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What is the Paleo diet?

The media have brainwashed us into thinking that slim is the only acceptable body shape, so it’s no wonder that the diet industry is worth millions. Fad diets are popping up all the time, claiming amazing weight loss results with little effort. The Cambridge diet, the Cabbage Soup diet, the Atkins diet; all of these have been popular diets amongst consumers but they’re not a sustainable way of living and eating in the long term.

The Paleo diet is different. It is incredibly easy to follow, and leads to a healthier, leaner you. If you’ve never heard of it then read on as we explain what it is, and how it could be the positive lifestyle change that you’ve been waiting for...

What is the Paleo diet?

The Paleolithic diet, also known as the Paleo diet, Caveman diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet is a modern nutritional diet which is designed to emulate the cuisine of wild plants and animals eaten during the Paleolithic era.

The premise of the diet is to avoid foods that were not available to humans at the time; for example dairy products, grains, legumes, refined sugar, and processed oils. Proponents of the diet claim that the human metabolism has not adapted fast enough to handle many of the foods that were made available to us during the advent of agriculture.

It is claimed that the inability of humans to metabolize modern processed foods is the main cause of problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, critics of the Paleo diet point out a number of flaws in its logic: there is abundant evidence that Paleolithic humans did eat grains and legumes; and the Paleolithic era was incredibly long and saw humans adapt a great deal during the 2.5 million years that it spanned.

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How can I follow the Paleo diet?

If you’ve been trying to lose weight for some time without much success then the simplistic nature of the Paleo diet could mean it is the perfect choice for you. In order to follow the diet as intended you must do the following:

  • Increase protein intake: Modern western diets contain around 15% protein, which is considerably lower than the 19-35% protein intake of our hunter-gatherer predecessors. Meat, seafood, and other non-processed animal products are the staples of the modern Paleo diet.
  • Lower carbohydrate intake: Carbohydrates made up of non-starchy fruit and vegetables should make up around 35-40% of your diet. These foods typically have a low glycaemic index which means they are digested and absorbed much more slowly, avoiding a spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Increase fibre intake: Dietary fibre is essential for good health, and the best source of fibre comes in the form of non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat the right fats: It is not the amount of fat in your diet that is to blame for high cholesterol and increased risk of weight-related health problems, but rather the type of fat. Cut trans fats out of your diet and moderate the amount of polyunsaturated fats that you consume. Instead, try to focus on eating foods which are high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats.
  • Increase potassium and reduce sodium: Unprocessed, fresh foods contain around five to ten times more potassium than sodium; a ratio that Stone Age bodies were perfectly adapted to. Potassium is vital to the function of the heart, kidneys, and other organs. Low potassium in the diet is associated with high blood pressure and stroke, as is high sodium in the diet.
  • Balance alkaline and acid in the diet: After digestion all foods present either a net alkaline or acid load to the kidneys. Foods that contains alkaline are fruits and vegetables; foods containing net acid are meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt. A lifetime of eating too many acid-yielding foods and not enough alkaline-yielding foods can lead to bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, and can aggravate conditions such as asthma.
  • Increase intake of vitamins and minerals: Meats, fruits, and vegetables are the best source of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals that are essential for a healthy body. Whole grains, on the other hand, don’t contain nearly enough vitamin A, C, or B12.

 

For more information on what to eat on the Paleo diet visit their website. Here at Peelham Farm we produce organic, grass-fed meats which are perfectly suited to the simple, effective diet of our Stone Age ancestors. Visit our online store, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to know more about how our meat is reared or butchered.