Beginners Guide to the Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet involves eating the type of food our hunter gatherer ancestors used to eat. So whatever a caveman or cavewoman ate, then that is what you should be eating too. This is why the diet is also referred to as the Caveman Diet or the Stone Age Diet.

So, what did our hunter gatherer ancestors eat? The fact is they would eat anything they could hunt or find, which would have included: meat, fish, nuts, fruit, vegetables, seeds.

They didn’t eat bread or pasta or donuts or many other processed foods that are part of the modern diet –which often lead to obesity and other health problems.

Why would you want to eat like a caveman?

Everybody wants to be healthy. Everybody wants to be strong, fit and full of energy. Nobody wants to be overweight. Nobody wants to be fat and ill.

Everybody knows that they should eat food which is good for them, and avoid junk food. But the question arises: what is the best food to eat? What is the best food to eat in order to be strong, fit and healthy? What food should you be eating in order to maintain your body in the best possible health? What foods are best suited to human beings? What is the natural diet for humans?

Imagine you were a zookeeper who had the responsibility for feeding the animals such as lions and penguins, etc. What would you feed them? Probably you would research what these animals ate in the wild.

 

LION DIET?

Lions eat meat – such as zebra meat, gazelle meat, etc. They don’t eat fruit or chocolate or vegetables – just meat.

PENGUIN DIET?

Penguins would eat fish of various types. They also don’t eat fruit or chocolate or vegetables or pasta – just fish.

HUMAN DIET?

What is the natural human diet? What type of food did we eat in the wild? What did our Hunter Gatherer ancestors eat?

None of the animals would eat bread or pasta or chocolate or any other foods that are not natural for them. The food they eat is the food they have evolved to eat over thousands of years.

If they eat food which is natural to them, then they will be healthy. If you fed a penguin only chicken or fruit and no fish, then eventually it would become ill. If you fed a lion fruit or chocolate or broccoli, but no meat then eventually it would become ill. If the animals stray from their natural diet then eventually they will become ill.

So this leads us to the question: what is the natural diet for humans? What have we evolved to eat? What type of food keeps us in the best possible health? What did humans eat in the wild? What did humans eat when we were hunter gatherers?

So we need to find out what is the natural human diet. How do we do this? The answer is to study our hunter-gatherer ancestors or the Paleolithic era e.g. we should study humans from 50,000 years ago.

Compared to humans now, our hunter-gatherer ancestors of 50,000 years ago were on average taller, more muscular and leaner. Contrary to what many believe, our hunter-gatherer ancestors were stronger and healthier than us today.

The Agricultural Revolution only began 10,000 years ago – a relatively short time compared to the 2.5 million years that humans have lived on earth. What effect has the last the Agricultural Revolution had on humans over the last 10,000 years? It’s only fair to say that there has been many positive outcomes, for example humans could sustain far more people which resulted in a huge population growth. Often getting a meal has been more predicatable and easier – no having to find and chase a deer and hope you can kill it for your dinner. Instead humans could go out to their field and pick their crop.

However, what effect has the Agricultural Revolution had on the health of humans? Unfortunately, when it comes to health, the agricultural revolution – which introduced many grain based foods such as bread and pasta – have had a bad effect. As humans transitioned into an agricultural lifestyle rather than a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, their health deteriorated, resulting in an increase in numerous illnesses and diseases. All of which could have been avoided.

What is the paleo diet?

The Paleo Diet is the healthiest way to eat for a human being. This is because it is the only diet that matches what humans evolved to eat over thousands of years – its our natural human diet. By following the paleo diet you will be able to become slim, strong, fit & healthy.

Foods Allowed

R

Vegetables

R

Fruits

R

Lean Meats

R

Fish / Seafood

R

Nuts & Seeds

R

Healthy Fats & Oils

Foods NOT Allowed

Q

Grains e.g. bread, pasta, etc

Q

Dairy e.g. Milk, cheese, yoghurt

Q

Processed foods & sugars

Q
Starches e.g. potatoes
Q

Legumes e.g. beans, lentils, chickpeas

Q

Alcohol

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How does the paleo diet work?

Everyone knows that processed foods and sugars are bad for you, but from the blue table above what surprises most people is that grains are not allowed.

The fact is grains are bad for your body – eating them causes a whole lot of health problems, including making you put on weight, develop diabetes, etc, etc. Grains are made up of carbohydrates, which are eventually turned into glucose (a type of sugar) .

