Eating Like Cavemen: What's the Deal with the Paleo Diet?

There are many diets that come and go but the Paleo diet has stuck around for awhile now. Maybe because despite people liking the idea of eating like cavemen, the diet really isn’t so different from what we already knew to be a healthy diet- high quality sources of protein, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables.  

The paleo premise is to eat like our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The reasoning is that our ancestors did not suffer from the same level or variety of chronic diseases, and going back to our roots could help reduce our risk. Followers also emphasize that cutting out processed, artificial foods will lead to weight loss.

So what does one eat on the paleo diet?

paleo what to eat what not to eat diagram

The diet consists of meat from humanely raised animals (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, wild caught fish) along with fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils such as olive, coconut and avocado, and only natural sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup.

What you do not eat is processed foods, grains (no bread, pasta, ancient grains, rice etc), legumes, no vegetable seed oils, or refined sugar. The true Paleo diet eliminates dairy, although many followers still include grass fed butter and Greek yogurt.

My take on the Paleo diet? 

I love the premise of eliminating processed foods and focusing on high quality sources of protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. This is the formula for a healthy, sustainable diet! My concern is that when whole grains, legumes, and dairy are all eliminated, the diet becomes heavy in meat.

There are so many great plant based sources of protein and it kind of pains me to eliminate all ancient grains as they are such a great source of fiber and minerals. My advice is to take bits and pieces from a few different diets to find one that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel your best. The bits from the Paleo diet that I would take are:

  1. Eliminate refined sugar and flour

  2. When eating meat, only choose humanely raised sources

  3. Include  a variety of healthy fats from olive, avocado, and coconut oil as well as nuts and seeds

  4. Always keep it real, nothing artificial

  5. Keep your diet veggie-centric

So there you have it, my take on the Paleo diet.  

Side note- If you live in NYC and haven’t tried Hu Kitchen yet, be sure to check it out. They make the Paleo diet effortless and delicious. After you have something from their Mash bar, or a plate of primal kale salad with almond crusted chicken tenders, be sure to try their dark chocolate bars made with coconut sugar! They have become a staple in my pantry.