Paleo veggies: The request could not be satisfied
The Importance of Vegetables ~ The Paleo Mom
Out of all the foods we could potentially eat, vegetables and fruit are some of the only items not mired in controversy: virtually every health authority agrees they should have a place at the table (literally!). In fact, the greatest common denominator among all diets that have a scientific support for their health-promoting claims is high-vegetable intake. This goes for the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet, plant-based diets, and indigenous diets from around the world. The body of evidence supporting high intakes of fresh, fibrous, low-energy-density plant foods is truly staggering.
Across the globe, “Blue Zone” areas (which boast a high concentration of centenarians, and are frequently studied for longevity clues) are characterized first and foremost by their emphasis on vegetables. The Okinawans consume a famously vegetable-rich diet that includes mineral-rich gourds, bittermelon, local herbs and greens, and sweet potatoes. In Costa Rica, residents of the Nicoya Peninsula region (another longevity hotspot) consume abundant garden vegetables, squash, and tropical fruit (especially mangoes, papaya, and oranges). People living on the Greek island of Ikaria eat diets rich in fresh, organic produce and herbs (often grown and picked from their family gardens). The veggie-abundant, high-micronutrient pattern continues for other centenarian-filled areas like Sardinia, Italy; Acciaroli, Italy; and Loma Linda, California. (Although Blue Zone diets are often described as plant-based, we should keep in mind that none of them are vegan, and only one community—the Seventh-Day Adventists of Loma Linda—is vegetarian.)
High vegetable intake is also a hallmark of hunter-gatherer diets. Even the Inuit go to great lengths to collect nutrient-dense plant foods that provide a wide spectrum of micronutrients, prebiotics, and probiotics not available from meat and fish (including chlorophyll-rich seaweeds, berries, mosses, wild leafy greens, tubers, and the partially digested stomach contents of animals).
Of course, the value of vegetables has been confirmed in more than just studies of homogenous populations (Blue Zone residents also partake in other health-promoting diet and lifestyle practices, which makes it hard to tease out the effect of vegetables alone). Study after study shows that higher vegetable consumption (at least five to eight servings a day) reduces the risk of disease, everything from diabetes to osteoporosis to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract to cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases to cancer. There are three likely reasons. First, vegetables tend to be rich in very important vitamins and minerals, including the most absorbable form of calcium (see Why Don’t I Need to Worry About Calcium?). Second, vegetables contain plenty of fiber to support a healthy diversity of gut microorganisms (see The Fiber Manifesto Part 1 of 5: What Is Fiber and Why Is it Good?). Third, vegetables are rich in thousands of different beneficial plant phytochemicals. Recall that phytochemicals abound in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other health-promoting properties (see The Amazing World of Plant Phytochemicals: Why a diet rich in veggies is so important!). All of these components add up to serious benefits for people who include abundant vegetables in their diets.
Benefits of High-Veggie Intake
When we look at the statistical relationships between vegetable consumption and mortality or disease risk, it becomes clear that the more vegetables we eat, the more protected we are. For every serving of vegetables or fruit we consume, we reduce the risk of all-cause mortality (a measurement of overall health and longevity) by 5 percent, with the greatest risk reduction seen with 8 servings per day and more. That means that eating eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day needs to be seen as a bare minimum for supporting health. It also means that the more we’re able to increase our vegetable intake, the more benefits we’ll see reflected in our health.
Even more exciting, those benefits extend to virtually every chronic disease afflicting modern society. For example, vegetables can be protective against all the following conditions:
Diabetes: Vegetables help reduce diabetes risk through a number of mechanisms, including supplying micronutrients necessary for blood sugar regulation, helping reduce the glycemic load of a meal, and containing fiber to slow down glucose absorption. Vegetables can also reduce risk factors for diabetes by decreasing the energy density of the diet and encouraging weight loss (abdominal fat, especially around the organs, is a major contributor to diabetes in people who are genetically susceptible). Not surprisingly, vegetable intake has frequently been associated with lower diabetes risk, with one meta-analysis finding that each 0.2 serving per day increase of green leafy vegetable intake was associated with a 13% lower risk of type 2 diabetes (yes, even one-fifth of a serving was able to lower diabetes risk that profoundly!).
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Cardiovascular disease: Vegetables can have an extremely protective effect on the cardiovascular system by promoting healthy blood pressure (due to their abundance of potassium, calcium, and magnesium), reducing oxidative stress (due to their antioxidants), encouraging healthy body fat levels (by reducing the energy density of the diet and supporting weight loss), reducing LDL levels (through the actions of fiber binding to cholesterol in the intestines), and containing many micronutrients needed for vascular health. One study found that among a cohort of over 13,000 women, those consuming the most vegetables had a 38% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to women eating the fewest vegetables.
Autoimmune disease: Vegetables supply key nutrients for immune function, while also providing multiple forms of fiber to boost gut health (and consequently protecting against leaky gut, a precursor for autoimmunity). (The one caveat here is nightshade vegetables, which, despite being nutrient-dense, also contain compounds that can aggravate autoimmunity, see The WHYs behind the Autoimmune Protocol: Nightshades)
Osteoporosis: Vegetables supply an assortment of nutrients needed for bone health, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, and vitamin K (berries have also been linked to higher bone density, potentially due to some of their phytochemicals and antioxidants). Among postmenopausal women, one study found that every 100g increase in vegetable and fruit intake was associated with a 0.0062 g/cm2 increase in bone mineral density at the whole body, 0.0098 g/cm2 increase at the lumbar spine, and 0.0060 increase at the total hip. In fact, additional studies show that high vegetable consumption is far better correlated with bone health than dairy consumption.
Cancer: The anti-cancer properties of many plant phytochemicals have been well documented. In addition, the chlorophyll found in plant foods can help mitigate the potentially carcinogenic properties of heme iron (the form of iron abundant in red meat), and certain fibers in vegetables and other plant foods appear protective against colorectal cancer. See The Link Between Meat and Cancer.
Obesity: Along with helping avoid micronutrient deficiencies associated with obesity, vegetables are the lowest energy-density foods in existence, adding bulk (fiber and water) to any meal and reducing the overall energy density of the meals we eat. This helps us naturally lower our caloric intake and makes it easier to reach a healthy body weight (especially because vegetables can also displace more obesogenic foods that combine concentrated fats, carbohydrates/sugar, and salt in ways that encourage overeating). See Healthy Weight Loss with Paleo, Part 1: Modifying Dietary Choices to Support Fat Metabolism.
Clearly, there are many, many important roles vegetables and fruit play in supporting our health. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and an astounding spectrum of phytonutrients are packed into these fabulous plant foods! Hence why they’re a major component of the Paleo diet, and should take up a large visual portion of each meal we eat. In fact, with two-thirds to three-quarters of every plate covered in vegetables and fruit, the Paleo template could be considered a plant-based diet. (See The Diet We’re Meant to Eat, Part 3: How Much Meat versus Veggies?, The Fiber Manifesto;Part 1 of 5: What Is Fiber and Why Is it Good? , and The Amazing World of Plant Phytochemicals: Why a diet rich in veggies is so important!).
Key Nutrients in Veggies
Vegetables and fruit supply key vitamins and minerals as well as phytochemicals and fiber (see The Fiber Manifesto;Part 1 of 5: What Is Fiber and Why Is it Good? and The Amazing World of Plant Phytochemicals: Why a diet rich in veggies is so important!). Although some of these nutrients are available in specific animal foods as well, plants tend to be the richest sources (see The Diet We’re Meant to Eat, Part 3: How Much Meat versus Veggies?). Let’s review some of the amazing nutrients vegetables and fruit have to offer us that are either limited in or that we just can’t get from animal foods.
Carotenoids (including vitamin A, lycopene, and beta-carotene): These are potent antioxidants and important for immune system function. Vegetables and fruits rich in carotenoids include: anything red, orange, or yellow (like carrots, beets, squash, sweet potato, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, and bell peppers) and also dark green (like kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli). Tomatoes are particularly rich in lycopene.
Diallyl Sulfide: A compound created and released by crushing garlic and other alliums (its precursor is allicin). It has potent antimicrobial effects (including acting against the stomach ulcer bacteria H. pylori), reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, and may be responsible for the protective effect that garlic has against colorectal cancer. Foods containing diallyl sulfide include garlic, onions, chives, shallots, scallions, and leeks.
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Dithiolethiones: A class of cancer-protective compounds that also induce detoxification. Sources of dithiolethiones include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, kale, and cabbage.
Polyphenols: A class of chemical compounds with antioxidant properties, helping prevent cell damage from free radicals and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Rich sources include berries, citrus fruits, brightly colored vegetables, dark chocolate, and plums. See Polyphenols: Magic Bullet or Health Hype?
Plant Sterols and Stanols: With a similar chemical structure to animal cholesterol, these compounds can block the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine and reduce levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood without altering levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Sources of plant sterols and stanols include nuts, legumes, and most fruits and vegetables.
Flavonoids: A class of more than 6,000 compounds with a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, protecting against smoking-related cancers, and reducing cardiovascular disease risk. They also have antibacterial properties. Foods rich in flavonoids include parsley, berries (especially blueberries), citrus fruits, and cocoa.
Isothiocyanates and Indoles: Sulfur-containing plant chemicals with strong anticancer properties due to their ability to help suppress tumor formation and eliminate carcinogens from the body. Foods with isothiocyanates and indoles include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, especially when eaten raw.
B Vitamins: These vitamins are important in cell metabolism (including cell growth and division), immune system function, and nervous system function. Vegetables and fruits rich in B vitamins include: orange and red vegetables (like carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets), grapefruit, peaches, oranges, watermelon, bananas, many green vegetables (like artichoke, asparagus, okra, broccoli, and green pepper), green leafy vegetables, and mushrooms, and cauliflower. Avocado is also very high in several B vitamins.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C serves as a potent antioxidant, is necessary for immune system function, and is also necessary for several enzymes to function in the body (like some enzymes that help make collagen, which is why vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy). Vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C include: oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, berries, papayas, lemons, pineapple, lime, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, green pepper, kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, squash, and sweet potato.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is critical for making some important proteins in our body that are involved in blood clotting and metabolism. Vitamin K is found in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens) and also dark green leafy vegetables.
Calcium: In addition to forming bone, calcium is essential to many processes within the cell, as well as neurotransmitter release and muscle contraction (including our hearts beating!). There’s some research to suggest that the calcium from vegetables is much more readily absorbed and used by our bodies than the calcium in dairy, likely one reason why high vegetable consumption protects against osteoporosis and hip fracture in the elderly. Vegetables and fruit rich in calcium include dark green vegetables, parsnips, papaya, kumquats, black currants, rhubarb, oranges, tangerines, figs, turnips, and butternut squash. Calcium is also found in nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds.
Chromium: Chromium is important for sugar and fat metabolism. Vegetable and fruit sources of chromium include: broccoli, tomatoes, apples, bananas, onions, garlic, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, parsnips, and green leafy vegetables.
Copper: Copper is involved in the absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron and the formation of red blood cells. Vegetables and fruit containing copper include: artichokes, avocados, pineapple, plums, dates, kiwis, litchis, cherries, parsnips, pumpkin, winter squash, and green leafy vegetables.
Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for cells to live. Over 300 different enzymes within our cells need magnesium to work, including every enzyme that uses or synthesizes ATP (the basic energy molecule in a cell) and including enzymes that synthesize DNA and RNA. Vegetables and fruit rich in magnesium include all green vegetables, berries, passion fruit, bananas, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and especially dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
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Manganese: Manganese is necessary for enzymes that work to protect the body from and repair damage caused by free radicals. Vegetables and fruits high in manganese include sweet potatoes, raspberries, pineapple, grapes, kiwis, figs, bananas, leeks, eggplant, beets, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens), and dark green leafy vegetables.
Potassium: Potassium is critical for the function of every cell; it is necessary for nerve function, cardiac function, and muscle contraction. Vegetables and fruit rich in potassium include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens), bananas, cantaloupe, avocados, guavas, kiwis, persimmons, apricots, many orange vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potato), eggplant, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Sulfur: Sulfur is widely used in biochemical processes, including being a component of all proteins and being important for the function of many enzymes and antioxidant molecules. Cruciferous vegetables and vegetables in the onion family are the best sources of sulfur.
Zinc: Zinc is important in nearly every function of the cell, from protein and carbohydrate metabolism to the immune system. Most green vegetables are a good source of zinc, as are pomegranates and avocados.
Fiber: A carbohydrate present in plant cell walls that our bodies can’t digest. It provides us a variety of benefits by:
- feeding beneficial probiotic bacteria in our digestive tracts
- binding with toxins, hormones, bile salts, cholesterol, and other substances in the gut to facilitate elimination
- favorably regulating some hormones (like suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin, which signals satiety to the brain) and some neurotransmitters (like increasing melatonin, which helps control sleep)
- adding bulk to the stool, which improves the quality of bowel movements
Diets rich in fiber reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and of many cancers (especially colorectal cancer, but also liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and others), and promote overall lower inflammation. In fact, the higher your intake of fiber, the lower your inflammation. If you have kidney disease or diabetes, a high-fiber diet reduces your risk of mortality. High fiber intake can even reduce your chances of dying from an infection. Fiber is broadly categorized as soluble or insoluble (that is, whether or not it dissolves in water), and both classes of fiber have different health benefits. In general, foods that are high in fiber include fruit (especially berries), vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables), legumes, and nuts and seeds.
Soluble fibers form a gel-like material in the gut and tends to slow the movement of material through the digestive system. Soluble fiber is typically readily fermented by the bacteria in the colon (although not all soluble fibers are fermentable), producing gases and physiologically active by-products (like short-chain fatty acids, which yield a variety of health benefits and vitamins). Soluble fiber also has cholesterol-lowering properties. Rich sources include apples, berries, pears, citrus fruits, and legumes.
Insoluble fiber tends to speed up the movement of material through the digestive system. Fermentable insoluble fibers also produce gases and physiologically active by-products (like short-chain fatty acids and vitamins). Unfermentable insoluble fiber increases stool bulk by absorbing water as it moves through the digestive tract, which is believed to be very beneficial in regulating bowel movements and managing constipation. Insoluble fiber reduces inflammation. It also binds to toxins and surplus hormones in the gastrointestinal tract, facilitating their elimination from the body. Foods high in insoluble fiber include leafy green vegetables, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), celery, and carrots.
Lignans: A type of polyphenol-rich fiber that can be metabolized by intestinal bacteria into enterodiol and enterolactone, which may play a role in preventing osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and hormone-associated cancers (breast, endometrial, ovarian, and prostate). Foods high in lignans include flaxseeds, sesame seeds, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables.
As we can see, some vegetables and fruits are little powerhouses of nutrition (like kale), but in order to make sure we get adequate amounts of all the necessary vitamins and minerals, eating a wide variety is key. Also keep in mind that often vitamins are linked to the color of a vegetable or fruit, so “eating from the rainbow” is a good way to ensure nutrient diversity .
Eating 8 or more servings of vegetables and fruit per day not only helps us meet important nutritional intake levels of vitamins, minerals and fiber (see How many carbs should you eat?), it’s also definitely an achievable goal. That means choosing 2 or 3 servings of vegetables at every meal (yes, even breakfast). How much is a serving? The standard vegetable and fruit serving size established by the World Health Organization in 2005, and used in more scientific studies evaluating benefits of high vegetable and fruit consumption, is defined as 80 grams raw, or just shy of 3 ounces.