This glucose will provide some energy for your body, but any glucose not used is then stored as fat. For a quick explanation just watch the 3 minute video below – “Why You Got Fat”:

Eat like your Hunter Gatherer ancestors

Caveman vs Modern Man

It may surprise you to find out that our stone age ancestors were actually fitter, stronger and healthier than we are today. Surely as humans became “civilised” and our knowledge of medicine, sanitation, soap, etc improved, then this made us healthier & fitter than our ancestors? Errm…. No, not quite.

If we look back to our hunter gather ancestors e.g. 40,000 years ago, and compare them to people today it shows:

Caveman

Modern Man

I

Tall

I

Strong

I

Fit

I

Agile

I

Lean

I

Healthy

O

Unfit

O

Overweight

O

Stressed

O

Sleep deprived

O

Health problems

O

Low energy

Paleo Diet

Typical Western Diet

So what went wrong? Agriculture – that’s what went wrong – that’s when the rot set in heath-wise. About 10,000 years ago humans started farming and gradually people switched away from being hunter gathers and instead became farmers. People settled down on their farms – growing crops such as maize, barley, wheat, etc which they made bread, etc with. In time they formed into villages, towns and eventually cities. Societies were formed and we became civilised.

As we switched away from being hunter gatherers into agricultural societies, our diets changed. Humans ate far less meat, and started eating grains and legumes, etc – particularly lots of starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, rice, etc.

The problem was our bodies never evolved to properly cope with eating all the grains that we now farm. If you think of time human being in our current form have been around for as a 100 metre running track, then humans lived as hunter gathers for 99.5 metres – during this time we became experts at hunting and gathering. Our bodies evolved so that this lifestyle suited us best. When following it humans were strong, fit and healthy.

However, the last 50cm represents human beings after agriculture was first developed – when our diets changed, incorporating grains. On average people started eating far less meat, vegetables and seasonal fruits, and instead started eating lots of grains such as bread, pasta, corn, rice, etc. During the last 50cm our genes have not changed, our bodies have not evolved. Grains now make up a substantial part of the average diet – for men & women. As a result our bodies cannot properly cope with this change in diet, and our health is suffering.

The Paleo Diet is an attempt to return to eating in a way that is best for our health – by following a diet that is natural to us, a diet humans evolved to thrive on. Returning to our natural diet – The Paleo Diet – will enable us to start living a healthier, fitter, stronger and more energetic life. The Paleo Diet , also known as the Stone Age diet , caveman diet, evolution diet or hunter gatherer diet, is an attempt to eat what our Paleolithic (Stone Age) hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

Keep in mind that the Paleo Diet is not about recreating the existence of the caveman – we still want modern technology and all of the wonderful things it can do for us, such as mobile phones, laptops, cars, surgery if we need an operation, antibiotics if we are ill, dental treatment, etc.

Evolution

When people switched from being hunter gathers over to relying on agriculture their diets changed. Whereas Paleolithic (Stone Age) humans ate foods rich in protein, fat and low in carbohydrates were healthy, humans who switched over to agriculture i.e. farming crops, etc relied on diets high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low in protein became unhealthy – and we remain so to this day.

You might be thinking who cares? What does it matter what Stone Age people ate? They were different from us….we’ve evolved since then….. hmmm. However, the fact is if you were to take a baby from 40,000 years ago and sit it next to a baby from today, they would look exactly the same – they would have the same body structure, same insides & outsides. Modern humans have a copy of the same genes as our Stone Age ancestors from just 40,000 years ago. Approximately 70% of humans alive today are able to trace their genes to a small group of Cro-Magnon people who survived the last Ice Age.

So if we share the same genes as our huntergatherer ancestors who were healthy, lean and strong, then why are humans today suffering from obesity and chronic illnesses e.g. diabetes, IBS, inflammation, heart problems, etc? Well, the answer is our genes are designed to enable us to be at our best – health & fitness wise – when we eat as a hunter-gatherer did.

If you took one of our hunter gatherer ancestors from the stone age and put them in a time machine and transferred him into our world today, and if they started following our modern bad diets and lifestyle i.e. eating processed foods, sugary drink, driving everywhere, sitting infront of a TV for hours, etc, then eventually that hunter-gatherer ancestor of ours would start to suffer. They would start to gain weight, become weaker, starting suffering chronic health problems, etc.

So why are so many people today fat and sick? Our hunter gatherer ancestors were not fat, they did not suffer from as many of the diseases as people in the “civilised” world today do. FACT: humans started getting fat and suffering so many diseases when we stopped living as hunter-gathers and switched over to farming.

