Paleo means: eating as natural, raw, and unprocessed as possible. But how does that work in today’s world? All the information, advantages, and disadvantages of the Stone Age diet.
To take an example from the Stone Age people? Admittedly, this sounds a bit far-fetched at first.
But proponents of the Paleo diet swear by the concept: instead of grain products and sugar, Paleo foods are on the menu.
Meaning: fresh and natural foods that were probably already around in the Stone Age. This means primarily meat (preferably from the game), fish, seafood, egg, fruit, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, nuts, and honey.
Paleo should not only be healthy but also help you lose weight.
What is the Paleo diet?
The term Paleo diet comes from English and refers to the Paleolithic era – the so-called Old Stone Age.
The Paleo diet is therefore based on the original diet of hunter-gatherers and relies on natural foods.
The idea behind the diet: Our organism has been adapted to this Stone Age food for 2.5 million years – it can therefore digest this food without any problems and utilize it optimally.
Origin & history of the Stone Age diet
One of the first to describe the Stone Age diet and to coin the term was the gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin in the mid-seventies, who wanted to prove that humans are meat eaters and not omnivores as previously assumed.
In 2002, Loren Cordain took up the idea of evolutionary medicine once again and hit the bull’s eye with several books on the Paleo diet.
Paleo food: What can I eat?
- Everything that can be hunted (meat, fish, game) or gathered (fruits, vegetables, eggs, berries, mushrooms) is allowed in the Stone Age diet.
- Paleo fans consider this to be “species-appropriate” for humans and reject “modern” foods such as bread and other grain products, dairy products, or pressed oils.
- Therefore, as with Clean Eating, all processed foods, convenience foods, junk food, and sugar are taboo. Before people became farmers, no large-scale grain processing is said to have taken place – so bye-bye bread and pasta! In general, everything falls flat, which humans had to cultivate, for example, potatoes. Dairy products are also taboo since hunters and gatherers did not keep farm animals that they could milk.
Ciao, chickpeas, beans & Co.: Legumes are also not on the Paleo diet. Why not?
- Because they consist mainly of short-limbed carbohydrates and therefore cannot be digested well by everyone – digestive problems and flatulence are the result.
- Instead of pressed oils, the Stone Age diet uses animal fats high in saturated fat, such as lard or tallow. In vegetable oils allowed are olive and coconut oil.
- Followers of Paleo believe that our digestive system is not adapted to the modern Western diet – that is, industrially produced food with a lot of carbohydrates and fiber.
- Moreover, it would disrupt our metabolism and promote diseases of civilization such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Paleo fans also advocate good quality food. Meat, for example, should come from species-appropriate animals and fish from wild catch – fruit and vegetables should be of organic quality.
- With the new view on food and strongly changed nourishing habits Paleo is to make removing easy.
- U.S. professor Loren Cordain, the publisher of the most important Paleo guidebooks, recommends endurance and strength training to round off the Stone Age lifestyle.
The biggest Paleo misconceptions
The list of Paleo foods is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, there are a few peculiarities you should pay attention to if you want to eat strictly according to the Paleo diet.
Even though nuts and seeds are allowed, you still need to be careful.
The peanut, for example, is not really a nut at all but belongs to the butterfly family of legumes. That is why they are taboo in the Stone Age diet.
And even if quinoa, amaranth, and Co. are counted only to the pseudo-grain kinds, they may not land with Paleo unfortunately also on the plate.
Nevertheless, Paleo fans know how to help themselves, so they don’t have to completely do without comfort food like buttered bread in the morning. Bread without cereals is easy to make yourself with eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Instead of milk, homemade nut drinks are allowed, such as cashew, hazelnut, or almond milk.
How much meat is enough?
Nutritionist Prof. Claus Leitzmann now draws attention to the fact that the meat consumption recommended in the Stone Age diet is very high. He says it is better to eat plenty of vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
“Today’s living conditions are fundamentally different than in the Stone Age and require a contemporary diet,” Leitzmann said. He added that it cannot be ruled out that there were times when people predominantly consumed meat.
But our organs have not changed since then in the direction of carnivores. This is also supported by the fact that humans are not able to produce vitamin C. We have to take it daily with a plant-based diet.
Paleo requires discipline and a big wallet
If you want to live completely according to Paleo, you have to change a lot of things. Just eliminating grains and dairy products requires a huge change in habits.
Those who take the food quality thing seriously will likely have to dig deeper into their pockets than before. Good meat, sustainable fish, and unsprayed fruits and vegetables have their price.
However, one’s own health, animal welfare, and environmental protection should be worth it.
Lose weight with the Paleo diet
The renunciation of grain and dairy products is for most people an extreme intervention in previous eating habits. Whether this makes sense is not proven – unless you want to lose weight.
Fresh nutrition without junk food and sugar – that sounds at least already times promising. And indeed: A Paleo diet is mostly low carb thanks to the high protein and fat content.
A typical Paleo meal would be, for example, a steak with vegetables or fried fish with salad. The usual carbohydrate side dishes are then omitted accordingly. The largest source of carbohydrates in the Paleo diet is fructose from fruits and vegetables.
When leaves in the evening the fingers of the fruit, can bring its metabolism owing to Low Carb again so correctly in swing and the unlovely Pounds the fight announce.
Nevertheless, in general, when losing weight, one should not only rely on the supposedly correct form of nutrition. Those who would like to achieve fast success with Paleo, cannot avoid the sweaty Workout, unfortunately.
If you want to lose weight with the Stone Age diet, your menu could look something like this:
Breakfast: you start the day with a delicious and filling power nut muesli, which you can enjoy with a coconut or nut drink. For those who have less time, a creamy avocado smoothie is a better choice.
Lunch: Fresh, fresh, mango avocado salad! This light lunch is not heavy in the stomach, but still satiates and prevents cravings in the afternoon.
Dinner: Ever tried lasagna with coconut milk? No? Then it’s high time. Instead of pasta plates, use eggplant – yum!
Luckily, if you do get hungry between meals, snacking is allowed on the Paleo diet.
These are the perfect Stone Age snacks:
- A handful of mixed nuts (walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews).
- two to three dried apricots
- mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) snacking in between at will
Paleo in check: Our conclusion
A little Paleo is certainly good for everyone. The concept has many good approaches: Less junk food and more vegetables, fruits, generally plant-based foods, and high-quality animal foods.
Whether it is necessary to do without grains and dairy products is questionable. And if instead of mountains of meat, fish, and vegetarian food is served more often, the Paleo diet light is not so bad after all – may be a little wholemeal pasta is allowed, too, isn’t it?