In this guide I will be looking at what is the paleo diet and what can you expect to get out of it. Even though the diet has been around for a very you long time, you may have only just heard of this diet as it has gained a lot of popularity lately. This sudden surge in popularity is due to how effective it’s for not only losing weight but increasing your overall well-being.
There are many reasons why you might be looking at this diet. These reasons could include things such as weight loss, muscle gain or just increasing your overall health. You will find this guide will explain most of the basics however if you want to dive straight in be sure to check out the Paleo crash course.
If you want to hear me explain what is the paleo diet, then you can find my video on it below. Alternatively, you can find the full-text explanation immediately below the video.
The basics of what is the Paleo Diet?
There is quite a bit to know about the Paleo diet so I will touch on some of the basics and how the Paleo diet came to popularity.
The idea of the paleo diet is super simple and makes sense when you think about it. The idea is going back to the age before cultivation came around and are foods that only would have been available to our Paleolithic ancestors.
The idea is that 10,000 years ago when our ancestors lived, they did not have access to all the foods we have today. They also seemed to lack a lot of modern diseases such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, obesity and much more. Returning to the Paleo diet, in theory, should reduce the risk of these modern diseases and give you a much better quality of life.
As you would expect this means you will need to cook from scratch and avoid any modern processed foods. This range of foods includes things such as dairy, grains, legumes, sugar and much more. If you want more information, then I will mention a bit more about what you can and can’t eat on the Paleo diet further down the page.
A lot of people consider this diet to be more of lifestyle as the idea is that you don’t stop once you hit your goal weight or you start feeling better. By sticking to the diet past your goals, you will keep reaping the many benefits of eating clean and reduce the risk of relapsing.
As you may or may not know, there are a lot of myths about the paleo diet. These typically try to create doubt about the diet pointing out some key areas where the diet may fall flat. Most of these myths are only telling half the story or are outright wrong.
What can I Eat?
As with any diet, some foods are encouraged and others that are discouraged. Since this the major part of any diet you’re probably wondering what you can and can’t eat.
The food that is allowed on a diet is pretty much anything that hasn’t been processed or involves processing to become edible. This lack of processing means you still will be able to eat most fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and meat. As you will expect, these ingredients will make up the majority of your diet.
You will lose out on quite a bit of prepared food as it’s super surprising how much stuff we eat today that has been processed & packaged. You can expect to lose food such as your grains, pre-packed meals, most pre-prepared condiments, dairy and of course sugar.
If you’re interested in learning more about what is paleo friendly and what isn’t then I have an ever-growing collection of guides that go through everything you need to know about a given ingredient.
The biggest part where people struggle is meals that are usually rushed such as breakfast and lunch. To work around this, I typically prepare something like granola for breakfast and leftovers from the night before for lunch. Alternatively, there are some pretty fantastic meals you can quickly make & eat if you have the time.
There are many different interpretations of the Paleo diet, so depending on how you look at it you may be able to eat more or less of different types of food. For example, some would say dark chocolate is fine on the paleo diet, but others would tell you not to. If you’re looking to lose weight then being as strict as possible is probably the best way to go.
Obviously, it’s not entirely possible to mimic our ancestors as the world is completely different to what it was. Conveniences such as supermarkets never existed but would be very hard not to rely on today. If you do go shopping, try to shop organic and buy the produce of high quality if you can afford it.
If you’re finding shopping a little difficult or want to have a clear list of things to buy at the supermarket, then be sure to check out my paleo shopping list. There is also a downloadable version available as well.
In understanding what is the paleo diet, you would probably want to know some of the health benefits you get out of it.
As with any diet, one of the main benefits is losing weight and possibly gaining some muscle (depending on an exercise regime, etc.). However, there is a wide range of benefits you also get from being on the Paleo diet, and I will list just a couple below.
- Balanced energy throughout the day
- Clearer skin & better teeth
- Improved sleep patterns
- Burn off stored fat
- Stable blood sugar
- Reduced allergies
- And much more
There are so many different health benefits that you will get from going on the paleo diet it’s hard not to be interested in following it.
So is the Paleo diet for me?
Paleo offers quite a different way of eating, and while some people enjoy it, others will struggle.
If you love the idea of cooking from scratch and knowing exactly what goes into your meals, then you should certainly give this a go. As well as benefiting from knowing exactly what is going into your food you will also see an improvement in your health and mental state.
You’re likely to lose out on eating out. While it is still possible to eat out, it’s going to be a lot harder due to how many restrictions there are for the foods you eat. You will find it’s usually just easier to cook at home.
Basically, anyone can go on the paleo diet however if you do suffer from some significant health problems is best to consult a dietician and your doctor first.
If I have missed anything important that you believe should have been mentioned in the discussion of what is the paleo diet, then please feel free to leave a comment below. I would also love to hear your feedback, experiences, thoughts or anything else you want to say.