This roughly translates to:
- 1 cup raw vegetables
- ½ cup cooked vegetables
- 2 cups raw leafy greens
- 1 medium fruit (about the size of baseball)
- ½ cup chopped fruit (or berries)
- ½ cup cooked fruit
If you’re concerned with getting enough veggies in, spending a few days measuring your vegetable servings to keep yourself on track is a great way to increase awareness of your vegetable intake and whether or not it meets your goals. The most intuitive way to get enough veggies into our diets is to structure each plate so that between 2/3 and 3/4 of it is covered with vegetables and fruit (see Carbs Vs. Protein Vs. Fat: Insight from Hunter-Gatherers and The Diet We’re Meant to Eat, Part 3: How Much Meat versus Veggies?) with the remaining 1/4 to 1/3 being high-quality meat or seafood.
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What To Eat and Avoid
The Paleolithic diet or “caveman diet” has been a popular approach to weight loss for years. Mainly because it works! And because unlike many fad diets that certainly “work” at targeting weight loss, the paleo diet also incorporates the basic principles of nutrition and is pretty sustainable long term.
Because of its simple principles and whole-food approach to eating, it is pretty easy to tell which foods fit into a paleo meal plan and which don’t. Below is our complete list of paleo-friendly foods to include in your diet as well as which foods to avoid.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo diet follows the basic principle of “eat foods a caveman would have access to.” Or better yet known as “eat whole foods.” This would include plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and produce, but exclude grains, dairy, and processed foods. This diet also emphasizes grass-fed, sustainably caught, and free-range options – similar to the type of protein options a caveman would have to hunt or gather on their own.
The theory behind this style of eating stems from the theory that our DNA make-up has changed very little since paleolithic times, yet our diets have changed drastically. And paleo advocates argue that we have fallen susceptible to numerous diet-related diseases because of our modern diet (1).
While the research behind this theory is far from conclusive, a well-executed paleo diet is one way to focus on nutrient-dense foods and might be a sustainable approach to weight loss and better health for some.
The Benefits Of A Paleo Diet
Perhaps one of the largest benefits of a paleo diet, from a nutritional standpoint, is that it is a balanced way of eating. This sets most participants up with a great framework for not only losing weight but actually eating a healthier diet.
Growing research continues to suggest that eating a diet consisting of mostly whole foods is associated with more weight loss (2,3,4). Not to mention that highly processed foods tend to be higher in added sugar, sodium, and trans fats, which research suggests may play a role in increased inflammation and actually counteract your weight loss efforts (5).
Is Paleo Gluten-Free?
Because a Paleo diet excludes all grains – including wheat, rye, and barley, a paleo diet is also naturally gluten-free. And for those looking to avoid gluten, paleo options are a safe bet!
How a Paleo Diet Helps With Weight Loss
An added benefit of the paleo diet is the simplicity of it. The rule to “eat foods a caveman would have access to” makes it very easy to shop, plan, and stick with the diet.
Even when eating out, or ordering food, it is still relatively easy to differentiate between processed foods and whole foods “a caveman would have access to. ”
Because of the simplicity of a paleo diet, it does not require participants to do too much thinking. While calories in versus calories out is the most basic rule to weight loss, a paleo diet takes a lot of thinking out of dieting. As long as you are eating whole, nutritious foods, you will probably find that weight loss will follow naturally—mainly because this style of eating cuts calories automatically.
And while this certainly is not a “one size fits all” approach to dieting, most people will find that if they are filling their body with natural, whole, nutrient-dense foods, it will have a substantial impact on your overall weight and body composition as opposed to processed foods.
One study even suggested that your body may burn twice as many calories digesting less processed foods (2).
A Comprehensive Paleo Diet Food List
Paleo foods include plenty of plant-based fats, grass-fed and sustainably caught proteins, and nearly all fruits and vegetables. Here are all of the foods considered to be “paleo.”
Protein is a staple of the caveman diet- specifically, options that are grass-fed, sustainably caught, or organic, as these options are often from animals raised in environments that encourage natural behavior. And because our ancestors didn’t just live off chicken and beef, they hunted a wide variety of meat, the more variety you can add to your proteins, the better!
The best paleo proteins include:
- Wild Boar
Sustainably Caught Seafood
Because a Paleo diet eliminates all grains, this diet tends to be naturally low in carbohydrates. But if you are looking to add some more carbs to your meal plan, here are the best starchy foods that are also paleo:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
Many plant-based fats – like nuts and seeds, as well as less processed oils, fit into a paleo diet. However, it is important to note that fats are also an easy source of calories and if you are looking to lose weight on a paleo diet, you’ll want to limit your portion sizes for these foods:
Nuts and Seeds
- Almond Butter (no added sugar)
- Cashew Butter (no added sugar)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Oils and Butters
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Butter
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Shredded Coconut
Just about any fruit or dried fruit (as long as no sugar is added) can fit into your paleo meal plan. Look for more low carb options like these:
Just like fruit, pretty much all vegetables work on a paleo diet. And non-starchy veggies like the following tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients, meaning your should aim to get a good amount of the following in your diet:
- Broccoli Rabe
- Bok Choy
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
- White Mushrooms
- Portobello Mushroom
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bell Peppers
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Green Beans (cooked only)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Oyster Mushrooms
While the majority of added sugar is not paleo-friendly, some natural sweeteners can be used in moderation on this diet:
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
- Date Paste
Look for simple drink options, made without artificial sweetener or too much added sugar, like the following:
- Coffee (No cream or sugar)
- Unsweetened Teas
- Coconut water
- Bone broth
- Sparkling Water (no added sugar or artificial sweetener)
Non-Paleo Foods To Avoid
While a paleo diet has a general “whole food” approach to eating, there are still many traditional health foods that are not considered paleo – like dairy, legumes, and whole grains, because they were not commonly consumed by our ancestors.
A more controversial argument for why legumes and common grains are avoided is because of their high phytic acid content, which is thought to reduce the absorption of certain nutrients like iron zinc, and calcium (6). However, phytic acid is also found in many paleo-approved foods (like almonds and hazelnuts) and is associated with some health benefits – like protective benefits against kidney stones, antioxidant properties, and a suggested link to lower risk for colon cancer (7,8,9). Bottom line, there really isn’t any evidence-based reason to avoid these foods because of phytic acid.
And as for dairy, the research behind whether or not dairy is bad for you isn’t very conclusive either.
Some people have digestive issues when eating beans, legumes, grains, and dairy, for a variety of health reasons. And if any of these foods don’t work with your body, this is probably the best excuse to avoid them.
Because of the debate around these foods, there is a lot of confusion, and some people will choose a more modified paleo diet that still has some dairy or legumes included. But a true paleo diet does not include any of the following:
Beans and Legumes
- Green Peas
- Snow Peas
- Soy Beans
- Peanut Butter
- Cows Milk
- Goats Milk
- Sheep’s Milk
- Cottage Cheese
- Ice cream
- Ancient Grains
- Cereal Grains
Processed Cooking Oils
- Vegetable Oil
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Palm Oil
Other Processed Foods and Ingredients
- Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, xylitol, erythritol
- Refined Sugars: Brown sugar, table sugar, agave, corn syrup
- Processed Meats: hot dogs, spam
- Packaged Foods and Snacks
- Fruit Juices
Tips For Shopping Paleo
If you are new to eating paleo, this may seem like a big change to your life. Cutting out grains, processed foods, dairy, and a load of other relatively common items may seem overwhelming.
Here are some tips we have to simplify the process and put your worries at ease.
1) Plan Your Meals
If you are struggling with where to begin, planning out meals that you enjoy and then figuring out a way to make that meal paleo will be a good place to start. Instead of immediately switching to a diet full of chicken and broccoli, find ways to get creative with the process so that you can cook the food you genuinely enjoy.
Yes, even paleo food can be delicious; it just takes a little bit of creativity and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas for creative paleo meals.
2) Make a List
Once you have decided what meals you want to make for the week, create a list of all of the ingredients you need to make that food. As simple as this sounds, it will make it much easier for you to stick to a set plan and not get too deep into the aisles of a grocery store.
Having something as simple as a grocery list will keep you on track and ensure you get exactly what you came for. It will also help familiarize you with where to find these paleo-friendly foods in your local store.
3) Shop Outside The Aisles
If all else fails, this simple rule of thumb may make it really easy to shop for paleo foods. The layout of most grocery stores is quite simple: in the inner aisles, you will typically find packaged, processed foods. Things like bread, pasta, cereal, flour, sugar, etc. For the most part, many of the foods stocked in the inner aisles of a grocery store will probably be “non-paleo approved items.”
Every now and then you may find some “paleo” food items in the inner aisles (a lot of paleo-approved flours may be in the inner aisles of a grocery store), but that is an exception, not the rule.
Typically, if you are shopping the outer aisles of a grocery store there will be produce, meat, poultry, eggs, and bulk food section. All of these areas tend to provide you with the foundation of a paleo diet, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats.
If you find yourself lacking a clear direction when grocery shopping, using this simple rule should help you create a clear path and help you avoid the variety of temptations within the aisles.
Paleo Meal Delivery
If you are new to a paleo diet, it may be in your best interest to start out with a structured meal delivery service. Starting a new diet can be challenging, especially when you really don’t know where to begin and aren’t ready to spend hours researching ways to make creative paleo meals.
Utilizing a meal delivery service like Trifecta, that can send you fresh, ready-to-eat creative paleo meals will help you get started on your new lifestyle!
Learn more about the paleo meals Trifecta has to offer here:
Foods You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet
Having a clear understanding of the foods you can eat while eating Paleo will help you design your daily meal plan. Always remember to keep things simple when preparing a meal. The more complicated it is, the less Paleo it’s likely to be. By keeping it simple you keep it clean and free of additives and chemicals that many meals in our society are full of. With that in mind, here is a list of foods you can enjoy. Use it as a guide, realizing that no list of Paleo foods is entirely complete.
Meat and Fish
Paleolithic cavemen were meat eaters, that we do know. To replicate the time period as much as you can you should opt for organic meats whenever possible, or wild game.
Beef – Beef is representative of a meat that is readily available today, but might have been a treat for early man. There were likely many cattle-like species back in those times, many of which aren’t around today, and the domestication of cows would coincide with the official end of the Paleolithic era and the move into agriculture.
Buffalo/Bison – Here’s another protein-packed edible that is more in tune with what a caveman might have eaten. This is often brought up as a healthier alternative to beef due to its leaner make-up. Since the buffalo industry is not as widespread as the cattle industry it also means there’s less chance at hormones and other substances being in the meat.
Chicken – You can enjoy all parts of the chicken including the breast, thigh, legs, and wings. Chicken wings are a go, which means you don’t have to pass on them when at a sports bar. Chicken breast makes a great lean protein and often serves as a staple food for Paleo followers.
Eggs – You can enjoy all types of eggs on the Paleo diet, as it represents a source of food that Stone Age man would have capitalized on if they came upon a nest. When you eat an egg you’re essentially eating an entire animal in one go. Opt for the cage-free and organic variety, it may cost a bit more but it’s definitely a more Paleo way to go.
Lamb – Another meat source you can have while on Paleo is lamb. This is a regular meat option in places like Australia, but it’s more of a once in awhile thing for Americans. It’s a bit fattier than other meats, but still considered Paleo-friendly. Try it in shank or chop form, as meat on the bone is just a bit more Stone Age.
Pork – It would have been a wild boar back in the day, but pig meat is what’s readily available in our society today. On the docket is all types of pork including bacon, ham, pork chops, and more. Be sure to opt for organic cuts or pork anytime you can.
Turkey – Turkey is another poultry option that you can take part in, which makes it nice since you can get it at many supermarkets and grocery stores. Opt for roasted turkey breast over cold cuts, because there’s nothing Paleolithic about lunch meats filled with nitrates and added sodium.
Wild Game – Wild game of all types is the closest thing you can get to eating like a caveman in the modern era. This is exactly the type of food they would have eaten, and it’s going to be free of all of the chemicals and antibiotics, as well as avoiding being fed all the grains that are given to today’s domesticated livestock.
Bass – Fishing was a large part of the success of Paleolithic man, and what helped them win out over Neanderthals. Bass is good source of protein, but also has saturated fat, so you’ll want to watch how much of it you eat. It’s also a good source of omega-3s.
Clams – Clams would have represented a food source that didn’t fight back, as long as you knew where to find them and how to get them. Paleolithic man was known for coming up with new ways to harvest ocean animals, so clams or something like them would have been a regular protein boost.
Halibut – Halibut consistently ranks as one of the healthiest fish you can eat, and it makes a great addition to the Paleo diet. This is because it is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3s. Eating Paleo helps to make sure that you get more omega-3s than omega-6s.
Lobster – This is a rather gourmet shellfish to have, and can be saved for special occasions, or just whenever depending on what your budget allows. Paleo style is eating just one meat at meal, so surf and turf isn’t a good option, but you can enjoy lobster dipped in liquified grass fed ghee.
Mackerel – Mackerel is a great fish to choose because it has benefits like helping with heart disease, lowering your cholesterol, fighting and preventing cancer, and boosting your immune system. It’s a white fish that can be used in plenty of recipes to make a healthy main dish for your new lifestyle.
Salmon – This is a great fish option that should make it onto your plate regularly. A great source of quality protein as well as respectable amounts of omega-3s make this a fish you can return to again and again. Opt for wild Alaskan salmon, it’s worth the extra cost to be as close to Stone Age salmon as possible.
Sardines – Sardines are an excellent source of protein, and can also contribute to your heart and bone health. It is also a good source of Vitamin D, a vitamin that can be tricky to keep topped up on, but that is important for your overall health and well-being.
Shrimp – Shrimp make a good seafood to have on-hand in your freezer pretty much at all times. This is because they’re easy to cook up and are also able to be eaten without cooking. Putting them on the grill is the Paleo-est way to cook them and they always taste great.
Swordfish – This is one fish that doesn’t typically make the menu on a regular basis, but it may be one that you want to start eating more of. Over half of swordfish is pure protein, which will help you feel full long after the meal is over. This is one fish that prehistoric man would have wrestled with, but you can simply buy it from the seafood section.
Tilapia – Tilapia enjoyed a surge in popularity a few years back and now finds its way onto many menus at restaurants across the country. This makes it a good dining out choice when you want to be social but don’t want to sacrifice your new way of eating. It has a delicate and yummy flavor while being high in protein and omega-3s.
Trout – Another great source of omega-3s and proteins. In this instance you might not want to go with wild caught trout because they may have higher levels of mercury and other contaminants. Buying farmed trout may not be very Paleo but may be the safer way to go.
Tuna – Keeping packs of albacore tuna handy is a good way to make sure that you always have a protein source available. It’s so easy to eat since it doesn’t require cooking, and it’s a great lean source of protein that plays well with veggies. You can also opt for tuna steaks if you want to go the fancy route.
To be sure, if the day’s hunt didn’t go as planned, Paleolithic man would need to fall back on the gathering skills of the rest of the tribe which would largely be wild-growing veggies.
Artichoke – Artichokes are a tasty addition to any salad and make a great side as well. For extra flavor and to make any meal more filling try Roman artichokes. These are larger sized artichokes that you can use as the central part of your meal if you need to.
Asparagus – Asparagus pairs well with fish, and since fish features so prominently in the Paleo diet plan you should add a bundle of it to your shopping cart every time you’re at the grocery store. It can be eaten raw and tastes delicious this way. They are also easily steamed and taste great off the grill.
Beets – Beets are a superfood that you’re probably not getting enough of. They contain specific flavonoids that you just won’t find in too many other vegetables. You can easily imagine Paleolithic gatherers finding these growing wild and pulling them out of the ground. Try grilling fresh beets. Yum!