Grains

Food made from grains, such as bread are not a healthy food, even though many doctors, etc claim they are. Cereal grains such as maize, rice, wheat, barley, oats, millet, sorghum, etc can cause numerous problems for your health and so are best avoided. The first cereal grains were domesticated by early primitive humans. About 8,000 years ago, they were domesticated by ancient farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region – and from those dates onwards humans who ate them have suffered.

Grains contain anti-nutrients which damage the body. They inhibit nutrient absorption and they cause inflammatory problems and digestive diseases. They contribute to diabetes, weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.  Archaeological studies of these early farmers show they had poor dental health, were shorter than their Hunter Gatherer compatriots and would have had inflammation related diseases cause by consuming grains.

Energy Levels

Cavemen needed lots of energy since they were moving, running, hunting etc – so they needed a diet which would provide them with sufficient energy to fuel their daily activities. Following a paleo diet will provide all the energy you need to fuel an active lifestyle. If you’re new to this diet then maybe your worried that by cutting out starchy carbs e.g. your usual bowl of pasta, portion of rice/potatoes, etc then you won’t have enough energy. Don’t worry – the fact is our bodies are designed to work efficiently on a low amount of carbohydrates – so this won’t be a problem.

When you eat a paleo diet you will no longer be consuming lots of starchy carbs – rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, etc – which is where your body used to get a lot of its enegy from, your body will instead get energy from using the stored fat on your body i.e. fat on your stomach, your ass, etc…….. and using that to give ou energy. That’s why people who follow the paleo diet are so lean – also known as “ripped” or cut. This process is known as Ketogenesis.

The less carbs you eat, then the less glucose gets into your body, which will result in your body starting to burn fat to give you energy.

Are all carbs bad?

No, not necessarily. Carbs that derive from fruit or vegetables are fine. Eating sweet broccoli or carrots or apples, etc are great. They are not processed. They provide lots of excellent nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc and are low in calories. For example, with vegetables you can eat as much as you want and you won’t get fat.

The type of carbs you want to avoid are starchy carbs such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, lentils, etc. Not only are they high in calories, low in nutrients & vitamins, but the cause numerous health problems such as chronic inflammation. All they do is spike your energy levels which is not good for you.

Dairy

Dairy products e.g. milk, cheese, etc should be avoided under the paleo diet. Why? Think about it – our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t drag around a cow with them so they could milk it every day. They only cosumed their mothers milk during their infancy. If you study animals in the wild none of them drinks milk beyond their infancy. Fact is milk can cause numerous health problems.

Some people are noticeably intolerant of dairy, while many others suffer side-effects from it e.g. acne, IBS,etc. Our bodies are not designed to consume dairy past infancy. As a baby a mothers milk is best – but after infancy consuming large amounts of milk from a cow is not good for you – no matter what the milk/cheese companies may tell you…….

So what can you eat?

Dairy products e.g. milk, cheese, etc should be avoided under the paleo diet. Why? Think about it – our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t drag around a cow with them so they could milk it every day. They only cosumed their mothers milk during their infancy. If you study animals in the wild none of them drinks milk beyond their infancy. Fact is milk can cause numerous health problems.

Some people are noticeably intolerant of dairy, while many others suffer side-effects from it e.g. acne, IBS,etc. Our bodies are not designed to consume dairy past infancy. As a baby a mothers milk is best – but after infancy consuming large amounts of milk from a cow is not good for you – no matter what the milk/cheese companies may tell you…….

  • Meat – Preferably grass fed meat, and not grained fed. Meat from grass fed animals e.g. cows not only tastes better, but have more nutrients, so is better for you.
  • Poultry – Turkey, chicken, duck.. if it flies and has feathers then you can eat it.
  • Fish – preferably wild fish instead of farmed fish.
  • Eggs – Choose Omega-3 eggs if possible, from free range organic poultry.
  • Vegetables – Eat as many as you want, just don’t deep fry them.
  • Fruits – excellent source of nutrients, with natural sugar so they taste good. If you’re trying to lose weight, then don’t eat to many.
  • Oils – keep away from refined processed oils such as sunflower oil. Try coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil.
  • Nuts – all types but not peanuts, as they are not real nut – they’re a legume. Don’t eat too many as they are high in calories.
  • Tubers – sweet potatoes and yams. High in calories and carbs but acceptable if your keeping active, especially if your involved in endurance training.

