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Quick Facts about the Paleo Diet and Its Health Benefits

Quick Facts about the Paleo Diet and Its Health Benefits

Wednesday, 3 February 2016 10:47:11 Europe/London


What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleolithic diet, commonly referred to as the paleo diet, is a healthy diet that includes foods that were eaten by human beings during the Paleothic period (a pre historic period of the stone-age).

During this period pre-historic man’s diet mostly consisted of such foods that fitted the “hunter gather” profile, this included a diet based around nuts, pulses, berries, and meat.

The paleo diet excludes core food groups such as dairy products and grains which early man is universally deemed to have frowned upon or did not have access to for various reasons.

The diet has been praised for its health benefits, but also has its fair share of bad press due to the hard-line dieters following it chapter and verse, therefore cutting out key food groups that assist in modern day man’s health and wellbeing.

Here at Tom Hixson we support the health benefits of the paleo diet as long as the regime is part of a balanced diet based on eating healthy foods free of preservatives, mass production and grown as nature intended.

We will comprehensively explore the much-misunderstood subject of the paleo diet, its health benefits, what you can and can’t eat and to debunk some myths attached to this very popular diet.

What You Can’t Eat on the Paleo Diet

 Knowing what not to eat while on the paleo diet is usually easier than trying to determine what should be eaten. After all, putting yourself in the shoes of the early man who existed tens of thousands of years ago is not a mean task. Although there are certain foods that jump out at you as no-gos, others are rather subtle and even subjects of controversy among the paleo community itself. Some of the foods to avoid as you strictly adhere to this advantageous dieting lifestyle include:

1. Anything Involving Agriculture and Cultivation

Our paleolithic ancestors were obviously not farmers. Agriculture became part of the early man’s life during the Neolithic era. As such, paleo purists advise you to avoid anything involving agriculture and cultivation. Although the matter of not eating agricultural products is controversial even in the paleo community, the purists insist on not eating any agricultural products.

However, the paleo tradition has been around for so many years and has subsequently undergone different transformations and some people believe that it is fine to include naturally grown vegetables in the lean category of other paleo foods such as grass fed meat.

2. All Artificial Ingredients

It is generally believed that artificial food ingredients were not part of our ancestors menu. Therefore, paleolithic eaters avoid all artificial ingredients as they can be traced back to the recent advent of food processing technology of the 19th and 20th century and obviously not among paleo foods. Some common additives to snub include calcium sorbate, monosodium glutamate, potassium bromate, artificial colours, saccharin, sorbic acid, and aspartame.

3. Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Junk Food

It is unquestionable that our ancient ancestors did not have the scientific know-how to make oil last a whole year on the shelves. Paleolithic man was a shrewd master of survival and had little time for foods that would make him fat and slugish. Junk foods are purposely designed in factories to titillate our taste buds. Such foods are essentially devoid of real nutritional merits as they only contain fried potatoes or corn in some form or another. They are doubtless a strict no-go for paleo dieters.

There are certain oils that you can use on the paelo diet these include coconut oil, olive oil (high quality), animal fats (lard) and other plant based paleo oils. Oils are an essential part of a human’s diet as they contain good fats, medical properties and have high vitamin/mineral content.

4. Grains

The paleo diet cuts out grains and this is possibly the reason it is often misconstrued as being a gluten- or grain-free diet. In this category, avoid all wheat products such as breads, cakes, and bagels. Since grains have been part of our diet from childhood, it requires a great sense of commitment and self-discipline to go against what your mind has been conditioned with over the years. However, most people who stop eating grains after going paleo report reduced weight, better digestion, and increased energy levels.

It is not just grain food groups you need to cut out, you also need to ensure that the meat in your diet has been fed a grain free diet and if possible only eat free range grass fed meat. This meat is lean, has low amounts of saturated fats and high levels of good fats (omega 3 – EPA and DHA) and ideal for the Paelo diet. 

5. Eating Dairy – Blurred Lines

You might have to do a double take on some of these non-paleo foods as they are easily forgotten. The temptations to eat these foods are further exacerbated by the fact that they are often included in standard meals most of the time. It sounds convincing that dairy products should be included in the paleo diet as they are naturally obtained from animals.

Nonetheless, paleo sticklers hold that ancient man had no habit of milking cows and had no knack to make products such as cheese and yoghurt. Processed foods are perhaps the greatest subject of contention between liberal and purist paleo dieters.

However, the decision whether or not to eat dairy depends on how the processing has been done. Simply packaged foods that are usually on the paleo food list are okay but canned ones are absolutely out of outlawed since the paleolithic man didn’t preserve and can food for future consumption. The blurry line regarding processed foods means that even canned grass fed meat is not eligible as it has ceased to be naturally obtained. 

Dairy products must be a part of your diet, it may not have been in the traditional paleo man diet but in today’s age we need the health by products that can be obtained from dairy food groups otherwise our health and wellness may suffer.

Key in this category is calcium, a deficiency is this key mineral can affect our teeth, bones and eyesight.

Foods OK To Eat

-Fruits

-Vegetables

-Lean Meats (Grass Fed and Free-range)

-Eggs

-Seafood

-Nuts & Seeds

-Heathy Fats

Foods Not OK To Eat

-Dairy

-Grains

-Processed Food & Sugars

-Legumes

-Starches

-Alcohol

Health Benefits of a balanced Paleo Diet – Dieters & Fitness/Bodybuilders

-More efficient workouts

-Stable blood sugar levels

-Burn off stored fat

-Reduced allergies

-Better brain health

-Good cell health

-Better muscle development

-Higher concentration of vitamins and minerals

-Better energy during the day

The Science Behind These Health Benefits

-Healthier Brain – some of the proteins suggested by paleo dieters are found in wild-caught cold water fish, like salmon have omega 3 fatty acids that promote excellent brain health.

-Healthier Cells – paleo foods create a perfect balance between saturated and unsaturated fats, and this equilibrium is essential for good cell health.

-More Muscle and Less Fat – the core food on the paleo diet list is grass fed meat, which supplies the body with healthy protein and less fat, leading to more muscle and less fat.

-More vitamins and minerals – Most paleo foods such as naturally grown fruits contain vital minerals and vitamins not found in junk non-paleo foods.

-Higher levels of good fats – studies show that a diet high in monounsaturated and omega 3 fats dramatically reduce the probability of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cognitive degeneration and cancer.

Our Advice

Although some people, including respected names in medical science, have questioned the health merits of a strictly paleolithic diet, the results speak for themselves.

People who embrace this dieting approach are evidently healthier than their counterparts who eat just anything placed before them.

Our advice would be to follow the paleo diet that fits into your lifestyle and eating habits. There would be no point in picking the diet if you didn’t like eating vegetables or loved your bread.

The paleo diet should be followed as part of a balanced diet and do not fall foul of the extremists who won’t eat farmed food, dairy, etc… Dairy products and farmed foods are key to modern man’s diet, health and welfare, this is why careful consideration should be played to this diet.

We would not be able to follow this caveman diet as a “purist” as common claims that our ancestors could not have been so choosy as to eat certain select foods can be logically and sufficiently answered by drawing to the doubter’s attention to the simple fact that there were not many people around in those times, and that natural resources were not yet depleted.

In today’s age people do not have easy access to these resources and have to make do with what they can get hold of to make sure they are able to gain the health benefits that can be obtained from this pre-historic diet.

NB: Make sure to check out our range of grass fed beef such as; silverside grass fed rump, grass fed fillet steak and grass fed rump steak all from here at Tom Hixon’s online butchers.

 

Posted in Foodie News By

Emma Pearson

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