Broccoli – Surely you know that broccoli is good for you, and on the Paleo diet it’s important to get good sources of fiber to help keeping things moving digestively. Balancing out a portion of meat with a good helping of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables means you’re getting a good nutritional mix.
Brussels Sprouts – While perhaps not the best tasting food, they are definitely an item that you’ll want to add to your plate again and again. One way to cook these tiny guys is to skewer them and pop them on the grill. Of course you can also steam them but this isn’t the most flavorful way to go.
Cabbage – Cabbage has so many benefits to it that it regularly makes the list of healthiest foods to eat. These include anti-cancer benefits as well as helping with heart health. It also contains fiber which you’ll want to be sure you’re getting enough of. One trick to cooking cabbage is to shred it or otherwise cut it into smaller bits to promote faster cooking times.
Carrots – Carrots are a nice food to keep around because they come in many forms, and are easy to take with you while on the go. Drop a bag of baby carrots into your cart on your next shopping run and you’ll see that they make a cool crisp snack you can enjoy anywhere and they won’t weigh you down.
Cauliflower – Often paired with broccoli, cauliflower is a Paleo-friendly food you’ll want to get familiar with if you currently don’t eat it too often. It’s so versatile that it’s often used in recipes in place of things like couscous and stuffing. This makes it a handy veggie to try to replicate some of your favorites that you can no longer have.
Celery – If you don’t like the stringy nature of celery, consider adding it to a Paleo soup, or dropping it in the blender for a Paleo green smoothie. It’s packed with hydration because of all the water it contains, as well as a good amount of phytonutrients your body needs.
Collard Greens – You never have to think twice about consuming leafy greens while on Paleo. These have a robust flavor and if you’ve never had them before you’re not alone. Often overshadowed by spinach and kale this is one green you may have been missing out on.
Cucumber – Cucumbers are a very healthy choice no matter which diet plan you’re following, but you should give them extra attention when eating a Paleo meal plan. They are packed with water so they can help your body stay hydrated, and keep you alert and focused. Plus they can be eaten solo or used in a recipe or on a salad.
Dandelion – You might look at this as just a flower, but it’s a highly edible flower and one that has many health benefits. Dandelion extract is also one supplement you may want to look into for the same caliber of benefits. These go great on top of salads, both as decoration and added nutrients.
Eggplant – Eggplant has sort of a prehistoric feel to it, all purply and bulbous, and it’s easy to imagine early man finding a vegetable similar to eggplant while out on their gathering missions. It cooks up wonderfully and tastes great with a wide assortment of meats.
Endive – Adding endive to your salad will add to its flavor profile, and offer additional nutrients that other lettuces don’t have. It also has a nice bright color, so it can add to the visual appeal as well. It’s important to get enough veggies like this to balance out all the meat you’ll be consuming.
Green Onions – Green onions are often used as a garnish, and it’s one that you don’t have to go without while eating a Paleo diet. They not only add that little something, they also pack their fair share of flavor, so it’s nice to enjoy them in a myriad of recipes.
Kale – Kale gives spinach a run for its money in the nutrition department, and it’s a heavier and bulkier green that you should add to your meals more often. It contains a ton of phytonutrients giving you anti-cancer defenses as well as protecting against free radical damage.
Mushrooms – You don’t have to be picky with the type of mushrooms you eat, as they’re all considered Paleo friendly. These must have been some of the easiest vegetables for pre-modern man to eat, since they just had to find them and pick them from the ground, just making sure not to eat the poisonous ones.
Mustard Greens – Add mustard greens to any salad and it will immediately look fancier and taste better. They have a peppery taste that many enjoy, and that add something new to the palate. It also has its own share of nutritional goodness, so you’ll also be enhancing the amount of vitamins and minerals you’ll be getting. Bonus!
Onions – Onions make a great veggie for Paleo followers because they’re easy to come buy, cheap, and can be eaten raw as a garnish or sauted to a golden brown and used to enhance the flavor of beef, chicken, and pork.
Parsley – Even though this is often used as a garnish, it’s actually quite a nutritious food with cleansing properties. You can dice it up and use it to top just about any meat item, and it especially goes great with fish and chicken. Add it to a green smoothie with other Paleo veggies for a crisp flavor.
Parsnip – These look like more triangular and lighter colored carrots, and there is a virtual plethora of ways you can cook it. For a fast and easy side, try slicing them up into sticks and steaming them in the microwave. You can also cut them and have and lay them on the grill next to the meat.
Peppers – Eat any of the pepper family that you want, including any shade of the bell peppers, as well as the spicier jalapenos and habaneros. Peppers are great to use for added color to any dish, and can crank the heat up so Mother Nature can remind you who’s boss.
Pumpkin – Pumpkin is filling and nutritious and needs to become a bigger part of your diet than the holiday pumpkin pie and Halloween carvings. The good part about them is that you can use the seeds from them as well (see below). Think pumpkin soup alongside a meat dish as a nice rounded meal.
Radish – It’s time to upgrade radish from salad garnish to actual vegetable you can enjoy as a side dish next to your meat portion. They contain a unique mix of vitamins and minerals and have been shown to help fight off cancer as well as help with some respiratory conditions.
Rhubarb – Rhubarb looks like celery from a parallel universe because of its reddish, purplish hue. It is often used in recipes as a fruit, but it’s classified as a vegetable. Either way you’re clear to use it on the Paleo diet, and enjoy the benefits it provides.
Romaine Lettuce – Here’s a nice leafy green to have on hand so you can whip yourself up a Salmon Ceasar Salad or a Chicken Caesar Salad. You could even make a traditional Caesar using anchovies as your protein, and benefiting from the omega-3s it contains. No matter which way you go Romaine tastes great and is available everywhere.
Rutabaga – Rutabaga might not be a vegetable that makes it into your regular line-up, but when eating Paleo it’s best to keep an open mind. These have lots of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and Magnesium so they make a great addition to your day for extra energy.
Seaweed – It’s not easy to incorporate kelp into the modern American diet, but it’s something that would have helped Stone Age man survive, especially if they were living near the ocean, as many early tribes did. You don’t need to go out of your way to start eating it if you can’t find it locally, but if it’s available it’s got plenty of aquatic minerals and vitamins not found in land plants.
Spinach – This is a winner no matter how you eat it, and it deserves a spot on your plate whenever you can fit it in. It’s great as a base for a salad, and is the cornerstone to green smoothies, which are helpful on the Paleo diet for times when you just don’t want to chew up a lot of greens.
Squash – Squash is such a versatile and tasty veggie that you’ll have no trouble finding opportunities to eat it. It’s also a vegetable that grows well on its own in the wild so it was surely something primitive man would have capitalized on.
Swiss Chard – Here’s another excellent leafy green that will give your taste buds a kick and will accentuate any salad. It mixes great with spinach and kale and really rounds out the flavors. It can be a bit bitter so you probably won’t want to construct a salad with only this as your green.
Tomato – While technically a fruit this often gets counted as a vegetable, and it’s digested by the body in a way that makes it so you can eat tomatoes without the same concern as fruit on the Paleo diet. This gives the green light to tomato sauces, but you’ll need to find Paleo friendly noodles if you want to make spaghetti.
Turnips – You can eat all parts of the turnip, both the greens as well as the bulbous bottom. It’s easy to cook and can fast become one of your favorite sides if you learn to prepare it right. It can be a welcome change from the same old vegetables you have each day, and it’s good to broaden your horizons while eating Paleo.
Watercress – Another fantastic way to accent a salad is to add watercress to it. You may end up liking this for its somewhat buttery taste, and it can quickly find its way into your shopping cart once you spot it in the produce section. It’s good to have a list of greens and pile them on since you’ll be eating so much meat.
Zucchini – One of the yummier veggies on the Paleo list of foods is zucchini. It’s often used as a side dish, and many vegetarian recipes use it as part of a main dish. You likely won’t be skipping on the meat, so use this as a great accompaniment to your protein-packed main dish.
Most of your carbs on the Paleo Diet will come from fruits. While the fruits found tens of thousands of years ago were likely far different in nature than what you find on today’s store shelves, here are some Paleo-approved fruits you can eat in moderation.
Apple – Apples are traced back through our history as a fruit that has always done us well. It doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to think that early man would have picked and enjoyed apples whenever they came upon a tree. Seek these out for their broad nutritional profile.
Apricot – Apricots are a fruit that often gets lost in the popularity contest and you may have to seek them out in the produce department. But it’s worth the extra effort because they have a taste that no other fruit has, and they also contain a good amount of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.
Avocado – This is a wonderful fruit to add to just about any meal, and in addition to providing you with more potassium than a banana, it also contains plenty of healthy fats that are a big part of the Paleo plan. It makes a great snack and can help you go from hungry to satisfied all on its own.
Banana – Bananas are one fruit that’s often associated with monkeys and other primates, so it is only assumed that at some stage in our evolution they were a handy go-to fruit that provided energy with potassium and other vitamins and minerals. This makes a great on the go snack to hold you over between meals.
Blackberries – Blackberries are perhaps the closest thing to wild berries that you’ll find in supermarkets, as they tend to be able to grow on their own more without the need to be cultivated. They pack some serious antioxidants and are worth buying next time you’re out.
Blueberries – One of the more mainstream berries, blueberries are generally easy to find in grocery stores year round. You’ll be passing on things like pancakes and muffins, but you can keep it simple by popping these delectable berries as a snack or as a post-meal dessert.
Boysenberries – You’ll get antioxidants from boysenberries, the same way you will from other berries like blueberries, but they’ll provide a different taste that some prefer. Use them as part of a power-packed berry mix or eat them solo for a treat.
Cantaloupe – Cantaloupe, referred to as rock melon in some parts of the world, is a wonderful choice that most surely would have been eaten by man throughout the ages. They are packed full of both Vitamin A and Vitamin C and can be eaten as a sweet dessert when you need it.
Cherimoya – This is an important fruit to add to your Paleo eating. It’s high in fiber, has a bit of protein, and has a good amount of Vitamin C. Another standout is its levels of Vitamin B6, which will supply you with plenty of energy to propel you through your day.
Cherries – Whether you get fresh cherries or go with dried cherries you can’t beat this as a snack option. Cherries and other easily picked fruit would have been a big part of Stone Age eating. These fruits would have provided nourishment when other food became scarce, and would have provided energy to go out and kill some animals.
Cranberries – These tart berries are usually consumed in juice form, but you’ll want to avoid juice while on Paleo. You can try eating a handful of them before a workout, or between meals. They’re a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.
Figs – If your only frame of reference for figs is Fig Newtons you’ll have to branch out a bit, as those aren’t Paleo-approved. Opt instead for real figs, either dried which are more commonly available, or fresh, which you may only find at certain times of the year.
Grapefruit – Here’s a healthy fruit option that finds its way on many lists of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s often brought up as a weight loss food as well, and it fits nicely into the Paleo eating method. It’s filling and low in sugar with plenty of Vitamin C.
Grapes – Grapes are one of the best fruits to eat as a snack because they’re portable and poppable. You can opt for any kind of grapes you want, but be sure not to overdo it because they are somewhat high in sugar so a large portion might spike your blood sugar levels.
Guava – The Vitamin C levels for guava are off the charts, and they also score well in the fiber department. It’s important to get antioxidants into your system, and to keep the fiber coming because of all the meat that you’ll be consuming and guava can help with both of those goals.
Honeydew – Melons were surely enjoyed back in the prehistoric era and are still enjoyed in modern society. Nutritionally speaking you’re better off eating cantaloupe, but these two melons are often seen in a melon salad, and it’s good to switch things up and not always eat the same thing.
Kiwi – Another source of Vitamin C that comes in a handy and portable size. Kiwi can be eaten on its own as a snack to get you to your next meal, and also works well in a smoothie. You can opt for the common green variety or look for the gold kiwi as well.
Lemon – Lemons aren’t exactly a fruit that you’ll just peel and eat, but you can enjoy lemon slices in water, or lemon juice sprinkled on the meats you’ll be eating. It adds flavor to fish, which you’ll be eating a lot of, and adds Vitamin C to whatever you use it on.
Lime – Limes, like lemons, aren’t likely to be a fruit that you dive into, but they make great accentuations to foods and drinks so that you can have a citrusy taste. Also big on Vitamin C and low and sugar so you can use them without worrying too much about their sugar content.
Lychee – These are one exotic fruit that are popular in some parts of the world than others, and one that you simply have to try if you haven’t yet. They’re absolutely delicious and they’ll grow on their own with little assistance if they’re allowed to, making them a great untampered with source of nutrients.
Mango – An exotic choice for fruit is mango, but you can typically find them in the frozen fruits section. It contains Vitamin C and Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin B6 for energy. It can be used as a dessert while eating Paleo, since most conventional desserts will be off limits.
Orange – Known for their high levels of Vitamin C oranges are a great way to top up on key vitamins while following a Paleo lifestyle. Oranges come in handy because they travel well and if you go navel they’re easy to peel and eat. Avoid the ubiquitous orange juice and eat these fresh for best results.
Papaya – Papaya is a great source for antioxidants and can wake up your taste buds if they’ve gotten used to the same old fruit. They are often found in fruit salads, but you can enjoy these on their own, or toss some into a smoothie for a midday pick-me-up.
Passion Fruit – Passion fruit provides a broad mix of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C to boost your immune system, and Iron to meet your daily needs. The nice part about having high levels of Vitamin C and Iron in the same fruit is that the Vitamin C will help your body absorb the Iron.
Peaches – Peaches and their nectarine cousins are two fruits you can enjoy while following the Paleo Diet. They are pretty interchangeable in recipes, and if you’re eating them individually the only major difference is that peaches have fuzz on the outside while nectarines are smooth. The taste is very similar and they’re even in the same family from a scientific standpoint.
Pears – The fiber content in pears is enough to make sure that you reach for these on a regular basis while eating Paleo. They have a different makeup than other fruits, with a grainy consistency, and this is what works its way through your body, helping to keep your insides clean.
Persimmon – You’ll be getting a good dose of Vitamin C when you eat persimmon, but more importantly you’ll be adding another fruit to your rotation. It’s important to have a wide range of foods, as early man would not have been picky about the foods he ate.
Pineapple – This is one delicious fruit you can eat while on Paleo, but be careful with it because it’s easy to over consume it and end up with too much sugar. It does make a great dessert option since you won’t be able to eat things like ice cream or cake.
Plums – Plums provide a good amount of Vitamin C and are easy enough to take with you wherever you go and enjoy when you want it. One tip is to use fruit to help provide you with energy when you’re immersed in this 21st century lifestyle and your body could use all the help it can get.
Pomegranate – You may have noticed a surge in popularity of pomegranate in recent years. It’s been showing up in more and more beverages because of its health benefits. You’ll want to avoid the juice and go right for the fruit on this one.
Raspberries – Raspberries go really well with other berries on this Paleo food list, or they can be eaten on their own for a tart but yummy treat. Berries of all types have that Stone Age feel to them and you can imagine the excitement of prehistoric man when they found them growing in the wild – and realized they weren’t poisonous.
Star Fruit – It’s easy to see where this fruit got its name, and if you’re not used to eating them you may want to start buying more. They have a unique taste all their own, and provide a respectable amount of Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals while being low in sugar.
Strawberries – Strawberries are a nice fruit to have while on Paleo because they’re so common you can easily buy them all year and not worry about paying too much for them. One great way to get strawberries is at a farmer’s market, because you’re buying locally and can get them as fresh as possible.