Example Paleo Recipes e.g. :

  • Breakfast – An omelette with diced onions and green peppers mixed in.
  • Lunch – Mackerel fish with broccoli
  • Dinner – Chicken and cashew nuts with vegetables. Paleo soup to start
  • Snacks – dried dates or nuts

Weight-loss: you won’t get hungry

One of the secrets of the success of the paleo diet is that the foods are so nutritious and leave you feeling full, so you won’t overeat. If you eat non-paleo foods such as past or bread, etc, then you’ll never really feel full, so you can eat them all day. For example, a plate of chicken and vegetables will quickly fill you up, but a bowl of pasta will have you craving for more soon after – even though they have much more calories.

If you follow a paleo diet then you will quick drop your body fat percentage, and have a lean beach body in no time.

Can’t give up bread, pasta, etc??

If you have the perfect body and are in excellent health then keep on eating starchy carbs like bread, pasta, potatoes, pizza, etc. However, if you’re not perfect but want to be thenyou’re just going to have to give these a miss.

Many people have one cheat day per week on the paleo diet, so it’s not as if you will miss out on them forever. Try minimising them at first, and gradually try to cut them out altogether.
We’re not going to lie – the first 1-2 weeks will be tough. The factis you body is addicted to starchy carbs, to the high-spiked sugar rushes, so it will take time for your body & mind to adjust to being clean from starchy carbs.

If you want to lose weight and have tried numerous diets before, or if you want to get lean and have a six pack abs showing then you will have to follow the paleo diet rules and avoide starchy carbs. Maybe you’re worried you can’t do it, maybe you don’t think you have the will power. We advise you try a 30 day trial. Afterwards you can see how you feel and look, and then decide if you wan to continue.. Odds are you be looking great and will want to keep going. Nothings tastes as good as a lean, toned, slim body – especially when its yours.

Odds are, after 30 days you will have developed a new habit – a healthy new habit which only requires clean food to maintain. While on the paleo diet you will quickly see and feel the benefits, which will motivate you to avoid temptation and live a healthy lifestyle.

How much should I eat?

Apart from fruit (a bit sugary) and nuts (high in calories), you can eat as much as you want. Eat whenever you’re hungry. So eat as much meat, fish, vegetables, etc as you want. To begin with don’t worry too much about how many calories your consuming – if you’re a beginner then don’t worry about having to count them. If you’re following the paleo diet then you will feel full after your meals, so odds are you won’t be graving more food soon after – so it’s very unlikely that you will end up over eating.

How often should I eat i.e. 6 meals a day?

Traditional most western diets consist of three main meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Various fad diets over the years advise different number of meals e.g. 6 small meals per day, etc, or 1-2 per day with fasting, etc. However, we advise you do what suits you, whatever fits around your schedule. Eat when you are hungry. Don’t worry if you miss a meal or two. For most people 3 main meals a day is what then follow, just because it’s convenient and helps them organise their meals/cooking or food prep, etc – but it’s up to you.

FAT

One of the first things you need to understand is that fatis good for you. This comes as a shock for many people, since for decades the media, dieticians, government, food companies, etc have preached the advice that fat is the devil and should be avoided. The faxct is the rae plain WRONG – fat is actually good for you. Your body needs a certain amount of fat to work efficiently.

For example, fat in your diet helps you main the health of blood vessels, aids in the digestion of enzymes and controls inflammation. However, you need to be eating the right type of fat:

  • FATS TO AVOID: Omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory (such as sunflower oil, pumpkin seeds and sesames seeds).
  • FATS TO EAT: Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory (found in oily fish such as salmon, walnuts, naturally raised chicken eggs and grass-fed meat).

This highlights the importance of including fish in your diet. Oily fish contains Omega-3 which can reduce the chances of blood clots forming, and reduce the risks of developing heart disease.

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Science backing the Paleo Diet

There are numerous scientific studies proving the benefits of the paleo diet, including:

There are many others, but the ones above are amongst the most well-known ones, and there are more research papers published every year supporting the paleo diet.

Also, while not specifically paleo this is a great article and very convincing: “The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization

What you will also find – especially over the last couple of years are increasing numbers of people criticising the paleo diet. However, if you study the facts, read the research yourself, then in every occasion these critics are found out to be just plain wrong, deeply biased or extremely selective with their data.

In fact some journalists criticising the paleo diet have been guilty of writing utter nonsense – either not understanding the research papers they were meant to be reporting on, or they have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by organisations/academics who want to promote a suspect agenda. Worst of all, shamefully you have some journalist who are in the pay of big business and are more than happy to write a pack of lies, just as long as they get their pay check at the end of the month.

