The word diet is somewhat misleading, as this is more of an eating plan and lifestyle shift, much like the Mediterranean diet. The Paleo diet has been said to assist in optimizing your health, losing weight and minimizing your risk of chronic disease. It’s based on the following fundamental principles of hunter-gatherer diets:
The Paleo diet advocates high protein intake because the hunter-gatherer diet consisted of around 19-35% protein, much higher than average Western diets. which only consist of 15% protein
The Paleo diet is low in carbohydrates with no sugar (except that naturally found in fruits), no grains (such as wheat and corn) and no legumes (such as beans, peanuts, soya, chickpeas and lentils). Starchy high glycaemic vegetables such as potatoes are also frowned upon due to the effects they have of boosting fat-making insulin. Sweet potatoes are fine since they contain more fiber and have a lower glycaemic index. All other fruit and vegetables are perfect sources of carbohydrates for those following a Paleo diet, since they are very rich in vitamins, antioxidants and other micronutrients
Cut out trans fat and limit omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (vegetable oils such as sunflower and corn), and increase your intake of monounsaturated (avocado and olive oil), and omega-3 fats (nuts and nut oils (not peanut though, which isn’t really a nut – it’s a legume), flaxseed, hemp seed oil, and oily fish). The type of fat eaten has an effect on health (unhealthy fat raises blood cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes). Saturated animal fats are OK too, preferably if they’re free range. In the case of beef, it should be grass-fed: and in the case of pork, acorn-fed is best (acorns and grass ensure a much higher omega-3 content in the animals, as opposed to animals that are more typically fed on omega-6 rich cereals and grains). Coconut oil and pumpkin seed oil are the two richest plant sources of saturated fats, which are the most stable under heat. Therefore these two oils are the best Paleo-friendly oils for cooking purposes
Sticking with fresh, nutrient-dense, unprocessed food is a must for the Paleo lifestyle – high sodium intake is quite simply unhealthy, and yet low potassium is also associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Food that’s not processed and is fresh naturally contains 5-10 times more potassium than sodium. Furthermore, processed ingredients such as man-made fats and trans fats, emulsifiers, preservatives, and cancer-causing chemicals that can leach into food from some types of packaging (certain plastics, styrofoam and the inner lining of canned foods) were never part of the caveman diet, and can cause severe health problems including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore clean-eating is probably the most important fundamental of the Paleo diet.
Some foods cause the body to release inflammatory chemicals that initiate fatigue, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. These inflammatory foods include cow dairy (but not goat dairy), man-made synthetic fats (added to most processed foods) and refined carbohydrates (sugar and wheat). Anti-inflammatory food includes fresh Nits and veggies, and most importantly, herbs and spices (such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper). Possibly the toughest things to eliminate would be salt, sugar, daily, alcohol and cereal grains as these are such an integral part of most people’s diet. As with anything, begin by eliminating them one by one and make small changes on a daily basis to include or exclude food on the list.