You may have heard of the Paleo Diet by now, and the word «paleo» may give you mental images of a caveman hunting down a buffalo with a spear and eating the raw meat like an animal himself. But what you don’t get, is how this will translate into modern life, and how it comes together in everyday life. But not to worry, my friend, for I shall explain!
The Paleo Diet (or the Paleolithic diet) is a diet which tries to mimic what our ancestors ate in a distant past, long before McDonald’s was invented, and even long before we decided we’d get into agriculture. The theory behind this, is that we evolved over thousands of years to eat only certain kinds of food, and that we as of yet have not developed our ability to digest grains or other «modern» foods. After all, it’s only been 10 000 years since agriculture entered the picture, and since then, our health has been declining in a number of ways.
This, then, means that our bodies will thrive on food that either grows naturally on the ground, bushes and trees (or even in the ocean, like seaweed), or that can be caught and killed. In all essence, you will eat berries, fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds, and all kinds of meat and fish. There’s some controversy on dairy, as the Stone Age man did not keep livestock, and it’s highly unlikely that he was able to milk a wild cow with a calf. But on the other hand, it’s just as likely that he would use as much as he could of the animal if he had killed it for food – if he, in fact, were able to milk a dead cow.
What the Paleo Diet basically means, and what proves to be the hardest thing to avoid lest you prepare all your meals for yourself, is that you avoid grains (wheat, spelt, oatmeal, corn…), starches (potatoes, beans…), sugar and all processed foods and their chemicals. When ordering a burger, you will leave out the buns. When having pancakes for breakfast, you will use almond meal instead of wheat, and you will bake breads of sunflower seeds, other seeds and eggs. You may even forgo bread all together, and have left-over dinner for lunch instead. That would normally be meat or fish with vegetables, in one way or another.
An ordinary day may look something like this:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with ham, mushroom, broccoli and bell pepper, fried in coconut oil
Lunch: Chicken salad with salad, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and eggs (and cheese, if you decide to do dairy)
Dinner: Stuffed peppers with minced meat, tomato sauce, leek, mushrooms and carrots (and cheese, if you decide to do dairy)
Snack: Nuts, berries and herbal tea sweetened with stevia (or maybe some honey)
The best part of a Paleo Diet is the obvious health benefits of eating green, living and chemical free foods. Grains are considered an inflammatory food, meaning that it increases the inflammation in the body, and some don’t do well with gluten, even if they’re not celiac. Problems caused by this is thus eliminated. And as this is considered a low carb diet (grains, potatoes, rice etc are very high on carbs), the blood sugar will go down and stabilize on a very healthy level.
The worst part is that it can be hard to maintain in a society obsessed by grains. Everywhere you go, and in everything you’re served, there seem to be grains in large amounts. So the bad news is that this requires a bit of planning ahead, in order to be able to eat properly throughout the day.
This, however, is modified by the fact that eating like this keeps you fuller for longer periods of time, so that you really don’t need to eat as much and as often anymore. An omelet made of eggs, vegetables and coconut oil may last you a good 6 hours before you need to eat again, as opposed to the sandwich which is used up in 45 minutes or so.