06 Dec Paleo: The Good, The Bad, The Caveman
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Paleo in some form. Over the last few years, celebrities have endorsed Paleo for rapid weight loss, many books have been written on the topic, as well as several diet programs created around the basis of the Paleo diet.
The Paleo diet was created by Loren Cordain, a PhD researcher, author, and former professor at Colorado State University. From his decades of research, he suggests that modern day humans should eat like cavemen or hunter-gathers. Thus, only eating natural, unprocessed foods that we can “hunt” ourselves or find in mother nature.
What Can You Eat?
The Paleo diet can be quite limited as you’re eating primarily like a caveman. Here’s a list of the types of foods you’re able to eat.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Lettuce, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, etc.
- Planted-based oils: Coconut oil, Olive oil, etc.
- Lean meats, poultry and seafood
What Can't You Eat?
On a Paleo diet, you can’t eat anything that is processed. This includes foods that have some of the ingredients you can eat, in them.
A good example of this would be, nuts. Yes, you can eat nuts; however, once they’re put into an energy bar, that’s considered a processed food. So, say goodbye to Nutri-Grain bars or Cliff Bars.
Examples of foods you can’t eat on a Paleo diet include:
- Dairy products
- Oats, Wheat, Rice, Granola bars, etc.
- Pastas: Wheat, White, etc.
- Beans & Legumes: Refried beans, Black beans, Pinto beans, etc.
- Refined Processed Sugars: Candy, Cakes, Pies
- Processed Carbs: Crackers, Chips, Cookies, etc.
- Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes, Corn, etc.
- Fatty or Processed Meats: Bacon, deli meat, pork roast, etc.
- Sauces: Soy sauce, BBQ sauce, Teriyaki sauce, etc.
Paleo: Pros & Cons
- You typically do not count calories or macros when on Paleo. This is because the diet is comprised of simpler foods. To some, this can be seen positive, as you’re not having to take the time or put in the effort to track your food intake.
- Because you’re eating primarily protein, you will be fuller for longer.
- This diet limits the types of foods you’re able to eat and does not allow processed foods. Because of this, you may experience weight loss.
- Because the diet is primarily protein based, the food bill could get quite expensive.
- You’re also not eating very many carbs at all, except for the minimal ones you get from fruit and vegetables.
- If you exercise regularly or are an athlete, you’ll definitely face challenges with sustaining enough energy to fuel your workouts. With that being said, your body will burn the fat you’ll get from the lean meats and seafood as energy.
- You’ll have to avoid a lot of foods that you may be used to eating in your daily lifestyle. This could cause you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food or cause frustration for the lack of flexibility in your diet.
- If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this will be very difficult to follow.
Should You Do a Paleo Diet?
There are several reasons and research behind why the Paleo diet should be followed for optimal health. However, like many other popular diets, this will work well for some and will not work for others.
Paleo puts a lot of restrictions on the food choices you’re able to consume. Thus, making it challenging – but possible – to follow and sustain over an extended period.
Our advice would be to give it a try for 2-4 weeks:
- Record how you feel day-to-day
- Take progress pictures each week
- Note how following Paleo affects your lifestyle both positively & negatively
- Concluding the trial period, evaluate your experience and make a decision from there
At the end of the day, the answer you’re looking for is: can you follow and sustain the Paleo guidelines and do you feel good doing it.
If you’re planning on starting a Paleo diet or have done the Paleo diet – please leave a comment below and tell our community about your experience.
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