Often referred to as the Paleo or Stone Age diet, this way of eating has become increasingly popular in recent years.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a fad diet, but it certainly is a ‘fashionable diet’ and as with most things fashionable there is often a significant price tag attached.
If you have even been tempted to enter a ‘Paleo’ café you will know what I mean, you often pay top dollar to sit on concrete blocks or milk crates and eat grass…well I may be exaggerating just a little but the point is this diet can unfortunately be unnecessarily expensive.
The driving ideology behind the Paleolithic diet is the belief that this is the diet that man evolved on, the diet that is coded for in our genes, what we are biologically designed to eat naturally.
Our ancestors hunted, gathered and lived off the land only eating what they could find until the Neolithic period when agriculture and the art of processing grains revolutionized man’s diet.
Fundamental to this diet is the belief that our bodies cannot cope with recent (12 000 years’ worth) of agricultural evolution, specifically with processed grains, sugars and artificial flavorings.
Nutritionally speaking the Paleolithic diet is a sound, balanced and healthy option.
Protein can constitute up to 35% of daily energy requirements, which can concern some, however high protein, high ‘good’ fats and low carbohydrate eating plans are becoming increasingly popular and recognized as a healthier option.
Food is encouraged to be all organic, free range, wild caught and in the case of beef grass fed as opposed to grain fed and this is where the expense generally comes in.
The good news is this can be a relatively flexible eating plan that can cater for most tastes, consisting primarily of seasonal fruits, vegetables (excluding potato), eggs and poultry (chicken, duck, turkey, quail), meat including beef, lamb, pork, venison and any wild caught or collected seafood.
The exclusions are no dairy, sugars (apart from naturally occurring in fruit), grains, legumes or processed oils.
However you don’t have to follow the rules to the extreme to benefit from this healthy eating plan, a little ‘cheating’ is acceptable (just don’t tell the fanatics)!
Even gradually minimising the amount of grain based foods is a productive start.
Milk products for example are avoided with the theory that no other animal in the entire kingdom drinks milk beyond infancy, but if you can’t do without a little ‘juice of cow’ in your tea this is ok.
Deciding what is ‘paleo ok’ and what is forbidden can be a little tricky.
Peanuts for example are a great source of natural nutrients but legumes are excluded from the diet, ask the question why though and you enter an anthropological verse ideological minefield!
Do you follow a Paleo diet? Do you feel better eating this way?