Tangerine – Tangerines provide more of a sweet taste than an orange, and still clock in on the Vitamin C-o-meter. They manage to do this without having a lot of sugar, but you’ll still want to keep an eye on your intake of fruit to make sure that you’re not getting too much.
Watermelon – A summertime favorite, watermelon is actually a superfood that provides you with plenty of antioxidants to help with free radical damage. Since you’ll be eating a lot of meat on this diet plan you’ll need to account for that by consuming enough vegetables for fiber and phytonutrients, and fruits like watermelon for their antioxidant value.
Fats, Nuts, and Seeds
One great aspect of the Paleo Diet is that healthy fats get their fair share of attention. Make sure that you’re incorporating these oils and nuts into your daily cooking and eating so that your body can benefit from their nutritional value.
Avocado Oil – Like the name suggests this is an oil pressed from an avocado. It’s been credited with helping blood cholesterol levels, preventing cancer, and providing benefits to both your hair and skin. Use it for cooking, or as a salad dressing and you can’t go wrong.
Butter – You’ll find it easier to cook and eat Paleo now that you see that butter is allowed. Go with the most natural butter you can, opting for grass-fed butter made from cows that were fed grass instead of grain. Also consider using ghee which cuts off the impurities and leaves behind just the fat.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil, as you may have guessed, comes from coconuts and can be used in cooking as well as topically around the body for a host of different conditions. Make sure you go as premium as you can on this one, opting for organic instead of conventional coconut oil.
Macadamia Nut Oil – This comes from macadamia nuts which as you’ll see below are a Paleo-approved nut. The benefits of the oil are that it contains plenty of monounsaturated fat, which is the good fat that you should be getting more of if you want to feel good between meals and lose fat from your body.
Olive Oil – This is a great oil choice because it’s readily available and relatively cheap compared to some of the other options for oils. Go with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you’ll be doing yourself a big favor as this consistently ranks as one of the best oils, both to cook with and to eat on salads.
Almonds – Eat a handful of almonds and you’ll feel great for hours afterward. That’s what makes them such a powerful addition to your Paleo eating plan. They provide nourishment and sustenance and can also give you energy. They also help you build muscle so you can really get that caveman physique.
Cashews – When looking for cashews in the store, avoid the ones that come in a can by companies like Planters and opt instead for raw cashews. These are going to be more akin to the type of nuts found by our ancestors, and it will help you avoid added salt and unhealthy fats used in the roasting process.
Hazelnuts – While they do have some saturated fat, a large majority of hazelnuts is healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats. They also contain a good amount of protein, so they make a filling snack to get you through to your next full meal.
Macadamia Nuts – You don’t need to follow conventional wisdom with macadamia nuts because while they do contain a good deal of fat, most of it comes from healthy fats that you should be eating. Avoid chocolate covered macadamias, or cookies that have them in it, and you’ll be fine.
Pecans – If the only pecans you eat are in pecan pie, it’s time to branch out and start enjoying them on their own. You can find raw pecans in the nut section of Whole Foods or health food stores. You want to avoid pecans that have been heavily processed because they typically get added sugar, salt, and oil.
Pine Nuts – Pine nuts contain plenty of minerals in them that your body needs like magnesium and iron. You can have these as a snack, but they also make a great salad topper and can be used as a garnish sprinkled on top of meats.
Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkins also make the list of Paleo foods, and their seeds are especially interesting because they’re emerging as one of the healthiest seeds you can eat. They are credited with helping you sleep, helping to promote heart health, and helping to stabilize blood glucose levels to help maintain a healthy weight.
Sunflower Seeds – The main benefit you’re getting from sunflower seeds is their high levels of Vitamin E. This is a vitamin that you might not get enough of when eating the Paleo way, so it’s important to find sources of it that you can easily eat and then not have to worry about your vitamin levels.
Walnuts – Walnuts are big on magnesium, fiber, iron, and Vitamin B6 so you’re simply going to feel better after eating them. The B6 is known for helping with that energized feeling, and your body needs those important minerals in order to be healthy and fit.
Easy Roasted Vegetables Recipe – Primavera Kitchen
Home » Side dishes » Easy Roasted Vegetables Recipe
Roasted vegetables are an easy and delicious side dish. The full flavor makes them a family favorite, and it’s a great way to get a large variety of veggies into your diet. It’s paleo, whole30, low-carb and gluten-free.
Roasted vegetables should be charred on the outside with crispy edges but have a tender inside. This caramelizes the sugars on the outside of the vegetables and produces the best flavor. It’s so delicious and you’re never going to want to make them any other way after this, like my Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower!
Once you understand the technique, you won’t even need a recipe anymore. Pop some fresh veggies in the oven to roast while you cook your pork chops, pot roast/Instant Pot Pot Roast, lamb chops, garlic butter steak bites or lemon chicken, and you will have a delicious side dish to accompany any meal. Unlike veggies that are steamed just a little too long, roasted vegetables will never be limp and soggy. And you can use this method with any vegetables in your crisper drawer!
Are roasted vegetables healthy?
Just about any way you eat vegetables is a good idea. Roasting is no exception.
When you cook any veggie, it starts to lose some of its nutritional value. Vitamins like B and C start to deteriorate with heat. Other nutrients are easier to absorb after being cooked.
What temperature is best for roasting veggies?
You want to roast veggies at a high temperature. Somewhere between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit is best. You can use this high heat for any vegetables, even frozen veggies!
To check the roasted vegetables for doneness, prick them with a fork. They should be tender enough to pierce easily with a fork; another sign that they are starting to char at the edges. This will take at least 15 minutes, depending on the type of veggies you are cooking.
What is the best oil for roasting vegetables?
Find a balance for the amount of oil to use. You want the veggies to be covered but you don’t need so much you end up with puddles in the pan. The oil helps the roasted vegetables cook evenly while also increasing the flavor. So pick an oil that tastes good too! Try these healthy, high smoke point oils for your veggies:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
Don’t be afraid to use your hands to spread the oil onto all the vegetables.
How do you season roasted vegetables?
The oil does a lot of the work in this recipe. It ensures that the vegetables end up with crisp golden edges. You also want to use salt and pepper each time to enhance the flavor.
But you may want some other seasoning on the roasted vegetables as well. Mix and match any of these flavors to find your favorite.
- Italian seasoning
- Balsamic vinegar
Tips for Roasting Vegetables
- Use a high heat and a high smoke point cooking oil.
- Spread veggies evenly on the pan and try not to overcrowd.
- Season well but don’t over do it.
- Toss halfway through cooking time.
More Roasted Vegetables Recipes to Try:
- 2 cups butternut squash – diced
- 2 cups radishes – cut them into quarters
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts – sliced and quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 5 slices cooked bacon – nitrate and sugar free for Whole30 (ButcherBox has great quality bacon)
- 1 red bell pepper – cut into thick 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion – cut into thick 1-inch pieces
- fresh green onions – to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place butternut squash, radishes and Brussels sprouts on the prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper then toss to coat.
Spread into an even layer, roast for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove and toss in bell pepper and onions, return to oven and roast 15-20 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and top it with bacon and green beans before serving.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Bell peppers, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, onions, radishes, roasted veggies, vegetables
Serving: 1/6, Calories: 177kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 665mg, Potassium: 565mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g
If you make this recipe, follow @primaverakitchen on Instagram, snap a photo and hashtag it #primaverakitchen. I’d love to see what you’re making!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please visit my disclosure page here.
posted on October 17, 2019 by Olivia
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What You Can and Can’t Eat When Doing Paleo
While the paleo diet is a program that’s surged in popularity among those trying to jumpstart weight loss, it remains more obscure than other targeted diets around it — like the keto diet or the more challenging Whole30. Our guide to the ultimate shopping list of paleo-friendly groceries will help you plan your next trip to the store. If it’s your first time attempting a paleo diet, we’re recapping everything you need to know before you begin.
The paleo diet encourages a heavier focus on proteins and a pivot away from sugars, but does ask dieters to cut back on, or cut out entirely, some food groups. Paleo diets are based on higher protein consumption with less emphasis on dairy items, starchy carbs, as well as sugar in order to promote weight loss. They’ve become known as the “caveman” diet in health circles, as the diet promotes as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible; proponents say these “clean” foods can increase your energy, kickstart your metabolism (and thus, weight loss), as well as lower inflammation naturally.
“The paleo diet is meant to include foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate that do not require any technology to produce. The idea is to help prevent disease, reduce inflammation, lose weight and increase energy from whole foods like fruit, veggies, proteins and healthy fats while eliminating processed food, added salt and sugar,” explains Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D., and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. “One clear benefit of paleo is focusing on more whole foods while eliminating processed junk.”
You’ll have to avoid entire food groups, though. “It exempts whole food groups like grains, dairy and legumes, which can lead to some nutrient gaps,” she tells Good Housekeeping. So, if you are planning on going Paleo, supplement or choose food pairings wisely, and make sure you eat enough calories, too. “Eliminating whole grains and beans may make it more difficult to achieve fiber goals, as figures suggest 9 out of 10 Americans fail to do anyway,” she says. So, eat more fruit and veggies (and other fiber-packed snacks!) to get those fiber grams in.
Fiber isn’t the only concern when it comes to nutrients and paleo diets. “It’s also important to make sure you get enough calcium when avoiding dairy. It’s tough to meet minimum daily requirements without fortified foods, so unsweetened nut milk may be needed,” she says. Check labels as many organic products are not fortified with calcium, and if you’re already turning to supplements to meet nutrient standards, you may wish to add calcium, too. You can also double down on staples like fish and non-starchy, green veggies, like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
Lastly, there’s more room for sweets on a paleo plan as compared to a keto plan — but don’t load up on paleo-approved sweets too often. “It makes no sense, nutritionally, that refined sugars are forbidden but things like agave, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar are allowed. In your body, sugar is sugar,” Harris-Pincus explains. Treat those items like you would sugar elsewhere, and eat the raw, whole foods for the majority of meals and snacks instead.
What You Can Eat on a Paleo Diet:
There are plenty of dietary substitutes that you can use to your advantage on this list, like almond flour in place of regular flour, and grass-fed butter over margarine or other fats. Before you start your paleo diet, here’s a handy guide on what you can eat:
Design: Laura Formisano
- Fresh lean meats: Particularly grass-fed cuts of meat and wild game, including, but not limited to: chicken, beef, pork, turkey.
- Fatty seafood: Especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna (preferably wild caught).
- Shellfish: Crab, clams, oysters, lobster, mussels.
- Flour: Almond, coconut and cassava flour.
- Eggs: Cage-free or organic preferable.
- Most fats and oils: From fruit and nuts like olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut, avocados. Grass-fed butter is allowed on some plans.
- A large selection of non-starchy vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, and spinach. Some allow sweet potatoes on the diet.
- Most nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. Nut butters are included in this category, but be sure to pick natural varieties that aren’t sweetened.
- Fruit: Apples, berries, including blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, melon, grapes, bananas, citrus fruits, peaches, and plums.
- Some of your favorite beverages: Tea, sparkling water, coconut milk, almond milk. On some plans, decaf coffee is allowed.
- All spices and some sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar and “natural” non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia and erythritol.
What You Can’t Eat on the Paleo Diet:
This list is pretty extensive, and you’ll have to say goodbye to a few food groups that you may regularly eat every day. All breads, sweet treats, alcohol, and our favorite sauces are getting the axe. So are delicious vegetables within something known as the “nightshade” group (a.k.a some veggies that prefer to grow in shade), a controversial decision that some health experts blast as overwrought, at best.
Design: Laura Formisano
- Most grains: Grains and cereals made from wheat, rye, oats, corn and barley.
- Starches: Bread, bagels, cereal, pasta, rice, corn, oatmeal, crackers, pizza, popcorn, granola, muesli, flour, and potatoes.
- Nightshade veggies (for some plans): Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet and hot peppers.
- Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, tofu.
- Refined and artificial sweeteners: Cane sugar, aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, and nearly all forms of carbonated soda.
- Sweet treats: You can’t have dessert, unless it’s been made with unrefined sweeteners and acceptable ingredients.
- A selection of vegetable oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil.
- Alcohol: Beer, sweet wines, and sweetened alcoholic drinks. Some paleo plans allow gluten-free hard cider and red wine, but not all.
- Bottled condiments: Ketchup, BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, and some salad dressings and hot sauces that contain added sugar.
Before you start your diet, have a chat with your doctor about how a paleo diet program may impact your health, even if weight loss is your goal. Paleo plans may cause people to skip out on healthy food groups (legumes and vegetables included!) and miss out on appropriate calorie intakes, Harris-Pincus says, so planning to eat enough during meals and at snack time is crucial.
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Paleo Diet Quick Spiced Up Roasted Vegetables
Home » Blog » Paleo Diet » Paleo Diet Recipes » Paleo Vegetarian Recipes » Paleo Diet Quick Spiced Up Roasted Vegetables
I often feel that people are confused about the Paleo Diet. They either think we only eat raw foods (which I guess there are some Paleo people that do so) or else we only eat meat!
If you’re one of those confused people, then I’m sorry to disappoint you…I eat plenty of cooked foods, and I LOVE vegetables (I know it’s shocking)!
Most people on a Paleo diet (like me) believe that vegetables do provide us with a huge amount of vitamins and minerals that we might not otherwise get (especially if we only eat muscle meats rather than liver, kidney or other organ meats). Plus, I grew up eating tons of vegetables and simply love the taste of them. Note that does not mean I enjoy bland boiled vegetables (like the sides they used to serve me at school for lunch).
I believe in flavorful foods, and this roasted vegetable side dish is truly flavorful!
So, peel and then chop up some carrots and sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place these into a pot of water and heat on high. Add some Brussels sprouts to the pot (you can also use other vegetables like parsnip or butternut squash). Boil the vegetables for around 10 minutes. This speeds up the roasting process dramatically!
After 10 minutes of boiling, strain the vegetables out and place the vegetables on a baking tray. You can use the water that the vegetables were boiled in as the base for a soup or stew so you don’t waste any of the vitamins and minerals that went into the water from the veggies.
Sprinkle spices (lots of cumin, salt, turmeric, oregano, black pepper, and garlic power) and some melted coconut oil over the vegetables and rub everything in.
Place in the oven and bake at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
You can eat this as a side dish, or sometimes I like to have a whole bowl to myself for a meal!
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 lb of Brussels sprouts
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Chop up the peeled carrots and sweet potatoes into large chunks.
- Boil the carrots, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes.
- Strain out the vegetables and place on a baking tray.
- Sprinkle with the spices and melted coconut oil and rub everything together.
- Roast in oven for 30 minutes until soft. (i.e., a fork will easily go through the vegetables).
Paleo Diet: What to Eat
Individuals who follow the paleo diet try to consume food similar to that of a caveman from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
It is thought that cavemen and hunter-gatherers had an extremely varied diet, not unlike the native diets of all indigenous cultures.
What a Paleo diet contains
A Paleo diet contains plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, contributing about 35-45% of all caloric intake. Vegetables chosen are usually especially low in starch, such as carrots and leafy vegetables, which Paleolithic populations are supposed to have found abundantly in their environment.
Since these vegetables have a low glycemic index, they encourage low, steady levels of blood sugar rather than abrupt spikes. They also ensure the dietary fiber content is high.
The main constituent of a Paleo diet is protein from animal foods, especially lean meat from grass-fed bovinae, free-range poultry, and marine fish. Wild game is also acceptable. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are preferred, such as albacore tuna, salmon, and mackerel.
