The Paleo Diet: Everything You Need To Know

The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is a food lifestyle change. Followers of this method practice eating foods consumed during the Paleolithic period, dating as far back as  2.5 million years ago. This diet typically includes food that would be collected through hunting and gathering, while staying away from foods established by farming like dairy and legumes. This diet encourages you to eat whole foods and can promote better sleep, stress management, and more energy.

Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet

Followers of this diet tout several benefits, from physical appearance to overall wellness. Many who participate in the Paleo movement state they’ve achieved sustainable weight loss. Plus, they notice healthier skin and hair along with decreased bloating.

Health Risks of the Paleo Diet

While some see this diet as a quick “weight loss diet,” it can come with side effects. Consumption of red meat has been linked with increased incidences of heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. The extent of the associations have found to be higher for processed red meat.

Paleo Approved Foods

  1. Meat & Poultry: Turkey, chicken, pork, steak, bacon, pork, ground beef, lamb, eggs
  2. Fish & Seafood: Salmon, tilapia, sea bass, shrimp, clams, lobster, scallops, mussels, mackerel, cod, trout, tuna, grouper
  3. Fruits: Apples, blackberries, papaya, lemons, strawberries, pineapple, lime, cantaloupe, tangerine, bananas, figs, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, guava
  4. Vegetables: Asparagus, avocado, artichoke hearts, brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach, celery, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, butternut squash, yams, sweet potato, beets, pumpkin, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, onion, bok choy, watercress, arugula, spinach
  5. Nuts: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nut, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews
  6. Healthy Fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil

Paleo Forbidden Foods 

  1. Processed Foods
  2. Processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
  3. Grains: Cereals, bread, crackers, oatmeal, wheat, rice, quinoa, pasta
  4. Dairy: Milk, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream
  5. Legumes: Black beans, fava beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, green beans, string beans, white beans, peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, peanuts, lentils, soybeans
  6. Vegetable Oils: Vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil
  7. Butters and Trans Fat

Sample Week Meal Plan  

Monday:

  1. Breakfast: Two eggs and three slices of bacon
  2. Lunch: Chicken breast, sweet potatoes, greens of your choice
  3. Dinner: Veggie beef stir fry

Tuesday:

  1. Breakfast: Eggs, Spinach and Pepper Omelet
  2. Lunch: Veggie beef stir fry
  3. Dinner: Hamburger (no bun or with lettuce bun) with vegetables.

Wednesday:

  1. Breakfast: Two eggs and a piece of fruit (whichever you prefer)
  2. Lunch: Turkey and veggie lettuce wrap
  3. Dinner: Veggie beef stir fry

Thursday:

  1. Breakfast: Two eggs and three slices of bacon
  2. Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil and a side of nuts
  3. Dinner: Steak with sweet potatoes

Friday:

  1. Breakfast: Eggs, kale, and mushroom omelet
  2. Lunch: Grilled chicken with a spinach salad
  3. Dinner: Chicken tacos (substitute tortilla for lettuce)

Saturday:

  1. Breakfast: 2 eggs and a side of fruit
  2. Lunch: Grilled chicken and sweet potatoes
  3. Dinner: Steak with vegetables

Sunday:

  1. Breakfast: Meat with vegetables (leftovers)
  2. Lunch: Turkey lettuce wrap
  3. Dinner: Baked salmon with grilled vegetables
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