Nourishment is the procurement of healthy food materials which are vital to support life. It is a known fact that many health related hassles can be avoided or alleviated with the help of a healthy diet. Nutritionists continue to disclose new findings regarding healthy eating. There are experts who believe that all humans need to do, for a disease free body is eat what Stone age ancestors used to consume.
The Paleolithic diet, popularly termed as Paleo diet, Caveman diet, Stone Age diet or Hunter-gatherer diet is a contemporary nutritional plan, especially based on relishing the same diet as our ancient people 10,000 years ago.
The idea centers on eating food items like plants or wild animals as this is the type of diet cavemen belonging to the paleolithic times have been presumed to eat. So, why go back in time and follow their dietary routine? The hypothesis given by Loren Cordian, the man who brought this concept to life, is that our systems are inherently programmed to take nourishment like our caveman ancestors.
Point of View of Caveman Diet Supporters
Proponents of this diet claim such a restricted diet suits our body and brings forth well balanced nutrients, that in turn, promotes health and curbs the incidence of chronic ailments. Through several clinical trials, it has been shown that the Paleo diet is the most advantageous diet to lower the grave risk of raised blood pressure, excess body weight, enhances athletic performance and promotes optimal cardiovascular functioning.
The List of Recommended Food Items for Paleo Diet
Humans belonging to the paleolithic era hunted and gathered food for themselves, which included mostly, meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables and fruits. Even tree nuts were often eaten during that time. An exact replica of the paleolithic diet is extremely hard to mimic as wild plants have been replaced by the cultivated variety and many other changes have been brought into practice since that era. The below mentioned diet covers a modified version of the ancient diet that is not only healthy but gluten free too.
Meat and Eggs
Specific cuts of meat, such as flank steak, pork loin and chops, seafood and eggs form the dominant components of the hunter gatherer diet. The diet plan focuses on protein intake which prepares the body to utilize protein and fat for energy liberation, rather than depending on sources of carbohydrate for energy. Lean meats are often favoured as the protein source for it leaves the body healthy and satisfied. Some of the lean meat options that can be consumed for any meal of the day range from ham, turkey, duck and veal to steak and chicken breast.
Lean red meat enriches the body reserves of iron, zinc, phosphorus and potassium whereas chicken offers a moderate supply of potassium and Vitamin A. Hot dogs, cold cuts, as well as spicy sausages, belong to the category of processed meat and are to be avoided. Paleo diet also lays a lot of emphasis on having whole eggs as a breakfast option. One of the key reasons for this is because the sugar and carbohydrate free eggs have been available prior to advent of the agricultural phase.
Plus, eggs provide the body with a sufficient amount of essential amino acids and healthy fats. One can either have them as hard boiled eggs or omelets for breakfast or incorporate the vitamin, zinc and calcium rich eggs to spinach salads at lunch time.
Cordian advocates that food items coming from the sea must be encouraged. These include sal fish, snapper, halibut, lobster and oysters. Even crab, tuna and clams form excellent seafood options. The richness of omega3 fatty acids within them can boost metabolism and adequately control the level of blood.
Fruits and Vegetables
During the pre-agricultural era, fruits and vegetables were extensively gathered and consumed for meals. Some of the berries allowed while following the Paleo diet include blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Fruit juices and dried fruits contain quite a lot of natural sugar and must be consumed in limited amounts.
Green vegetables are strongly recommended, some of the options are broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach. Other options include asparagus, beetroot and mushrooms. The dietary program includes avocados, coconuts, apples, sprouts and bell peppers too. Each of these fruits and vegetables offers a balanced blend of water plus micronutrients.
Nuts contain a high amount of protein and unsaturated fats plus fiber. This is why almonds, brazil nuts and pistachios are allowed as healthy, pro-paleo snack food.
The strict dietary schedule also encourages followers to remain physically active on long term, regular basis. That’s because the ancient men had extremely active lifestyle, where they would spend hours looking for water, food and shelter.
As modern man does not need to do that, it makes physical workout all the more essential. One of the best ways to mimic the behaviour of paleolithic men is to engage in moderate intensity cardio workout such as sprinting.
Foods to be Excluded from Paleo Diet
If you want to stick to the Paleo regime of caveman, here is a list of food items you will have to stop purchasing and indulging in. Grains, inclusive of bread or pasta, kidney beans, lentils are excluded. You are also required to put a cross on starch containing vegetables, especially potatoes and sweet potatoes.
It is also believed that the human body is not best designed to handle these ‘new foods’. The same goes for dairy products. According to the Paleo diet theory, two factors, namely enzyme blockers and lectins are common to all of the above mentioned dietary constituents, which makes them unhealthy for maintenance of a healthy body.
Benefits of Paleo Diet
Aids in Weight Loss
Due to the low carbohydrate nature of the paleo diet, it becomes easy to lose weight. Caveman used to eat organic food stuff which was free from chemical preservatives, sugary additives and other artificial ingredients. It is thus beneficial for many people, even athletes.
This type of diet works as an impressive diet template to follow, especially for people with diabetes and heart problems. The high fiber and low carbohydrate diet have been linked with marked improvement in heart ailments.
Absence of Allergen
Being casein and gluten free, this diet keeps the risk of suffering from food allergies, minimal. Casein is normally found in dairy products whereas gluten content is more in wheat.
Paleo Diet Criticism
Controversy Over Excessive Protein in Paleolithic Diet
This controversy states that too much of protein ingestion can place an unnecessary burden on the kidney organs, which have an important role of filtering the waste products from protein breakdown. The paleolithic diet, being a high protein diet may aid in impairing the functioning efficiency of kidneys, specifically in individuals with already impaired kidney working.
Complete Exclusion of Carbohydrates
Although the Paleo diet is against the inclusion of beans, legumes and whole grains, many diets such as the Mediterranean diet support the inclusion of a certain percentage of carbohydrates. Thus, the complete exclusion of carbohydrate has not been justified.
The Paleo diet many focuses on consumption of meats which is not the universal diet for the modern world. As compared to the ancient times, many people nowadays, follow a vegetarian food style. Thus, this plan is not acceptable to vegans or vegetarians. Plus, being too restrictive, some of the people may experience difficulty in adhering to the strict plan on a long term basis.