Natural oil intake is high, derived from avocados, nuts such as walnuts or macadamia, seeds such as flaxseed, and coconut oil, along with the animal meat and fish. Plenty of water makes up the remainder of the diet.
What a Paleo diet does not contain
A strict Paleo diet will never have salt, refined sugar, processed foods, refined vegetable oils or potatoes. It will also notcontain any whole or refined grains in any form, nor any legumes or dairy products. Wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye are all excluded, as are beans, peas, garbanzo, peanuts, and lentils.
This is despite the fact that legumes are known to contain high-quality vegetable protein which complements the protein content of whole grains to produce a complete protein. Grains, on the other hand, provide not only a large amount of protein but also good amounts of fiber, vitamins, and other nutritional factors which are essential to a healthy diet.
These foods are generally staples or at least regular additions to the staple foods in most developing countries, because they cost much less to grow and harvest, and take up much less soil, as well as being more practical to distribute to consumers due to their low perishability.
Risks of a Paleo diet
Some Paleo diet plans are less rigid than others; it is recommended that a Paleo diet should not become a proxy for self-esteem by adhering to some imaginary line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. A certain flexibility is highly advised, not only to prevent burnout by making the diet more sustainable long-term, but also to avoid the psychological sequelae of feeling chronically deprived of one’s favorite foods.
Moreover, common sense dictates that plant-based diets which include legumes are unlikely to be unhealthy, whatever one’s health condition. The only food identified so far that can be harmful to the gut is gluten, and even this is not backed by unequivocal evidence.
A sample Paleo diet
Paleo diets largely feature lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry or pork, with a portion of fruit, leafy vegetables with carrots, cucumbers, or tomatoes, or other steamed vegetables such as broccoli or mixed greens. Snacks will be mostly vegetable sticks or fruit.
It is quite possible that the same health benefits could be achieved without quite so much sacrifice, provided the diet contained only enough whole grains to balance the energy expenditure, plant and animal protein in moderation, little animal fat and plenty of fresh vegetables with some fresh fruit and nuts every day, and is combined with enough exercise, plenty of water, and sufficient relaxation.
The transformative health benefits of a Paleo diet are widely debated, with the drawbacks of the diet often equalling the benefits. While the exclusion or limitation of some food groups can be beneficial, for example a reduced intake of sugar and sodium, deficiencies can arise from other adjustments in the diet, such as calcium deficincies. The diet’s similarity to that of Paleolithic populations is also contested.
Paleo diet | Paleo diet menu
The desire to keep your body in shape should be provoked not only by the aesthetic side of the problem. Excess weight waves the normal functioning of the body and often becomes a catalyst for serious diseases. Correct weight loss guarantees you a beautiful body and a healthy body. The paleo diet is an example of healthy weight loss.
Paleo diet – what is the essence?
The Paleolithic Diet, or the Stone Age Diet, the Ancient Diet or the Paleolithic Diet, got its name from its diet.The fact is that her diet is akin to that of ancient people in the historical period called the Paleolithic.
Developers of the paleo diet are confident in the usefulness of the nutrition system that was established 10 thousand years ago. Americans Lauren Cordain and Oz Garcia have devoted many publications to healthy eating. Hollywood stars often consult with renowned nutritionists on healthy lifestyles, of which proper nutrition is an integral part. The basic idea behind the paleo diet is about a person’s genetic memory for food.Excess weight will never be a problem if a person consumes the food of his distant ancestors.
You can understand the principles of diet in more detail by mentally returning yourself to the Paleolithic period: the only way to get food is hunting and gathering. A bonfire is used for thermal processing of products. Only natural products are on the table.
Internal and external transformation, according to nutritionists, will not keep you waiting if the diet consists of lean protein foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, roots.
The main advantage of the Paleolithic diet is its high calorie content. This fact guarantees the preservation of the result in the future. A losing weight person does not have to count calories and feel hungry. The body will receive a healthy, balanced diet.
Paleo Diet Principles
- The diet should be supplemented with wildlife such as roots, berries, plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
- The portion should be reduced and try to eat only because of true hunger.The time spent on the move should prevail over the period of food consumption.
- We should imitate our ancestors, who practically did not know the rest due to the constant search for food. It is recommended to stop the regular “rookery” on the couch, start going for walks, and do light exercise.
- The amount of carbohydrates decreases. Fast carbohydrates are completely excluded from the diet. During the Paleolithic period, soda, fast food, sugar and convenience foods did not exist.This means that they will not be on your table either. Scientists are convinced of the contradiction between the human genome and modern nutrition. The evolutionary process has not affected the body’s ability to cope with carbohydrates.
- Industrial sugar is excluded. Only natural honey can be present on the menu. Sugar has been proven to contribute to serious illness and obesity.
- Allowed to consume dietary and low-fat meat (eg chicken, rabbit meat).
Paleo diet – what’s on the menu?
The menu should consist of low-fat varieties of fish, low-fat beef, chicken, pork meat, game, seafood.Consumption of all types of fruits, berries and vegetables is encouraged. Of the nuts and seeds, preference is given to cashews, almonds, chestnuts, pine nuts, macadamias, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
IMPORTANT: Food must be steamed or oven-baked, nuts and seeds must not be roasted or salted.
List of foods for the paleo diet
Meat and eggs
- Chicken Breast
- Pork tenderloin
- Pork Chops
- Ground beef
- Chicken Thigh
- Chicken legs
- Chicken wings
Fish and seafood
- All kinds of molluscs
Vegetables and herbs
- Asparagus beans
- Brussels sprouts
- White cabbage
- All kinds of peppers
- Green onions
- Sweet potatoes, beets and pumpkin should be eaten in limited quantities.Basically they are recommended to be used in the menu for those who constantly exercise
Fruits and berries
Wheat and its products, dairy products, legumes (including peanuts), fatty meat, salty foods, starchy foods, refined vegetable oils, any sweets (drinks, desserts) are completely excluded from the diet.
Paleo diet – menu for every day:
|Day of the week||Meal||Dishes for the paleo diet|
|Monday||Breakfast||Two eggs omelet with half bell pepper|
|Lunch||Tuna, tomato, cucumber and lettuce salad, season with olive oil|
|Snack||Handful of almonds, Tea|
|Dinner||Oven baked chicken breast with boiled broccoli|
|Tuesday||Breakfast||Avocado, lettuce and tomato salad with seeded oil|
|Lunch||Broccoli puree soup|
|Snack||Banana / apple / orange of your choice|
|Dinner||Fish baked in the oven with green beans|
|Wednesday||Breakfast||Omelet of two eggs with mushrooms|
|Lunch||Stewed cabbage with ham|
|Snack||Fruit of your choice or light vegetable salad|
|Dinner||Shrimp, avocado, orange and apple salad.|
|Thursday||Breakfast||Fruit salad of apple, kiwi and orange|
|Lunch||Borsch or any vegetable soup|
|Snack||A handful of nuts of your choice|
|Dinner||Salmon baked in foil on a pillow of champignons|
|Friday||Breakfast||Boiled eggs with cucumber and tomato salad|
|Lunch||Chicken nuggets with salad of vegetables and leafy greens|
|Snack||Fruit or nuts to choose from|
|Saturday||Breakfast||Banana Kiwi Orange Smoothie|
|Lunch||Vegetable soup with cabbage|
|Snack||Fruit of your choice|
|Dinner||Boiled veal with salad|
|Sunday||Breakfast||Banana and almond pancakes|
|Lunch||Steamed fish with vegetable salad|
|Snack||Handful of nuts or freshly squeezed celery and apple juice|
|Dinner||All Meat Chops and Avocado Lettuce|
You can compose a similar paleo diet menu yourself, since the list of foods is extensive and you definitely won’t have to starve.
Paleo Diet Benefits
- Blood sugar levels are normalized. As a result, sudden bouts of hunger and chronic fatigue disappear. The risk of developing diabetes mellitus is significantly reduced.
- The blood is cleared of cholesterol. It has a prophylactic effect against heart disease. Unsaturated fats from the diet contribute to the normal function of the heart.
- Athletes are successful in building muscle mass. Extra pounds go away.The protein found in foods, combined with lean meats and fresh fruits (vegetables), contributes to the modeling of a healthy, beautiful body.
- The risk of returning lost weight is eliminated.
- Achieved fast results. The first two weeks are guaranteed to get rid of 5-10 kg. Further, weight loss will continue. The recommended minimum duration of the Paleo Diet is 2 weeks. Diet developers recommend making it a lifestyle.
Paleo diet deficiencies
- The Paleolithic Diet can be a big pockets of money.Quality and fresh food cannot be cheap.
- Refusal from habitual food can be accompanied by moral discomfort.
- The almost complete absence of carbohydrates makes the diet unsuitable for athletes. This opinion is formed at first glance. The problem is easily solved by increasing the amount of carbohydrate fruits, namely cherries, pineapples and bananas.
- One of the rules of the Paleo diet is to consume food only on the real call of hunger and stop eating until you are full.Many people find it difficult to overcome their psychological habit.
- The diet is not suitable for vegetarians who consume legumes instead of meat.
- It is not recommended to adhere to the nutritional system in case of kidney problems.
How to make it easier for yourself to switch to the Paleo diet?
Shoulder-cutting is not recommended. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals. Transition to a new food system is carried out smoothly, without introducing the body into a state of stress. Eliminate prohibited foods gradually, one by one.The feeling of thirst often resembles the need for food. Drink plenty of fluids. The dietary change should not coincide with illness or stress. Get the support of family and friends. Visual stimulation helps a lot: a photo of a slender, handsome girl / guy on the refrigerator will be a strong motivation.
The path to health is not as long and thorny as it might seem at first glance. Listen to the true needs of your body and it will repay you with good work. Your body will be transformed and your health complaints will stop.
90,000 Paleo Diet: A to Z
The Paleo Diet is based on the diet of ancient humans and is gaining popularity among actors and athletes every year. What is the secret of this diet, how much to eat so as not to get fat, and what harm to health from such experiments?
What is the paleo diet
In the Stone Age, people hunted for food, picked berries, fruits, mushrooms and nuts, and used a fire for cooking. This is the basic principle of the paleo diet: eat only natural products that grow in the region of residence.
The weight loss system differs from the others in that you can consume an unlimited amount of calories and not count them.
The effect of the Paleolithic diet is the complete exclusion of fast carbohydrates from the diet. That allows you to reduce the extra centimeters at the waist.
- most of the menu is occupied by berries, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs;
- eat only when you feel hungry;
- reduce the portion to avoid overeating;
- to increase physical activity, since our ancestors never sat idle;
- eat non-fatty meat (rabbit, chicken, turkey, etc.)).
The number of allowed products allows you to show imagination in the preparation of the daily menu, but certain rules must be observed:
- Breakfast should be hearty. A small amount of meat, fruits and vegetables is required. In limited quantities, the Paleolithic diet allows for the consumption of tea or coffee without sugar.
- Snack includes a large ripe apple or 100 g of berries. Drinking a glass of plain water is also recommended.
- Lunch should be satisfying, therefore it is necessary to eat meat or red fish with a lot of vegetables.
- For an afternoon snack, you can eat a handful of dried nuts or some fruit.
- Dinner consists of vegetable salad and lean fish fillets baked in the oven or grilled.
- Before bed, you can allow yourself to eat a few pumpkin seeds and drink a glass of water.
The most desperate dieters eat absolutely raw meat without cooking.Of course, such extremes are not suitable for everyone, but you will have to give up fast food, borscht and cakes.
Most followers of the Stone Age food system try to diversify the menu using various cooking methods: grilling, baking, cooking.
For 7 days:
|Day of week||Meal time||Menu||kcal per 100 g||Proteins / Fats / Carbohydrates per 100 g|
|Monday||Breakfast||Boiled eggs||154||12.5 / 10.5 / 1|
|tomato and cucumber salad||84||0.5 / 7.13 / 4.13|
|Lunch||Grilled sole||91||18.84 / 1.19 / 0|
|white cabbage, bell pepper and cucumber salad||71||1.24 / 4.15 / 7.28|
|Dinner||Baked skinless chicken breast||164||30.76 / 3.54 / 0|
|boiled cauliflower||48||1.77 / 3.29 / 4|
|Tuesday||Breakfast||Steamed omelet with bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions||119||5.56 / 9.14 / 4.03|
|Lunch||Chicken broth with pieces of breast and egg, finely chopped parsley and dill||37||6/1/1|
|apples||52||0.26 / 0.17 / 13.8|
|Dinner||Baked white fish with onions and carrots||126||21.94 / 3.44 / 0.33|
|Wednesday||Breakfast||Fried eggs with mushrooms and herbs||125||8.73 / 8.68 / 2.81|
|Lunch||Stewed cabbage with turkey||170||31.2 / 10.1 / 3.27|
|Dinner||Grilled courgette||45||1.12 / 2.58 / 6.3|
|fresh small-fruited tomatoes||18||0.88 / 0.2 / 3.92|
|baked tuna||153||27.3 / 3.96 / 0.41|
|Thursday||Breakfast||Fruit salad||57||0.7 / 0.86 / 13.16|
|hard eggs||154||12.53 / 10.57 / 1|
|Lunch||Creamy pumpkin soup||40||0.63 / 2 / 4.67|
|rabbit stew||143||16.5 / 6.95 / 3|
|Dinner||Salmon baked in foil with mushrooms||258||25.3 / 17.5 / 1.5|
|Friday||Breakfast||Cabbage, carrot, greens and cucumber salad drizzled with lemon juice||125||1.5 / 11.5 / 3.8|
|Lunch||Champignon soup||130||1.9 / 10.1 / 8|
|boiled chicken||171||25.26 / 7.2 / 0|
|Dinner||Tomato and cucumber salad||84||0.53 / 7.13 / 4.13|
|fish stew||120||11.28 / 5.88 / 5.6|
|Saturday||Breakfast||Omelet||153||10.62 / 12 / 0.69|
|fruit salad||57||0.67 / 0.86 / 13.1|
|Lunch||Vegetable soup with cabbage and bell pepper||43||1.1.73 / 4 / 5.83|
|stewed chicken liver||134||17.25 / 6.26 / 1.1|
|Dinner||Vegetable salad with mushrooms||69||1.8 / 3.1 / 2.9|
|Sunday||Breakfast||Fried eggs with spinach and bell peppers||129||8.81 / 8.95 / 2.9|
|Lunch||Ear||67||8.33 / 1.74 / 4.12|
|baked chicken with vegetables||237||27.07 / 13.49 / 0|
|Dinner||Meat chop||274||17.51 / 22.07 / 0|
|Fresh tomatoes||18||0.88 / 0.2 / 3.92|
|cucumbers||15||0.65 / 0.11 / 3.63|
Note: the weight of the portions is not indicated, so you can eat in unlimited quantities until completely saturated.
The menu should include fruits and vegetables that grow in the region of residence. For example, if the nearby areas do not have tangerine trees, then this fruit is prohibited.
Nuts and seeds must be dried, not roasted.
It is advisable to make sure that the meat does not contain harmful substances, and for this the animal had to eat fresh grass, and not feed.
List of Prohibited Foods in the Stone Age Diet
The menu does not include the following products:
- All cereals and legumes, as well as everything that is made of them, and this is pasta, bread, all kinds of cereals and cereals;
- all dairy products;
- salt and sugar, since our ancestors did not know about their existence, and only occasionally feasted on honey;
- industrial food products: oils, canned food, sausages, semi-finished products and others;
- starchy products;
- fast food, soda, sushi, rolls;
This is important! The minimum amount of carbohydrates can be replenished with cherries, bananas and pineapple.
