What is paleo, or the caveman diet and how do you do it?
Let's strip it back down to basics, pull up a chair and remind you.
Also known as a stone age diet, a paleolithic, evolutionary or dna diet, the pitch is simple: its about eating as our ancestors ate before the great agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago and thus no wheat, grains, legumes, sugar or vegetable oils, that is: no processed food!
Meals are based around meat, fish, saturated fat (from animals, avocados, nuts etc), green leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, seeds and some low-sugar fruit mostly berries. Meals are tasty because we eat fat: fat is not the enemy, fat is our friend just as it has been across hundreds of thousands of years of ancestral health. And by fat we mean good saturated fat not man-made monstrosities like vegetable, sunflower and canola oil, hydrogenated fats or margarine.
Why no grains or processed food? Because these products are making us fat. Period. Why are they making us fat? Because we cannot digest them. We simply cannot metabolise them. Our genetic blueprint has not evolved to process this food and the consequence is severely impacting our health. Evolution is a slow process our dietary habits have revolutionised exponentially and while we have not changed genetically our diets are radically different and so is our body shape, health and general wellbeing. Can you see the link?
And it's not just us is it. See here the newspaper headlines and read this shocking article: in the UK, doctors are medicating babies in the womb for obesity or read this article "Junk food gives you the blues" and begin to understand the link between so called "junk food and our mental health". Every day scientists are making new discoveries but even if you don't understand the science and have no interest in the why, you must hanker for a solution?
Many of us get to the point where we are simply overwhelmed by our fat. And give up. Can you see it in your life? Did you give up too? We are not helped by the endless round of fad diets that tell us we can have our cake and eat it: weight watchers, slimming world, Atkins, lighter life - it's not true. But it does keep you coming back for more when you fall off the wagon and overeat. Got you over a barrel see - no wonder we give up faced with such extraordinary odds against us, we simply don't know any different.
What we require then is an approach, a gentle but radical approach that works: not a diet, not a manifesto: paleo works Think of paleo as a life long journey of continual renewal with you in control. That's the difference. Cut out the junk food and you are more than half way home.
Keep it simple, keep it real, your food that is! Start changing things up, integrating saturated fat into your diet (butter on your veg, fry meat in coconut oil, eat bacon with the fat on, enjoy tallow, dripping and lard as our forefathers did). Keep away from processed food: and always remember that the worst combination..that is the combination most likely to put your fat on is sugar and fat (think buns, pies, buttery pastry, white bread, eclairs, cakes, batter mix, cookies) always remember that and you won't go far wrong.
So, this diet and lifestyle approach is simply based on common sense.