• InspireHealth

Paleo diet

What did cavemen eat? Were they healthy?

There are lots of contradictions about this diet. Let's start with a definition of what paleo diet is.

The Paleolithic diet, Paleo diet, caveman diet, or stone-age diet is a modern fad diet requiring the sole or predominant eating of foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era.

Now, let's see what those foods are: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oils.

Cereal grains (including wheat, rye, oats and rice), dairy, potatoes, legumes (including beans and peanuts), refined sugar, processed foods and refined vegetable oils are excluded.

This eating plan cuts out whole grains, though there’s some evidence the real “paleo diet” of humans who lived thousands of years ago might have included bread.

Is it healthy?

Some experts believe a strict Paleo diet lacks nutritional balance, falling short in essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Critics say eliminating entire food groups like grains and dairy is problematic. Lots of contradictions online, lots of pros and cons. From what I gathered paleo-style eating has a lot of good qualities: It emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Incorporating more of these foods into your diet would likely be a big improvement. However, the Paleo diet has some flaws, and the evidence for excluding dairy, legumes, and grains isn't strong (yet). Strictly following a list of "good" and "bad" or "allowed" and "not allowed" foods is problematic for most people.

What you can do today? Instead of signing up for a strict lifestyle template, think about small changes you can make in your life that support what your body needs.

For example, look for simple ways incorporate a bit of what's good about the ancestral lifestyle into your day.

You could:

  1. Eat a little more fresh food, like adding some fresh fruit or vegetables to dinner tonight.

  2. Consider replacing a bit of the processed food you might normally be eating.(Not all of it, just some.)

  3. Get outside for some movement and fresh air.

  4. Go to bed a little earlier to get a good night's sleep.

These small actions, done consistently, can do much more for your health and happiness long-term. And consistency is more important than any food list or evolutionary theory.

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