Outline: “How to Determine Product Suitable for Paleo Diet”
The disappearance of these products from the human diet can bring not only benefits, but also harm. For example, people who regularly consume whole grains are less likely to have heart disease and diabetes. Most cereals are cholesterol-free and good for digestion.
In many countries, dairy products are included in official nutritional guidelines because they are nutrient-dense, such as calcium, protein, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. The fatty acids contained in butter stimulate the intestines and support the human reproductive system. Olive oil prevents cardiovascular diseases, strengthens blood vessels, making them more elastic. The benefits of this product are enormous, and excluding it from the diet can be harmful to humans.
The opinion of nutritionists
The founders of the nutrition system are Lauren Cordain and Oz Garcia and have published several books and scientific articles on the benefits of the paleo diet.
- Normalizing blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of developing diabetes;
- chronic fatigue disappears;
- reduction of blood cholesterol, prevention of heart disease;
- exclusion of the risk of returning dropped kilograms;
90,021 fat burning and muscle building;
90,021 quick results, the founders of the diet claim that from 5 to 10 kg of excess weight can go away in two weeks.
Swedish nutritionists from Karolinska University conducted an experiment in 2008: for a month, men and women ate like residents of the Paleolithic period. At the end of this period, it turned out that all subjects had a 35% reduction in their daily calorie intake, their risk of blood clots decreased by 72%, and their blood pressure dropped by 5%. Fulham England footballers have long followed a prehistoric diet on the recommendation of nutritionist Steve Hines.
The paleo diet also has its drawbacks:
- High-quality and fresh food is much more expensive than regular food;
- moral discomfort is possible due to a sharp refusal from the usual menu;
- is not suitable for vegetarians, as even legumes are prohibited in it;
- for kidney problems, diet is strictly prohibited.
90,021 not all people can control the number of servings, and continue to eat even after full satiety;
Before using the ancestral diet, you should consult with your doctor and listen to the true desires of your body.
Eat and lose weight
So that the diet does not harm the body, you do not need to abruptly switch to this food system. It is best to gradually eliminate prohibited foods. Do not confuse thirst with hunger, so it is necessary to constantly maintain water balance in the body. The transition to a diet should not coincide with illness or stressful situations.If you cannot refuse a certain product, then it is better to leave it. For example, dressing salads with olive oil.
Before and after the paleo diet
Basketball player LeBron James comments positively on the paleo diet:
I had no sugar, no dairy products, no carbohydrates. All I ate was meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. That’s all. For 67 consecutive days.
Approximately he lost 12 kg. And he began to weigh 111 kg with an increase of 2.03 m.
NBA star LeBron James before and after the paleo diet
Paleo diet is a rigid, carbohydrate-free type of food that is not suitable for everyone. It is also difficult to choose products, since what our ancestors ate is almost impossible to find on store shelves in the same quality.
Be sure to read about it
90,000 Basic concepts of the Paleo diet.
How does the paleo diet work?
Despite all the availability of food in the modern world, the paleo diet mimics the nutrition of every person on earth before the Agricultural Revolution (about 500 generations ago).Paleo embraces foods that promote good health (fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood), foods that are high in beneficial nutrients (fiber, vitamins, phytoncides, omega-3s and polyunsaturated fatty acids) and are low on the glycemic index. And virtually eliminates foods poor in micro and macro nutrients (refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats, salt, high glycemic index, processed foods), which in turn can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many more other health problems.The Paleo Diet recommends dieters replace dairy and grains with fresh fruits and vegetables – foods that are more nutritious in nutrients than milk and grains.
How is the Paleo diet fundamentally different from the standard diets offered to the public?
The Paleo Diet is a unique diet to which our species is genetically adapted. This diet was not specially developed by doctors, nutritionists or eccentrics, it was developed by Mother Nature herself in interaction with evolutionary processes and natural selection.The Paleo Diet is based on extensive scientific research examining the quality and quantity of food from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This meal plan is completely different from the standard high-fat, low-carb diet, which allows you to eat unlimited cheeses, bacon, butter, and fatty meats, leading to clogged arteries. In contrast, the Paleo diet encourages the consumption of lean meats, seafood and unlimited fruits and vegetables.
Since most hunter-gatherers have lived “unpleasant, short, and violent lives,” how can we know if their diet was healthy or not? Is it not assumed that their short lives were associated with poor nutrition?
It is of course true that the life expectancy of hunter-gatherers was much lower than in industrialized countries. However, most of the deaths in the gatherer society have been associated with accidents and injuries.They lived in the open without modern medical care, but at the same time did not suffer from the chronic degenerative diseases that they suffer in the modern world. In a hunter-gatherer society, approximately 10-20% of people lived to be 60 or older. And these older adults have been shown to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of the chronic diseases (obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) that commonly affect older people in Western countries. When people switch to a Western-style diet, their health level declines and signs and symptoms of the “disease of civilization” begin to appear.
Is it possible to feed the entire population of the Earth on the Paleo diet?
More than 6 billion people live on Earth. Cereals and grains provide more than half of humanity’s energy needs. Without grain, an unprecedented mass famine would hit the planet. Unfortunately, humanity has followed the path of dependence on grain – a path that will already be difficult to change. However, most of the developed Western countries suffer from chronic diseases of civilization.Returning to the principles of nutrition from the Stone Age is not only a necessity, but also from the point of view of practice, will allow you to live a long and happy life.
How does a Paleo diet, dominated by lean meats and seafood, help me lose weight, as opposed to high-carb, low-fat diets?
Common sense tells us that in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than we got from food, and in order to achieve a negative energy balance, you need to eat plants that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates.The first part of this statement is indeed true – in order to lose weight you need a calorie deficit. However, for most people, the experience with low-energy, high-carbohydrate diets is dire. They are constantly starving and, usually, any weight loss is replenished very quickly. Sitting on diets low in carbohydrates and high in fat (another alternative that nutritionists offer us is nothing more than another trick for losing weight for a short time), in the future we lead ourselves to diseases, because the main load falls on fat food (lard, butter, fatty meats, cheeses, etc.) to the detriment of the consumption of vegetables and fruits.
There is also a third route – a diet that mimics the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate – high in protein, fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of fat, but high in healthy omega-3s and monounsaturated fats. Such a diet will increase your metabolic rate and accelerate your weight loss. In addition, protein is much more important than fats and carbohydrates, it puts a brake on your appetite. Finally, three recent clinical trials have shown that a high-protein diet is more effective in controlling obesity than a diet high in fat or carbohydrates.
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Paleo Diet Features: List of Foods and Menus for the Week | WOMANLOOKS.RU
The paleo diet is an interesting nutritional system that can hardly be attributed to diets. Rather, it is a way of life that helps to maintain your body in perfect shape, to lose weight qualitatively and to increase immunity.
The paleo diet involves the elimination of most allergens, which has a positive effect on the functioning of the whole organism, especially the digestive system.The desired effect in losing weight on a paleo diet is achieved in a few weeks, but this nutrition system does not have a clear time frame.
The dietary principles of the paleo diet are quite strict, but there can be no harm from such a diet. This is because the paleo diet is very balanced, full of healthy fats and protein. The ratio of nutrients on the menu is as follows: 20% carbohydrates, 40% saturated fat, and 40% protein. What foods can be eaten on a paleo diet, and which should be discarded? Let’s take a look at all the nuances of this nutritional system and diet features.
Basic foods of the paleo diet
All types of sugar and sweets are prohibited on the paleo diet. These include both baked goods and chocolate products, as well as pure sugar, carbonated drinks. The diet restricts the use of dairy products and all legumes and grains.
The main products allowed in this food system are:
1. Mushrooms – you can include any kind of mushrooms in your menu. Both wild mushrooms and cultivated champignons are suitable.
2. Dried fruits – these should be fruits or berries, dried naturally without the use of sugar and sweet syrups.
3. Meat and offal – you can eat all types of meat products. Preference should be given to an ecological product grown in natural conditions without the use of feed and antibiotics. The menu can include lamb, pork, beef, rabbit and various types of offal. However, it is necessary to abandon the use of various semi-finished meat products, mousses, sausages, pates and sausages.
4. Fruits – on a paleo diet you can eat absolutely all types of berries and fruits, make smoothies, juices and purees from them. Better to eat low-calorie seasonal fruits.
5. Eggs – you can eat both duck and chicken, turkey, quail and ostrich.
6. Nuts – All types of nuts are allowed on the paleo diet, except for peanuts, as this is a very allergenic product. Also, the menu can include chia, sunflower, poppy, hemp, pumpkin seeds.
7. Fish and Seafood – it is best to opt for both lean and oily types of fish. Your menu should include cod, anchovies, halibut, shrimp, haddock, tuna, tilapia, pike perch, sea and river bass, salmon, mussels, herring, octopus, mackerel or squid. But it is better to refuse crab sticks, canned caviar, pickled seafood and fish.
8. Greens – you can include any types of herbs and herbs in your menu.
9. Poultry – it is better to give preference to domestic chicken, duck, turkey or goose. At the same time, it is important to refuse any ready-made dishes based on poultry meat, in particular, from pies, nuggets and grilled chicken.
10. Vegetables – all types of vegetables and root vegetables can be consumed, except for large quantities of potatoes and legumes. You can eat sweet potatoes without restrictions.
11. Vegetable oils – the menu includes any cold-pressed unrefined oils.The use of olive and coconut oil is encouraged. But from soybean, rapeseed and palm oil must be abandoned.
The menu is based on meat and fish dishes, vegetable snacks and fruit snacks. To understand whether such a nutrition system is suitable for your body, you should adhere to it for at least thirty days.
Weekly paleo diet menu
Such an unusual set of natural products can be really discouraging and raise a lot of questions.To facilitate the preparation of a balanced diet for this food system, you can take a ready-made menu as a basis. This type of diet for a week will help you stay in shape and effectively lose weight without hunger and calorie counting.
Breakfast – two egg sweet pepper omelet.
· Lunch – vegetable salad with olive oil and tuna.
· Snack – almonds, dried fruits and tea.
· Dinner – baked poultry breast with broccoli or cauliflower for
Breakfast – salad of tomatoes, arugula and avocado with olive oil.
· Lunch – cauliflower or tomato puree soup.
Snack – fruit.
· Dinner – baked fish or seafood with steamed vegetables.
Breakfast – omelet with mushrooms from two eggs.
· Lunch – stewed cabbage with mushrooms or pork.
· Snack – fruits or nuts.
· Dinner – apple, shrimp and orange salad.
Breakfast – salad of kiwi, apple and oranges.
· Lunch – vegetable soup.
· Snack – nuts or fruits.
· Dinner – baked salmon with sweet potatoes or mushrooms.
· Breakfast – vegetable salad and boiled eggs.
· Lunch – baked chicken with buckwheat porridge.
· Snack – nuts or berry smoothie.
· Dinner – puree mushroom soup.
Breakfast – banana smoothie with orange and kiwi.
· Lunch – vegetable soup.
· Snack – baked fruit.
· Dinner – salad with boiled veal.
Breakfast – pancakes with almonds and banana.
· Lunch – steamed mackerel with mushrooms or vegetables.
· Snack – fresh apple and nuts.
· Dinner – salad with avocado and baked white fish.
In this menu, you can change some seafood, types of meat, fish and vegetables for others, which is not critical.Focus on your own taste preferences. You should carefully consider snacks and control the consumption of sweet fruits, berries and dried fruits, as these are foods high in carbohydrates.
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Making a Minute: What You Need to Know About the Popular AIP Diet
Almost every year, the focus is on a new elimination diet – restrictions not for weight loss, but for health.Recently, the recommendations of nutritional bloggers have increasingly found an autoimmune paleoprotocol, and food services are releasing a special AIP menu. We figure out what it is and who is suitable for this type of food.
The Autoimmune Paleoprotocol is based on the Paleo Diet and is a stricter version of it. The Paleo diet is a return to the Paleolithic era, when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers.The first theorist of such a diet was gastroenterologist Walter L. Wegtlin. In the 70s of the last century, he suggested that human genetics has hardly changed since the beginning of agriculture (10-15 thousand years ago) and the modern human body is still better adapted to the Paleolithic diet.
The traditional paleo diet and its branches are based on the hypothesis of paleodeficiency – a kind of complex syndrome of a reduced quality of life and a tendency to various diseases.It is important to make a reservation that paleodeficiency is not a term from medicine, but from physiological anthropology. It is believed that this deficiency is caused by significant differences in the way of life of us and our ancestors. For example, a modern person receives less daylight, but at night in an urban environment, on the contrary, it is not dark enough. Also, paleodeficiency theorists believe that we can be affected by a reduced number of contacts with a variety of non-pathogenic microbes: in other words, the modern world is too sterile. And, of course, nutrition is considered one of the key factors of deficiency: people of the Paleolithic did not eat refined industrial products, but received all the nutrients from meat, vegetables and fruits.
The principle of the paleo diet is quite simple.
When you look at a product, you should ask yourself the question: would a caveman eat it?
If the answer is yes, you can eat. If not, it is recommended to refrain from the product. The principle of AIP is more complicated – here the emphasis is on the fight against autoimmune diseases, therefore the diet itself is aimed at eliminating foods that provoke inflammation .Meat, fish and seafood, all types of vegetables (except nightshade), fruits, fermented foods, bone broths and herbs are the basis of food for AIP. There are many restrictions: you cannot eat dairy and soy products, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds on AIP. All refined foods, sugar and sweeteners, canned food, coffee and alcohol are strictly excluded. In addition, the AIP differs from the regular paleo diet in that it also includes lifestyle adjustments. Good sleep hygiene, stress management, and moderate exercise.
Who is the AIP shown to? Do healthy people need it?
health coach, curator of the lecture hall “Garden City”
“Paleo-AIP is usually recommended for any autoimmune disease – autoimmune thyroiditis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, etc. Leaky gut is the main trigger in the development of autoimmune disease. The products recommended by the AIP support healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms.Foods that damage or destroy the intestinal mucosa are completely excluded, while anti-inflammatory food groups are included in the diet.
For some, the autoimmune protocol is a temporary measure, for others it is lifelong. Eating with paleo-AIP is seen as therapy. The extent to which nutrition affects the body depends on the disease itself – from simply improving the quality of life and relieving symptoms to completely curing an autoimmune disease. It all depends on how long a person has been struggling with the disease, how aggressively it behaves.The presence of concomitant pathologies and genetic factors also affects.
It is useful for even a healthy person to follow AIP for about 1 month a year. But any strict restrictive diet should be prescribed by specialist . And such a diet is not suitable for people with intolerances and allergies to foods included in the paleo-AIP. Also, you should not introduce drastic changes in nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. ”
The base of the paleo-AIP diet is made up of vegetables and protein – that is, this type of diet is fully consistent with the basic recommendations for a healthy diet.At the same time, such a diet includes quite a few restrictions that can negatively affect health. So, doctors recommend adherents of this type of diet to carefully monitor the level of calcium. And people with osteoporosis or a predisposition to it are recommended to completely abandon paleo diets.
It is also important to understand that paleo-AIP, like many other elimination diets, is not well understood.
3 Reasons to Consider the Paleo-Autoimmune Protocol with Healthy Criticism
Leaky gut – syndrome
not recognized in world medical practice
The so-called leaky gut syndrome is not an existing medical diagnosis.It is not in the ICD, and official medical organizations warn that the concept of leaky gut is mainly used by representatives of alternative medicine. The latter argue that too high a permeability of the intestinal wall allows toxins and harmful microorganisms to enter the bloodstream, thereby causing inflammatory reactions and autoimmune diseases.
