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A Definitive Guide to The Paleo Diet

Updated on March 6, 2021
BodystrongBen profile image

I have a masters degree in sports science and around 10 years experience in personal training and sports research.


When it comes to our diets, as well as worrying about our weight, we should also be very concerned about what the foods and drinks that we consume on a regular basis are doing to our bodies. Food allergies and intolerance are now very common, particularly ones such as gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and lactose intolerance. As debilitating as these food allergies and intolerance's are, it’s particularly interesting to note that we haven’t actually been eating and drinking this produce for all that long. Experts believe that, in order to enjoy optimal health and wellness, we should go back and eat and drink similar produce to that which our caveman ancestors used to consume. This is where the paleo diet factors into the picture.

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What is The Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is not actually a diet at all. The word ‘diet’ implies a quick fix, whereas paleo is very much a lifestyle. The paleo diet is basically a diet protocol in which we consume food and drink very similar to that which Neanderthals used to consume way back in the Palaeolithic era more than a million years ago. The paleo diet is sometimes known as the caveman diet and it places an emphasis on eating wholesome, natural, unprocessed foods very similar to that which cavemen used to eat. The diet is not specifically designed to promote weight loss. Instead, it helps to promote optimal health and wellness, increased energy levels, and a better quality of life. Because the foods are natural and healthy however, as long as you don’t go crazy with your calories you’ll find that weight loss is an unexpected bonus.


How to Eat Like a Caveman

Back during our hunter-gatherer days, we had no farms, no agriculture, no convenience stores, and no endless supplies of food. The foods and drinks that we consumed had to be found, foraged, or killed. Thankfully, we as a whole are now a lot more civilised than our Neanderthal ancestors (debatable, we know) so thankfully that doesn’t mean that we should head out into the wilderness, hunt down a deer and feast on its raw flesh along with a handful of wild berries and some nuts we found growing in the forest. What it does mean, is that we eat plenty of meat, fish, nuts, seeds, berries, and other similar produce to what cavemen would have eaten. Basically, if the food is grown or processed, it’s off the menu.

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Why Paleo?

Most common food allergies and intolerance's are heavily linked with processed foods which we’ve not been eating for very long. We have only been farming for around 10,000 years, and it is believed that, from an evolutionary perspective, our digestive systems are not yet used to these specific types of foods. The average Neanderthal wasn’t obese, the average Neanderthal was lean, athletic, and muscular. The average Neanderthal also did not grow wheat or grains, grind them, and process them to make foods such as breads and pastas.


What Can You Eat?

Some of the main foods you can consume on paleo include:

  • Red meat
  • White meat
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats
  • Natural oils
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Water

What Can't You Eat?

Some of the foods which you cannot consume on paleo include:

  • Dairy (some paleo followers allow themselves small amounts of milk)
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Vegetable oils


Now this is not a type of diet that i would normally recommend to clients and it's something that i had to do quite a lot of research to write this article. I do believe, however, that many people could find it beneficial and some people may be following a paleo diet unintentionally. It's also important to note that following a paleo diet would usually lead to a physically lean body, as most of the foods you cut out are the usual ingredients of obesity. On top of this, Mat Fraser the CrossFit games 4 time champion also uses some what of a paleo diet. On his documentary he claims he doesn't drink alcohol and ever since cutting out processed foods and sugar, he has exceeded in physical performance.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you decide to go paleo i hope it works well for you, thank you.


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