Paleo diet and how it can improve your well being

The Paleo diet, also called ‘the cavemen diet’, represents the attempt of eating as in very old times, particularly as in the Paleolithic era when agriculture was not developed yet. If cavemen could not eat anything back then, we cannot either. Their regime included everything that could be hunted or gathered from nature: meat, fish, walnuts, regional vegetables, herbs, eggs, fruits, seeds, spices and healthy fats. Unfortunately, pasta, cereals, milk, alcohol and sweets do not qualify. Dr. Loren Cordain is the scientist who founded the Paleo movement and the biggest expert in the field.

The Paleo diet is a healthy nutritional option because it is the only approach that works with the human genetic foundation. Researchers in biochemistry, biology, dermatology, and many other fields show that our modern food regime, rich in refined foods, sugar and trans fats, constitutes the cause of degenerative diseases, such as: cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases, infertility, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. If we were to analyze the initial Homo sapiens – tall, athletic, muscular and agile – to our society’s Homo sapiens – overweight, inactive, stressed, depressed and sick – then it would be easy to understand the benefits of the Paleo diet. Besides steering clear of modern-day health problems, this diet also promises significant weight loss.

paleo-benefitsFirst comes understanding the Paleolithic lifestyle. The secret of the Paleo diet lies in the alimentary regime our ancestors used to rely on. Contrary to popular beliefs, this lifestyle is not only based on hunting animals, but on the foods people had within reach more than 10.000 years ago. Human DNA is the same as always, so the foods we have added in our contemporary alimentation have no sense, since people used to survive with a lot less diverse alimentation, keeping acute affections away. These are largely caused by introducing calorie-rich foods, processed aliments, dairy products and sugar-enriched ones.

The Paleo diet simplifies our alimentary regime to the minimum, being based only on two major components: natural plants and animal-derived aliments. In other words, meat, vegetables and fruits are the only accepted aliments. Roughly speaking, the Paleo diet includes fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, duck, fruits of any kind, naturally grown vegetables and seeds, without using any fertilizer or additive that could modify their structure. These foods not only ensure the necessary contribution of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants the body absolutely needs, but also have the capacity to reduce the glycemic index, thus decreasing the risk of diabetes; they prevent obesity and digestive disorders, and the meat-originated proteins ensure the energy we need throughout a working day. Nonetheless, following the Paleo diet will result in a non-starving weight loss.

paleoLike in any other diet, there are rules to be followed so as to improve our wellbeing. Rule number 1 says vegetables occupy two thirds of the plate. The rest belongs to proteins, which is a palm-sized slice of meat, a fruit and some healthy fats, like avocado for instance. Basically, Paleo followers consume beef, lamb and chicken, all fed as naturally as possible. The ideal diet supposes the consumption of only wild animals, because they have less saturated fats than those raised on a farm and fed on forage instead of plants. Also, when it comes to vegetables, many supporters eliminate plants from the Solanaceae family (i.e. tomatoes, eggplant, peppers). Rule number 2 eliminates all aliments that cause inflammations. Imitating our ancestors’ regime, it is clear there is no room for anything that is wrapped or processed. Anything that might come from a factory is excluded. This category of foods come with plenty of additives, salt and sugar, ingredients known for their negative effect on the organism, especially on the immune system. They create the right environment for inflammations, cause of numerous affections. So, dairy products and refined sweets will be excluded. The same goes for cereals, which are intensely promoted at present.

Rule number 3: the Paleo diet gets you rid of the burden of counting calories. You can eat as much as you want. As long as the body does not receive additives that are present in most foods, it will behave properly and not feel the need for sweet or salty. By also eliminating so many carbs sources, you might ask ‘where do I get my energy from?’ Popular culture presents carbs as the main fuel, but without these sources of energy, the organism will go towards the fat supplies in order to refuel. Rule number 4: take dinner for breakfast. First meal of the day requires what you normally eat for dinner, because it is the time your body most needs nutritive substances to cope with a long and challenging day. Thus, have a meal of chicken or fish in the morning and keep vegetables and fruits for the evening.

Rule number 5 says you can cheat only once a week. You can obtain the benefits of the Paleo diet even if you follow it correctly at a rate of 85%. Therefore, the Paleo diet is not even a very strict one.

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