Mainstream medicine recognizes that under certain circumstances (for example, when taking aspirin or ibuprofen), intestinal permeability can increase.But this leads to local inflammation – there is no reliable data on more serious consequences.
Cavemen also had autoimmune diseases
The basic idea of paleo rations, in particular paleo-AIP, is that autoimmune diseases are a consequence of our modern diet, rich in carbohydrates and refined foods. But anthropologists can argue with this statement.Genetic studies show that our evolutionary “cousins” Neanderthals may have suffered from Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.
The presence of arthritis among Neanderthals (whose diet, by the way, consisted mainly of meat) is a well-known fact. It so happened that the first Neanderthal skeleton found belonged to a man suffering from this ailment.
We cannot know for sure what the Paleolithic people ate
It is important to understand that the diet of prehistoric humans was very different from how the followers of the paleo ration eat today.Our ancestors hardly ate avocado bowls with chia seeds. The vegetable basis of their diet could be ferns or cattails – not the most common products on the shelf of a modern supermarket.
In addition, paleo dietary guidelines were based on averaged dietary data from modern hunter-gatherer communities rather than historical facts. After all, everything we can know about the nutrition of our ancestors is based on a limited number of archaeological finds.
By the way, traces of cereals and tuberous plants are found on the remains of the teeth of Neanderthals, so that even before the Paleolithic, representatives of the genus Homo were not averse to treating themselves to carbohydrates.
Aren’t you fat? What is the keto diet and is it suitable for everyone
Aren’t you fat? What is the keto diet and is it suitable for everyone?
90,000 Paleo diet
It seems to many that the concept of “diet” unambiguously implies the need to suffer from hunger, or at least regularly restrict oneself in food and experience discomfort from it.
However, many balanced diets do not require such efforts. Moreover, since these methods do not create stress for the body, they can be regarded as the rules of a healthy diet and practiced indefinitely. One such method to lose weight while eating your fill is the paleo diet .
A little history of the creation of the paleo diet:
Let us recall that even in the Paleolithic era, our ancestors took care of their health, finding food, hunting wild animals and looking for edible products in forests and thickets.All the food obtained was a simple diet that provided them with a healthy and painless existence.
Recalling this, modern scientists thought: if our ancestors, eating simple and affordable food, felt great, while not suffering from obesity and many other diseases, then why should we not follow their example … and created a modern Paleolithic diet.
Basic principles of the paleo diet
☀ Complete elimination of fast carbohydrates.
☀ Refusal from refined products.
☀ Reducing overall carbohydrate intake.
☀ Maximum correspondence of the daily diet to that of the ancient ancestors.
☀ Eating simple foods, without frills and without overeating with the body accustoming to what is needed only when there is a sharp feeling of hunger.
The latter is formed in accordance with the habitat and climatic zone. That is, if the entire line of fruits and berries is presented to the services of residents of southern latitudes, then for those living in the north, basically only meat remains.
It is also assumed that active movement should accompany the paleo diet, but whether it will be work at a summer cottage or fitness is everyone’s personal choice.
The main thing on which the paleo diet is based is the principle that only food accessible to primitive man should enter your stomach. That is, it is the most natural food, not processed, not frozen, not greenhouse and, of course, not canned. The effect is achieved through ingenious simplicity – process less and eat pure, unflavored foods.
There are several food groups that are welcome in a paleo diet.
Meat – lean, natural, not frozen and minimally processed. No need to rack your brains and invent a thousand recipes. Eat a piece of meat like your ancestors and forget about hunger. It can be steaks, fillets, low-fat cutlets, grilled and steamed meat. In addition, game is welcome.
Fish – absolutely all varieties, as well as various seafood.
Eggs – Two yolks per day and unlimited egg whites.
Fruits and vegetables should form the basis of the paleo diet. Any snack consists of berries and fruits, a side dish of vegetables. Avoid potatoes, legumes (including peas and beans), and wheat. These foods increase insulin production, increase hunger and drain the pancreas.
Any fruit can be eaten, but girls should avoid grapes and bananas. Since it is the sweetest fruit, it is high in fructose, which also tends to be converted into fat.
Nuts and seeds in any form and quantity. But they should all be raw and not fried.
Do’s and don’ts
- gluten-containing cereal products
- beans and lentils
- salt and soda
- spirits and beer
- any products from whole milk of farm animals
- industrially processed sugars and other carbohydrates, including pasta, sodas and packaged juices
- refined cooking oils and fats, including soybean oil, sunflower oil, as well as any products with their addition
If you really want to, you can do a little:
- natural sweets (dried fruits, honey, maple syrup)
- non-grain alcohol (dry red wine)
- fermented milk products or hard cheese without additives (if possible, choose goat or sheep’s milk, not cow’s milk)
- Lentils, pre-soaked overnight and washed to eliminate traces of phytic acid
Recommendations for practitioners of the paleo diet
☀ Make a diet of fibrous, coarse foods.Vegetables, cabbage, lettuce, nuts, fruits, seeds are very beneficial for the body, and such nutrition has a beneficial effect on the heart. However, be careful: eating coarse, fibrous foods is categorically unsuitable for those with gastritis!
☀ Fruits and berries, such as apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, should be included in the daily diet regardless of what time of year it is outside the window. In fact, these products are natural antioxidants, they have anti-inflammatory effects, contain vitamin C and are an important part of the prevention of many diseases.
☀ Eat walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts – a source of Omega-3 and non-animal protein.
☀ From animal proteins in the paleo diet, mainly fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, chicken, eggs, turkey meat, cottage cheese, eggs, and homemade cheeses are allowed. Add these foods to your diet regularly. But not too often. Also, pay close attention to plant-based proteins such as soy products.
☀ Add whole grains to the diet, and exclude cereals and flour products.This also applies to pasta and bread, various types of cereals, which contain large quantities of gluten, which leads to disorders of the immune system and the nervous system.
☀ Be sure to add vitamins and minerals in pill form, even if your diet is rich in natural vitamins.
☀ For tea, give preference to green varieties.
☀ Drink as little coffee as possible. Excessive doses of it can cause disorders of the nervous system, nervousness and excessive excitability.And this, in turn, can negatively affect the metabolism.
☀ Never neglect breakfast and good sleep, they are the key to health and attractiveness.
☀ Simple carbohydrates impair the functioning of the pancreas. Even if you ate just one candy or a piece of sugar, the process of insulin production starts immediately in your body, and fats begin to be deposited.
☀ Remember to drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day.
An example of a paleo diet menu for a week
It should be noted that the given method of catering does not have to be used for a short time.It is permissible to adhere to it for a long time, slightly adjusting according to personal needs and the characteristics of the digestive system.
Breakfast : 250 g omelet in corn or olive oil, a cup of green tea with jasmine.
Second breakfast : 50 g dried pear.
Lunch : a plate of vegetable salad with boiled chicken breast and 40 g of almonds, a glass of still mineral water.
Afternoon snack : a handful of walnuts, 2 fresh carrots.
Dinner : 250 g of boiled veal, 50 g of celery stalks, a cup of herbal tea.
Breakfast : a plate of grated carrot salad, chopped apples, raisins and walnuts, a cup of green tea.
Second breakfast : 30 g of candied pineapple.
Lunch : 1 potato, boiled in a uniform, 250 g of baked fish, a glass of any freshly squeezed juice.
Snack : 80 g carrot sticks.
Dinner : 200 g of grilled turkey meat, 100 g of boiled broccoli, a cup of dried fruit broth.
Breakfast : 2 poached eggs, a handful of pine nuts, a cup of black tea.
Lunch : 3 apples.
Lunch : a plate of vegetable salad with tuna, a handful of hazelnuts, a glass of berry compote.
Afternoon snack : 40 g dried apricots.
Dinner : 200 g of grilled beef, 100 g of stewed zucchini with cherry tomatoes, 2 peaches, a cup of green tea.
Breakfast : 200 g of scrambled eggs with pieces of bacon, 50 g of any berries (frozen if not in season), a glass of orange juice (fresh).
Second breakfast : 2 stalks of celery, a handful of cashew nuts, 100 ml of still mineral water.
Lunch : A bowl of cold tomato soup, 1 slice of whole grain bread, 2 apples, a cup of green tea.
Snack : 50 g unsalted pistachios.
Dinner : 2 steamed salmon steaks, 150 g of boiled cauliflower, a cup of black tea.
Breakfast : a plate of fruit salad, a handful of almonds, a cup of chamomile tea.
Second breakfast : 50 jerky beef, a glass of juice.
Lunch : 250 g of Peking cabbage salad, boiled eggs and shrimps, 100 g of fried rabbit meat, a cup of green tea with lemon.
Afternoon snack : a handful of walnuts with raisins.
Dinner : 1 chicken of tobacco with ginger, a cup of black tea.
Breakfast : 200 g of boiled chilled chicken breast, 2 cucumbers, 4 cherry tomatoes, a glass of apple juice.
Lunch : 1 ripe banana and mango.
Lunch : a plate of vegetable soup, 150 g of beef stew with vegetables, 2 kiwis, a cup of green tea.
Snack : 50 g of prunes.
Dinner : 200 g of boiled fish, a plate of fresh vegetable salad with herbs, a cup of black tea.
Breakfast : 200 g omelet with tomatoes and herbs, a handful of any berries, a cup of linden tea.
Second breakfast : a plate of apple and grated carrot salad, a glass of still mineral water.
Lunch : 250 g of oven-baked chicken fillet, 4 cucumbers, a celery stalk, a cup of black tea.
Afternoon snack : 2 eggs (hard boiled).
Dinner : 200 g of grilled turkey meat, 3 tomatoes, a handful of nuts, a glass of juice.
Thanks to the paleo diet, it is possible to normalize metabolism, reduce weight, improve the functioning of internal organs, and get rid of some chronic diseases. Since the main positions in the diet belong to protein products, it is suitable for people leading an active lifestyle and athletes (protein allows you to build muscle structures). In addition, protein saturates well.
List of all protein products
Another important nutritional factor in this diet is fruits and vegetables.They are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants and fiber. The first – help to neutralize the action of free radicals, and the second – are involved in cleansing the intestines.
The benefits of fruits, vegetables and berries
Essential fatty acids obtained from nuts and seeds help to normalize metabolic processes and assimilate important elements from food.
The big plus of the diet is that there is no need to count calories – it is only important to correctly form your diet.Another important advantage of this technique is the rejection of artificial additives (this has the most beneficial effect on health).
Cons of diet
This diet also has several disadvantages. Since the diet is based on protein foods, the kidneys are exposed to high stress.
This meal plan is not suitable for vegetarians either – habitual sources of vegetable protein (legumes) are excluded by the diet, and vegetarians do not eat meat. Based on this, a protein deficiency may develop.
Another important disadvantage of this technique is the low amount of carbohydrates. This leads to the appearance of weakness and to a deterioration in brain activity (it is difficult for a person to concentrate, remember a large amount of information, etc.).
90,000 Paleo diets: pros and cons | FPA
Written by – Brian St. Pierre.
Translation by Sergey Strukov.
We have all not lived in caves for a long time, but most of us have heard of the paleo or “caveman” diet. You may have even tried it. Some meat here, some fresh vegetables there. Possibly cereals or unprocessed food. This is a cool idea that captures the imagination. But is it right? Does it work? We will consider these questions in the article.
Let’s go first
- define what belongs to the paleo diet
- explain the features of hunter-gatherers
- consider how and what is actually inherited in the diet.After that, let’s take a critical look at the ideas and evidence.
Then questions await us:
- What does paleo promise?
- What evidence is there to support ancestral eating habits?
- What factors are causing our chronic health problems in the twenty-first century?
- Is the paleo diet really primitive?
- What does the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) tell us?
Finally, we present a comprehensive conclusion:
- what you have to do with all this?
The paleo diet, or “primordial” nutrition, is based on two central ideas:
- We are adapted to the consumption of certain types of food;
- To stay healthy, strong and looking good, we must eat like our ancestors.
A Brief History of Nutrition
Our ancient relatives, the most ancient primates, lived 60 million years ago. And like most primates nowadays, they ate mainly fruits, leaves, and insects.
About 2.6 million years ago, at the dawn of the Paleolithic era, the situation began to change. Early human ancestors acquired an opposed thumb and greater brain adaptations. They began using stone tools and fire, with the result that they slowly and gradually changed their diet.
By the time truly modern humans came on the scene, about 50,000 years ago, our ancestors were omnivorous, following a hunter-gatherer diet.
So, we come to the paleo diet model, which includes:
- Animals (meat, fish, reptiles, insects, etc. – as a rule, almost all parts of animals, including organs, bone marrow and cartilage)
- Animal products (e.g. eggs or honey)
- roots / tubers, leaves, flowers and stems (in other words vegetables)
- seeds and nuts, which can be eaten raw.
Recently, many Paleo proponents believe that eaters started out with the above, then gradually introduced dairy products from herbivores (mainly yogurt and other crop varieties) and a small amount of “properly cooked” legumes – that is, legumes that are soaked overnight.
What’s so special about hunter-gatherers?
Agriculture emerged in most countries of the world about 10 thousand years ago.The Neolithic has come.
Crop production and agriculture provided us with a coordinated and relatively reliable food supply, without which the development of civilization would have been impossible.
However, the ten thousand year period since the beginning of the Neolithic period is only 1% of the time that humans exist on Earth.
Many believe that the shift from a hunter-gatherer diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) to an agricultural diet (rich in grains) has given rise to our modern chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
This is the foundation of the Paleo diet and the main reason why its proponents argue that we should go back to meat and eat according to the diet of our past.
How to evaluate the nutrition of the ancients?
Of course, despite numerous remains, cooking sites, and other evidence, we do not have detailed medical records of our hunter-gatherer hominid ancestors. But we have samples of the modern population that we can take into account.
Diverse Diet World
Small populations of hunter-gatherers have a wide variety of diets, from root-eating Kung seeds and nuts to the vegetable-eating Kitawans from Papua New Guinea to meat and fat-loving Inuit from the Arctic. Food sources are varied and likely reflect the significant differences in the diets of our prehistoric ancestors, arising simply from the availability of food in the area where we live: mostly vegetable (in the tropics) and mostly animal (in the Arctic), plus all intermediate options.
Despite dietary variations around the world, most Paleolithic people appear to have consumed three times as much food as the typical American. Compared to the average American family today, Paleolithic people ate more fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals, and much less saturated fat and sodium.
Figure 1. How location influences the diet of the hunter-gatherer.Shown is the proportion of certain food groups in the diet. Source: JenChristiansen (ScientificAmerican).
The inhabitants of Kitava Island (Papua New Guinea) are probably the most extensively researched hunter-gatherer settlement.
According to Dr. Staffan Lindeberg, who has carefully studied their habits, the Ktavans eat exclusively:
- starchy fruits (yams, sweet potatoes, taro, tapioca)
- fruits (banana, papaya, pineapple, mango, guava, watermelon, pumpkin)
- fish and seafood
Kitavans are healthy and robust, they are free of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and acne, despite the fact that most of them smoke!
Things are going well when you eat like a caveman 🙂
What does paleo promise?
The main idea of the primitive diet is our construction (not a pun), like that of ancient man. But man’s ancient genetic “blueprint” does not match 21st century diets and lifestyles.As a result, our health and well-being suffer.
The Paleo Diet is based on some key evolutionary assumptions:
- Paleolithic hunter-gatherers were strong and healthy, if they did not die young from an infectious disease or an accident, then they lived as long as we do now.
- When Paleolithic hunter-gatherers moved on to Neolithic agriculture, they became relatively weaker, short, and clumsy.
