The paleo diet food list includes foods that we have been designed to eat over a long evolutionary period. Otherwise known as the ‘caveman’s diet’, our bodies are optimized to eat the foods that our hunter and gather ancestors ate up until 10,000 years ago.
Let us look more closely at the paleo diet and weigh up the pros and cons to see whether you should be enoying the same paleo diet food list as our ancestors did during the Paleolithic era!
Hunter Gatherers and the Caveman Diet
Around 2 million years ago, our ancestors were hunter gathers and used to forage for food in their natural surroundings. These foods included meat, seafoof, nuts, fruits, berries and some vegetables. Basically if a ‘caveman’ could catch it with a basic spear or hook, or find it in the forest, they couldn’t eat it.
This diet is called the paleo diet and consists only of those foods which were eaten before farming and agriculture developed around 10,000 years ago.
The paleo diet craze was started with the publication of the book The New Evolution Diet by Art De Vany. The teaching of this book were then popularized by a former vegan, Rob Wolf, who although thin, couldn’t lift his own weight. After switching to a Paleo diet, Rob promotes it as a diet that enables people to be healthy and strong.
So let's dig in and look at the paleo diet food list, and what's not allowed.
Allowed Paleo Diet Food List
Protein Foods – including chicken, beef, bison, deer, moose, rabbit, wild turkey, seafood, tuna, salmon, cod, shrimp, tilapia, halibut, and eggs.
Vegetables – carrots, kale, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes
Fruits – blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, oranges, avocado, kiwi, grapes, lemons, limes, coconut, mango are all allowed
Processed foods - bread, crackers, chips, and cookies;
Whole grains and pastries - cakes
Dairy products – milk, cheese etc.
A healthy Paleo diet consists of whole, organic foods – which many of the foods sold in grocery stores are not. A lot of flavor in Paleo recipes comes from spices, herbs, seeds, mushrooms and nuts.
Advantages of the Paleo Diet
Feel fuller for longer - the Paleo diet food list is full of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber, which will allow you to feel full for a longer period of time. It also aids digestion.
Allows for weight loss - the Paleo diet doesn’t allow for any added sugar, sodium or dairy, and so a paleo diet weight loss program is perfect if you like the allowed foods.
Better energy levels - whole foods ensure that energy is released slowly in your blood stream, which gives you steady energy throughout the day.
Disavantages of the Paleo Diet
Difficult diet for beginners – it is hard for many people to remove sugar, dairy and fatty meats from their diet and takes a great deal of mental strength. The paleo diet food list can be challenging to come to terms with.
Restrictive if you lead an active lifestyle – calcium is an essential compound for strong, healthy bones. A paleo diet lacks calcium-rich foods such as dairy and so a paleo diet can be restricting for an active lifestyle. Some experts claim that a paleo diet can fulfill an active person’s nutritional requirements.
Can be more expensive – grass-fed chicken, organic fruits and vegetables; and free-range eggs, can cost up to twice as much as other foods.
Less convenient – unprocessed foods such as whole foods aren’t always available when you need them. Processed foods are often easier to buy and prepare than fresh vegetables or raw meats.
The Paleo Diet can give you a healthy start to your healthy lifestyle. Foods it includes are full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will help you feel better long-term. As with any diet, it requires patience to adapt to the new paleo diet food list, and there will be a learning curve in making it work best for your lifestyle in a way that you can sustain.