How The Paleo Diet Works

How to start paleo

Image Credit: Mark DeYoung / Unsplash

by – The Paleo Diet, also known as the caveman diet, attempts to cleanse your body of all the unhealthy habits of modern man. Salt, sugar, processed and fast food are all major contributors to obesity and fat storage.

The Paleo Diet encourages a very simple diet without the toxic ingredients found in today’s processed food.

How The Paleo Diet Works

At the most basic level, the Paleo Diet wants you to eat like a hunter or a gatherer, but not a farmer. Imagine yourself as a caveman looking for food. You would either kill something to get protein or you would pick nuts and fruit off trees.

No McDonald’s or Krispy Kreme. No salt or potatoes. If it isn’t animal protein or found in nature you can’t eat it.

So what’s the point of all this?

If processed and fast food are major contributors to obesity and fat storage, then the elimination of those foods will have the opposite effect.

It’s a simplified, and catchy way, to explain what’s been scientifically proven:

A high protein, low sugar diet promotes weight loss.

See Also: Carb cycling – how and why you should do it

The Good

You’ll Feel Full

If you’re only eating lean protein, and fiber rich vegetables you’re going to feel full — pretty much all the time. Sugar and carbs actually trigger a process in our brain to make us crave more food. Once removed, the hunger cravings associated with most diets are significantly reduced.

Progressive Diet, No Lifestyle Shock

Paleo is very much a lifestyle change and not a short term diet. Most people don’t Paleo for a few weeks, then return to a normal diet filled with salt, sugar and processed food. Because this is a long-term lifestyle change you’re encouraged to ease into the diet.

Your first month allows for three meals per week, of your choice, that aren’t Paleo compliant. As you progress further and further into the diet, you’re asked to scale back these meals until you reach a 100% Paleo diet and lifestyle.

Health Benefits

While most people adopt a Paleo life because of their weight and body fat, the health benefits are also quite substantial. There’s no salt or refined sugar allowed on the diet, so your blood sugar and blood pressure will maintain a very healthy level.

Due to the health benefits, many are referred to the diet by a physician for non-weight related health issues.

Related: Weight loss tips and tricks that actually work

The Bad

It’s Expensive

Let’s be real, a protein heavy diet can get expensive. Grains, breads and other less expensive foods take up a very large portion of most meals. When you’re only allowed to purchase certain types of lean protein your grocery bill is going to inflate.

Not For Vegetarians

It’s very difficult, and some argue impossible, for a vegetarian to adopt a true Paleo diet. Protein is a staple of every meal, making it hard for vegetarians to reach the recommended daily protein without making modifications to what’s allowed on the diet.

Level Of Commitment

You can’t “kind of Paleo”. Well, you can but it defeats the purpose and intended outcome of the diet. Avoiding bread and convenient processed food can be an overwhelming challenge for most people. You have to commit to meat and vegetables, without salt and sugar, for the foreseeable future.

Foods To Eat

– Chicken, Turkey, Fish
– Eggs (Yes, they’re allowed)
– Nuts, seeds
– Whole Fruit
– Whole Vegetables
– Olive Oil

Foods To Avoid

– Refined Sugar
– Salt
– Potatoes
– Dairy
– Beans
– Wheat
– Grains
– Salted Peanuts
– Processed Food

Tips For Paleo Success

– One bad meal doesn’t wreck the diet, don’t beat yourself up. It happens.
– Eat sugar rich fruits to satisfy a sweet tooth (think mangos, watermelon)
– Cleanse your kitchen (get rid of grains you shouldn’t eat)
– Read every label of everything you buy (make sure it’s really, Paleo)

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