- Modern hunter-gatherers are healthy, but their health deteriorates when they switch to a modern diet.
Despite speculation based on evolutionary trends, hunter-gatherers weren’t actually in perfect health. They were undoubtedly home to various parasites and were also susceptible to many infectious diseases.
A recent study, published in the Lancet, examined 137 mummies from various societies from Egypt, Peru, the US Southwest and the Aleutian Islands for signs of atherosclerosis.Signs of probable or present atherosclerosis were found in 47 out of 137 mummies in each geographic region, despite the different occupation – farmer or hunter-gatherer. All had arteries involved, regardless of lifestyle.
A reason to think.
Diseases of industrialization and wealth
While atherosclerosis can be a common human problem, there is no doubt that the “diseases of affluence” (obesity, diabetes and CVD) have skyrocketed over the past 50 years in industrialized countries like the United States, especially when compared to the non-industrial population.
Over the past century – a period that is certainly too short for significant genetic adaptation – industrialization and technology have fundamentally changed the way we live and eat. Today the average American lives on packaged and commercially prepared foods. Rich in starch and refined sugars, saturated in fat and sodium, these foods are so tasty that they suppress normal satiety signals and promote overeating.
Consider six of the most popular sources of calories in the US today: cereal-based desserts (cakes, pastries, etc.), yeast-based breads, chicken-based dishes (and that doesn’t mean fried chicken), sweetened and alcoholic drinks, and pizza.
These are not primitive products. Not foods that any nutritional expert would recommend, regardless of dietary beliefs. So when the Paleo proponents claim that modern Western food is unhealthy for us, they are absolutely right.
Is the paleo diet really paleo?
There is no single “paleo”
Our ancestors lived practically all over the world, in incredibly diverse conditions and ate extremely varied.
In most cases, the primitive diet included more vegetables and fruits than most people eat today. Therefore, if we want to be healthy, we must do as they do and consume more of them. Right?
Maybe you are right… but not necessarily for the reasons given by the paleo diet advocates.
First of all, due to the fact that modern fruits and vegetables are not the same as our ancestors ate. Early vegetables and fruits were often bitter, much smaller and more difficult to harvest, and many were poisonous. Over time, when breeding, we gave the plants the necessary properties: larger fruits, smaller seeds, sweeter pulp with less natural toxins. We have also increased the diversity within individual plant species – created new varieties with a common origin (for example, hundreds of potato or tomato varieties from several of the original varieties).
In addition, most modern animal products are not what they used to be. Beef steak (even grass fed) is not the same as bison steak or deer meat. This does not make modern produce or modern meats good or bad in nature. It’s just that meat is different from almost anything available in the Paleolithic.
Therefore, the assertion that we should eat vegetables, fruits and meat because we are evolutionarily adapted to eat these foods is somewhat suspicious.The foods we eat today did not exist during the Paleolithic!
Cereals and cereals
Paleo proponents argue that our ancestors’ diet could not have included many grains, legumes, or dairy products. They also believe that the past 10 thousand years of agriculture is not enough to adapt to these “new” products.
The argument is compelling, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:
- Recent studies of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, using more flexible methods of analysis, have shown that ancient people may have started consuming cereals and cereals before the beginning of the Paleolithic era – more than 90,996 three or even four million years ago!
- Further research discovered granules of grains and cereals on stone chairs at least 90,996 105 thousand years ago.
- At the same time, grain granules on grinding tools from all over the world show that Paleolithic people widely practiced turning grains into flour more than 90,996 30 thousand years ago.
In other words, the idea that people of the Paleolithic never ate grains and cereals seems to be somewhat exaggerated.
Are beans really bad for you?
Cereals aren’t the only plant species that the paleo diet restricts.Paleo adherents also recommend avoiding legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, lentils) for the same reasons.
But the idea of limited availability of legumes or low consumption in the Paleolithic, like the argument that humans did not eat grains, is false. A 2009 survey found that our Paleolithic ancestors not only consumed legumes, they were an important part of their diet! (Even our primate “cousins”, including chimpanzees, are seen consuming beans.)
Legumes are found in Paleolithic sites around the world, and in some cases are recognized as the dominant type of plant food available.In fact, the evidence for the consumption of wild legumes by Paleolithic humans is as strong as for any plant-based food.
What about antinutrient substances?
Paleo proponents have suggested another reason to avoid grains and legumes: they contain high amounts of anti-nutrients, which supposedly make their nutritional value negligible. There is only one problem with this argument. He’s wrong.
Research shows that the benefits of legumes far outweigh the effects of anti-nutrient substances, especially when you consider the fact that cooking eliminates most of the anti-nutritional effects.
In particular, the content of lectins and protease inhibitors is significantly reduced during cooking. When prepared, these chemicals can be beneficial to us. Lectins are able to reduce tumor growth, while protease inhibitors have anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic effects.
Grains, nuts, and legumes are abundant in antinutrients that can form compounds with minerals such as zinc and iron and interfere with their absorption.Is this reason enough to avoid grains and legumes?
While phytic acid can be toxic if consumed with significant consumption, it provides the following benefits in moderation:
- exhibits antioxidant activity
- protects DNA from damage
- probiotic (food for bacteria)
- has an antitumor effect
- reduces the bioavailability of heavy metals such as cadmium and lead.
And with a blended diet that includes other nutrient-rich whole foods, phytic acid is unlikely to cause problems.
In fact, almost all foods contain both nutrients and anti-nutrients – especially plant foods. For example, “extremely” healthy foods such as spinach, Swiss chard, many berries, and dark chocolate are sources of oxalate, an antinutrient that inhibits calcium absorption.Green tea and red wine contain tannins – also antinutrients that inhibit the absorption of zinc and iron. Etc.
In general, phytic acid and other so-called antinutrients are likely to have a sweet spot (like most nutrients):
- Limiting intake or low intake of a nutrient can cause deficiency.
- Consuming in moderation is more likely to be beneficial.
Excessive consumption can be dangerous (
see more about phytates).
Cereals and inflammation
Another argument of the Paleo diet is that eating grains can cause inflammation.
The claim may be true for people with celiac disease (about 1% of the population) and for gluten-sensitive but non-celiac patients (estimated at about 10%, if such a phenomenon exists at all), but in general, research does not seem to support the argument about the effect antinutrients.
In fact, the review study concluded:
- whole grains can reduce inflammation
- processed grains can increase inflammation.
In other words, the handling appears to be the problem, not the crops themselves. Meanwhile, controlled studies consistently show that eating grains, whether processed or whole, does not affect inflammation at all!
So what should we do?
In the worst case, untreated grains are neutral when it comes to inflammation.All about cereals and
Grains of Truth).
And to summarize, a substantial body of evidence from peer-reviewed and controlled studies shows that eating whole grains and legumes improves our health, including:
- improving the ratio of blood lipids
- improving blood glucose control
- reducing inflammation
- lowering the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Eliminating these essential foods from our diet to fit someone’s dietary ideology seems to be a bad idea.
Evolution of the human gastrointestinal tract
In paleo circles, you can sometimes hear that the world has changed in countless ways over the past 10 thousand years, while our genes have changed little. This means that we can thrive in a world with conditions similar to the Paleolithic era.
Quite frankly, evolution and gene expression work differently.If humans and other organisms can only thrive in the circumstances in which their predecessors lived, then life would not last very long.
There are plenty of examples of our evolution over the past 10 thousand years. For example, over the past 8,000 years or so, approximately 40% of us have developed the ability to consume milk for life. As a species, we have developed a mutation that allows us to continue producing the enzyme lactase for much longer than our ancestors could.Studies have shown that even people with poor lactose absorption are able to consume dairy products in moderation, tolerating an average of 12 grams of lactose (the lactose content in a cup of milk) with little or no symptoms. In addition, the recently emerging science of epigenetics shows that the “general plan” is not enough, and genes can be turned on or off using various physiological and environmental signals.
Features of the intestine
Over the millennia, our digestive system has adapted to processing low-calorie, nutrient-poor, and presumably high-fiber foods.Meanwhile, Western food is high in calories, low in fiber and high in fat. Our genes only produce the enzymes needed to break down starch, simple sugars, most proteins and fats. They are not well suited to handle the constant influx of chicken nuggets, Tater Tots, and ice cream.
How is it that we are still able to digest food, albeit sometimes imperfect?
Thanks to the trillions of bacteria living in our gut.These friendly critters interact with our food in a variety of ways, helping us break down tough plant fibers, releasing bound phytonutrients and antioxidants, and helping us metabolize many important compounds.
We currently have no direct evidence as to which species of bacteria flourished during the Paleolithic, but we can be pretty sure that microbial communities did not match up exactly to modern ones. The reason for this phenomenon is that bacteria adapt and develop much faster than that of human genes.And that’s good news for us. This helps explain why, even if ancient man did not consume grains, legumes, dairy, and other relatively modern agricultural products, we can still thrive on today’s diet – with at least a little help from our bacterial friends.
Through the Human Microbiome Project and other significant research projects around the world, we now know that trillions of organisms, thousands of different species, inhabit the human body.In fact, the overall genetic makeup of these little creatures is at least 100 times our own! (In fact, we are only 1% human. Think about it.)
This wide genetic diversity ensures that our gastrointestinal tract can quickly adapt to changes in diet and lifestyle. A single meal can change the kind of bacteria that inhabit our intestines. And just a few days of new nutrition can cause significant changes in the bacterial populations of your gastrointestinal tract.
The diversity, complexity and dynamic nature of our microbiome helps explain why we feel good about one diet while others will feel better about eating differently, even though we’re 99% genetically similar! Many of us are capable of breaking down more “modern” food compounds that Paleo proponents claim we cannot tolerate simply because our gut contains bacteria that evolved to do the job.For example, some Japanese people have unique bacteria that help them digest algae. Most people will be able to alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance by consuming yogurt or other probiotic-rich supplements that will help bacteria digest the lactose. So even if you can’t naturally break down lactose well, perhaps through the right mix of foods and / or probiotic supplements, you can convince your gut bacteria to do the job for you. What’s more, the same strategy can be used for gluten intolerance.Recent studies have shown that some bacteria actually produce enzymes that break down gluten as well as phytic acid, reducing any inflammatory or anti-nutritional effects. And these are, as you know, two main reasons why people are recommended to switch to the paleo diet.
Contemporary studies of paleo
Whatever “evolutionary argument” is used by paleo proponents does not hold water. But this does not mean that the diet itself is necessarily bad.Perhaps the diet is good for other reasons that are not usually talked about. To find out, a number of studies on the paleo diet have been undertaken to test it in a controlled clinical setting. And so far, the results are promising, albeit incomplete.
Paleo vs Mediterranean Diet
The most famous of the researchers on this topic is Dr. Lindeberg, one of those who studied the Kitavan islanders. He and his colleagues conducted two clinical evaluations of the efficacy of the paleo diet.
In their first assessment, they recruited volunteers with diabetes or pre-diabetes and offered them one of two diets:
- “Paleolithic” food with an emphasis on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, starchy roots, eggs and nuts.
- Mediterranean food with a focus on whole grains, low fat dairy products, fish, oils and margarine.
After 12 weeks, the Mediterranean food group lost fat and improved their diabetes scores.In four out of nine subjects, the blood sugar levels characteristic of diabetes at the start of the study had returned to normal by the end of the experiment. This is a very good result, the participants must be satisfied. But the members of the “paleogroup” were even more fortunate. They lost 70% more fat than the “Mediterranean” group and also normalized their sugar levels. In fact, all 10 people achieved normal blood sugar levels at the time of the study’s conclusion. In any case, this is an amazing result.
These volunteers currently have mild, initial diabetes.
In a second study involving long-term diabetics, the paleo diet did not cure them, but significantly improved their condition.
Other studies have shown:
- the paleo diet is more satiating on a calorie basis than the Mediterranean diet;
- The paleo diet improves blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and blood lipid profile.
However, there is one caveat: like most low-carb diets, macronutrients (especially protein) have not been matched. The Paleogroup consumed significantly more protein than other dietary groups. A high amount of protein helps maintain muscle density and strength, stay lean, and feel full from food. Thus, we are not just comparing apples to oranges, with differences in protein intake, it is more like comparing grains and goat meat.Literally.
The paleo diet may indeed be the best meal plan, but it’s hard to know without head-to-head comparisons, with similar macronutrients and calories.
Conclusions and recommendations
Is the Paleo Diet Right?
Despite the flaws in the evolutionary rationale, ultimately the Paleo Diet is correct rather than not.
- Paleostyle nutrition includes whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other healthy fats, which greatly improves the average Western diet.
- The paleostyle of nutrition has been shown to be extremely effective in improving the condition of certain chronic diseases. This in itself is a huge plus.
- The paleostyle of nutrition has increased our awareness of how processed and bad many types of food are in the 21st century.
However, we need to do more rigorous (carefully planned) research before drawing final conclusions.
What are the problems?
Despite its obvious advantages over the typical Western diet, the Paleo diet has some disadvantages:
- Evidence to exclude dairy, legumes and grains is (yet) insufficient. As a nutritional consultant, I cannot say that there is “one recipe that fits all.” Of course, some people should avoid dairy and gluten, and reduce their intake of grains and legumes.But for most of us, we can improve our appearance, well-being and performance without completely eliminating these foods.
- Evolutionary arguments don’t hold up. The human body is not just a set of adaptations to life in the Paleolithic era. Each of us is a dynamic set of hereditary traits (and microorganisms) that have been acquired, transformed, lost and regained from the beginning of life itself. Changes have also taken place over the past 10 thousand years and will not stop in the near future.
- More broadly, strictly following a list of “good” and “bad” or “allowed” and “prohibited” foods is generally problematic for most people. This approach often causes anxiety and all-or-nothing thinking. Perhaps this lends false confidence in the short term. But the strategy is less effective in the long run – because, ultimately, self-confidence diminishes.
This explains the evolution of the paleo diet itself that we are observing.
This is evolution, baby
Many paleo proponents have recently come to understand and encourage the addition of starch in moderation (although there are fewer choices than I would prefer), some dark chocolate, red wine, and “non-grain” alcohols (such as tequila), and milk (with provided that livestock are fed with grass). These supplements make life much more enjoyable and healthy eating more attractive and attainable. In fact, this new “leniency” may partly explain why the paleo diet continues to gain traction in the general population.Ultimately, sanity and your personal preference are more important than any specific food list, antinutrient avoidance, or evolutionary theory.
What to do now?
Think of the benefits of the ancestral lifestyle, including fresh food, fresh air, lots of movement, good sleep, and a strong social network. How many of them could you get in the current environment?
Consider moving away from processed life and 21st century foods to a choice that better suits the needs and preferences of your “ancient” body.Find out a little more about your ancestors. Evolution is cool. Dig into Your Roots: Where did your ancestors come from? How did they eat in ancient times? 23AndMe can tell
how much is in your DNA from a Neanderthal.
Be simpler and think sanely. Making a few good things even better (sleep a little more or eat more fresh vegetables) is much better than trying to make everything “perfect”.
Stay critical and informed. Avoid dogmatic or cultic thinking. Be skeptical. Look for evidence. Keep asking questions. Eating like ancestors is a very good idea and may be more or less correct; just use your later emerging prefrontal cortex (your “thinking” brain) when considering all options.
Help your “old” body (and trillions of little helpers) get the job done. Our bodies are steady.We would not become one of the dominant species on the planet by being finicky and delicate like flowers. However, think about how you can nourish your body optimally, giving it and your microbiome the best chances for survival and prosperity.
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