Paleo Diet: The Basics

Take your diet old school. Discover the Paleo diet and learn why it’s a popular choice for many dieters.

When you hear the term Paleo diet, think cavemen in the Paleolithic Era. The diet is essentially about eating whole, natural foods, consisting primarily of meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts; while avoiding grains, dairy, and processed sugar and fats.

The basic idea is that our bodies are most efficient at processing and digesting the same types of foods our ancient ancestors were eating back when our bodies were evolving, during the millions of years before agriculture introduced processed foods into our diet.

What’s the Difference between Paleo and Low-Carb Diets?

Both Low-Carb and Paleo diets include meat. Most low-carb diets emphasize eating as much meat and dairy as you want. The Paleo diet, however, does not include dairy and emphasizes lean meats (there were no chubby, grain-fed gazelles out on the savanna), plus loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. In keeping with its emphasis on whole, natural foods, Paleo cuts out sugar substitutes and low-carb cereal bars, which low-carb diets often allow. Also, the Paleo diet emphasizes eating meat from 100% grass-fed animals and avoiding meat from animals raised on grain-based diets. Low-carb diets tend not to make this distinction.

Flat Iron Steak Simplicity!

Photo by Carol Castellucci Miller

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

For some, the Paleo diet is a good weight-loss option because it reduces cravings and keeps you feeling full longer. And if you’re feeling full, you’re less likely to indulge in junk food and sweets. But the Paleo diet is not just a plan for weight loss; it’s intended to be a healthy lifestyle that many follow in order to reduce their risk of certain ailments. Some health benefits which have been associated with the Paleo diet: improved cardiovascular health, decreased risk of diabetes, reduced allergies, sustained energy and blood sugar levels, clearer skin, an improved ability to sleep, and a general improvement of mood.

Baked Salmon II

Photo by Dianne

Is the Paleo Diet Right for You?

If you are looking to curb your cravings for food high in sugar, fat, and salt, the Paleo diet might be a good option. You can always try this way of eating for two weeks and see if it works for you! At any rate, simply cutting back on sugars and heavily refined foods is a smart way to go.

More paleo recipes:

Algerian Kefta (Meatballs)

Photo by Rock_lobster

Paleo-Friendly Videos

One thing paleo people didn’t have? Great grilling videos to help them tame the flames. Score one for us moderns.

By Mia Trost, Healthy Content Editor