I’m sure many of you have heard of the Paleo Diet but do you know what it’s all about?  The Paleo diet is also known as the ‘caveman diet’.  It is based on the ancient diet of the Paleolithic era, a period that lasted about 2.5 million years and that ended approximately 10,000 years ago.  There was no agriculture during this time period, so people based their diets on what they could hunt and gather.

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The back-to-basics approach prescribed by the Paleo Diet means lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and other staples common to the caveman.  All of this makes up 50% of the diet’s daily caloric intake.

The following five food categories are accepted on the Paleo Diet:

1.     Vegetables

The Paleo Diet recommends that the majority of your fibre intake should come from vegetables and fruits.  All vegetables-with the exception of white and sweet potatoes- are allowed, including sea vegetables, which have tremendous health benefits and are full of antioxidants.

2.     Fruits

The Paleo Diet incorporates all fruits, but encourages you to choose fresh fruits over dried fruits, as dried fruits are higher in carbs and fat.  The diet also limits the amount of fruit you should eat.  Fruits with lower quantities of sugar, such as blueberries, grapefruit and apples, are considered ideal choices.

3.     Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds provide healthy fats.  You can also incorporate nut and seed butters – such as walnut butter or sunflower seed butter- as alternatives for peanut butter, which is not accepted because peanuts are legumes.

      4. Healthy Fats

Fats are commonly misunderstood.  The Paleo Diet recommends sticking with clean, health fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil, as they are less saturated, which helps your cellular membranes stay healthy.  When cooking with oil, make sure to choose one with a higher smoke point, such as coconut oil.  This ensures that the oil will not go rancid during the cooking process.

 

      5. Meat and seafood

Since meat was one of the main food sources during the Paleolithic era, it is absolutely accepted in this diet.  A variety of flesh meats, including beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork and eggs, are acceptable.  However, organic and grass-fed meats are favoured as they help keep toxin levels down.

Seafood and fish-such as shrimp, cod and salmon- are also all Paleo-friendly foods and are an excellent source of nutrients-especially salmon, which is chock-full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet

  • Processed foods
  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Refined sugars and carbs
  • Added salt (tip: keep the salt shaker off the table)
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Sodas and other carbonated beverages
  • Artificial sweeteners
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