthy Snack: Healthy Paleo bars
Breakfast: Sweet Potato Muffins made with Paleo All Purpose Flour
Lunch: Oven baked chicken breast and salad with olive oil
Dinner: Grass-fed beef or free-range chicken burger without bun, fried in sunflower oil. Served with French Herbed Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries and Salad.
Healthy Snack: a apple, pear or banana.
Breakfast:: Free range scrambled eggs fried with kale chips and fried tomato
Lunch: Lettuce sandwich made from Paleo bread with roast beef and lettuce
Dinner: Organic sweet potatoes, oven-baked tomatoes, and chicken breast
Snack – Handful of almonds and berries
Breakfast: Grated high-quality dark chocolate with Greek yoghurt and fruit
Lunch: High Protein Sweet Potato Patties with Salad.
Dinner: Grilled chicken wings and vegetables
Snack: Paleo beef jerky
Breakfast: Paleo bread with avocado
Lunch: Oven-baked chicken breast with potatoes and vegetables
Dinner: Thai Beef Stir fry.
Snack: Paleo nut and seed trail mix. Try Paleo Manuka and Macadamia Clusters.
High Protein, high energy and delicious.
Breakfast: Paleo Pancakes with Cashew cream and berries
Lunch: Chicken salad
Dinner: Oven-baked steak with Tandoori Baked Cauliflower
Dessert: Chocolate and coconut Chia Pudding
Snack: Nuts, seeds and dried fruit
Breakfast: Big breakfast with Free-range Dukkah Crusted Omelet with fried mushrooms, Grilled Tomato and Spinach
Lunch: Beef patty without the bun with sliced tomato salad
Dinner: Oven-baked salmon with potatoes and vegetables
Dessert: Paleo Self Saucing Pudding.
Snack: A few pieces of high-quality dark chocolate
Interesting Cooking Ideas On The Paleo Diet
– Use natural unprocessed grain free flour for baking.
Over the years, the Paleo diet has modified to include even baked goods and treats. This allows you not only to eat bread while on the Paleo diet, but also cake, muffins, and cookies too. Instead of using regular flour which is processed and made of grains, you can use alternative flours such as almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, or cassava flour.
However, we have also provided a link to our healthy organic Paleo all-purpose flour which is grain-free, gluten-free, low carb, high protein flour and absolutely great for making breads, cakes, and cookies;
– Make Plant-based Fries And Crisps
Even though standard homemade fries and crisps made only out of potatoes and fried in sunflower oil are okay in moderation, you can also make these out of nutritious sweet potato, turnip, and even carrot. Additionally, chips can be made out of kale, plantain, and even brussels sprouts for a healthy Paleo alternative.
Try Dukkah Spiced Baked Sweet Potoato Chips.
– Paleo Carrot Cake
If you are looking for a delicious tasty albeit healthy treat to indulge in, the Paleo carrot cake is a perfect choice for you. This simple-to-make cake is not only delicious, but includes all healthy ingredients and absolutely zero wheat. For this recipe, you will need to use our Paleo all-purpose flour.
Click here for the full recipe; https://www.eclipseorganics.com.au/blog/healthy-recipes/paleo-carrot-cake/
Click here for the flour; https://www.eclipseorganics.com.au/organic-paleo-all-purpose-flour
– Southern Baked Paleo Oyster Mushrooms
For an unusual and scrumptious lunch or dinner, you can try making our southern baked Paleo oyster mushrooms. An alternative to the original southern fried chicken recipe, this recipe is all plant-based and features mushrooms instead. Click here if you want to try this recipe; https://www.eclipseorganics.com.au/blog/healthy-recipes/starters-and-side-dishes-made-with-a-passion-for-health-and-flavour/southern-fried-oyster-mushrooms/
The Paleo diet is one of the healthiest diets out there because of its numerous health benefits and disease-fighting properties. It offers a wide variety of foods which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated fats which result in proper organ function and promote overall health and fitness.
Additionally, the Paleo diet helps keep you satiated and doesn’t create a large calorie deficit, which often results in a placebo effect, but instead promotes a healthy weight loss based on eating whole foods and low-sugar food products. If the Paleo diet sounds appealing to you, why not give it a try? At least, take some inspiration from the Paleo diet and eat more healthy whole-foods.