For example, one idiotic article criticising the paleo diet was by Scientific American – in which they even mis-quoted primary researchers. This drivel from Scientific American caused such a stir in the paleo community that a number of leading figures in the paleo diet movement wrote rebuttals to it: see Prof. Cordains site, and here is the rebuttal to PNAS 2013. Read the rebuttals, and why not even read the original research – which many in the media we too lazy to do:

  1. Matt Sponheimer, Zeresenay Alemseged, Thure E. Cerling, Frederick E. Grine, William H. Kimbel, Meave G. Leakey, Julia A. Lee-Thorp, Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, Kaye E. Reed, Bernard A. Wood, and Jonathan G. Wynn. Isotopic evidence of early hominin diets. PNAS 2013 : 1222579110v1-201222579.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1222579110
  2. Jonathan G. Wynn, Matt Sponheimer, William H. Kimbel, Zeresenay Alemseged, Kaye Reed, Zelalem K. Bedaso, and Jessica N. Wilson. Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia. PNAS 2013 : 1222559110v1-201222559.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1222579110
  3. Thure E. Cerling, Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, Emma N. Mbua, Louise N. Leakey, Meave G. Leakey, Richard E. Leakey, Francis H. Brown, Frederick E. Grine, John A. Hart, Prince Kaleme, Hélène Roche, Kevin T. Uno, and Bernard A. Wood. Stable isotope-based diet reconstructions of Turkana Basin hominin.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1222568110

 

It’s actually a sign of success that the paleo diet has been getting attacked. For many years a small number of fitness experts have followed the paleo diet, and gradually as people see the benefits that following the paleo diet gives them, the diet is growing in popularity. So it’s no surprise the diet is being attacked, since many of those critics stand to lose money or power if the paleo diet triumphs.

People who work for sugar companies will lie to defend their product. People who work for grain companies will lie to defend their product, etc, etc……. never forget that employees and numerous academics once defended the tobacco companies – it’s the same story all over again. In time the paleo diet will be recognised by the mainstream for what it is – the perfect diet for humans….. the diet humans evolved to eat. The paleo diet is our natural diet.

Think for yourself. Read original research yourself and make up your own mind. Whenever you read a newspaper article, magazine article or blog post or watch a news report on the TV, even this website, etc, always ask who created it? What is their agenda? Have they come to their conclusion from a starting point which was fair and unbiased? Or are they starting from a biased stance? Do they really understand what they’re talking about?

Scientific research is all good but in the end think for yourself. Try paleo for yourself – do your own research. See what works (& doesn’t work) for you. Listen to your body. See how you feel.

30 Day Challenge – Forming new habits

Thousands of people have been achieving fantastic results on the paleo diet – improved heath, improved fitness, increases in their energy, looking & feeling amazing. However, is the paleo diet right for you? The fact is you can read as many books & websites about the paleo diet or scientific articles or testimonials, etc, but the fact is you’ll never know until you try.

So, the best thing to do is try the paleo diet for 30 days and see how you feel (& look) at the end. After 30 days you will be in a position where you will be able to judge if it benefits you or not. We are confident that you will be delighted with your result – so it’s time to take action and start your 30 Day Paleo Challenge today!

 

Why 30 days?

If you have ever tried adopting a new diet or fitness program then you will know that the hardest part is actually sticking to it. In the first few days you’ll be all fired up, motivated to stick to your new diet, but eventually you will be tempted to go back to your bad old ways – such as eating a chocolate cookie, etc.

So how do you avoid this? If you want to replace your bad habits with good habits then you need to repeat the desired behaviour as often as you can – eventually, the more you repeat it the better the chance you will have that it will stick.

If you want to change your diet, and stick to it, then you will need to change your habits – which can be difficult. Many studies have shown that you can change any habit in 30 days, if you have the right strategy.

Our 30 Day Paleo Challenge (coming soon) will give you the right strategy to get rid of your old bad eating habits, and replace them with new, good eating habits. By having access to a comprehensive 30 day plan of what to eat each day – with detailed meal plans on what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and occasional snacks, you will have everything you need to develop & sustain positive eating habits. You will be able transform your diet, health and ultimately your life!

For just 30 days give it a try – cut out the sugar, cut out bread, cut out grains and other processed garbage, etc and see how you feel at the end. Take a picture of yourself on day 1, and then another on day 30 – we guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results.

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