While this sounds good in theory, scientists have a problem with its accuracy. “Anthropologists familiar with our Paleolithic ancestors’ behavior agree that these early humans did not follow any one style of eating. Basically, they ate whatever and whenever they could," said Neal Malik, an assistant professor at the School of Natural Health Arts and Sciences of Bastyr University. "They didn’t purposely follow a ‘clean’ diet — they just ate whatever was available to ensure survival. In fact, some scientists have gone so far as to say that early humans had a diet similar to pigs."
The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. "By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being," says Loren Cordain, PhD, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. He says the diet lessens the body's glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
TBK Fitness Program by Tamir Katz shows how to achieve fitness through a healthy, natural hunter-gatherer diet along with a comprehensive exercise program with over 60 different bodyweight exercises of varying difficulty targeting all of the muscles in the body. Also included is a detailed discussion of nutrition and the diseases of civilization based on scientific research, information on stress management and preventive medicine, recommendations on vitamin and supplement use, tips on how to make your fitness program succeed where others have failed, tips on food shopping and preparation, sample meals, and more. The Amazon reviews average to 4+ stars.
If you’re craving pasta, veggie noodles, also known as zoodles, will be your fix. Veggie noodles are basically just vegetables, most often zucchini, squash, and sweet potato, that are cut or spiraled to create a noodle-like texture and shape. Since Paleo is such a big health movement right now, veggie noodles can be found at most supermarkets, but Whole Foods has pre-spiraled and prepackaged options that make for a quick low-stress meal. Vegetables are a main staple in the Paleo diet and for good reason. They are full of vitamins and leave you feeling satisfied.
Our ancestors didn't chase cows and chickens around in the wild. They hunted game, antelopes, buffalo, and probably some animals we've never heard of that are long extinct. Their meat was generally quite lean, and provided more healthy omega 3s than meats from modern day animals, even the grass-fed ones, according to Dr. Katz. Many of the plants that thrived back then are also extinct today, making it impossible to truly follow their meal plan, he says.
A Paleolithic-oriented diet has been in existence and followed by both men and women for more than 2 million years. Our particular version of a Paleo approach to eating tends to advocate protein moderation for average adults. It is, however, important in this circumstance that a pregnant woman not overly restrict protein during the course of her pregnancy and subsequent nursing. When it comes to pregnancy and breast-feeding, we believe it is important to increase your standard recommendation for protein intake (0.8 g/kg of estimated ideal body weight — which translates to something like 50–75 grams of actual meat, fish or eggs) per meal by about 25%. Also, we believe that dietary fat and particularly fat-soluble nutrients plus extra essential fatty acids become particularly important during this time. We are also of the view that you may benefit from putting an emphasis on 100% pasture-fed meat and wild caught fish/fish eggs, etc. during this time. Traditional and (so-called) primitive societies often made a point of supplying lots of fat-soluble nutrients to both expectant and nursing mothers at this time.
To get an idea of what that means, we turned to the experts, including Loren Cordain, PhD, a professor emeritus at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the author of The Paleo Diet; Erin Holley, RD, of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio; and Lona Sandon, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
We strongly advise that you get in touch with your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or lactating to tell them exactly what you are doing before making any changes to your diet or exercise regime. Although we believe many of the dietary changes advocated through this Program could be quite beneficial, every circumstance and pregnancy is different and close, careful monitoring is advised.
As paleo guru Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
You’ll lose weight because any time you restrict entire food groups, your calorie intake tends to be lower, Sandon says. And whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you'll have weight loss, she says. (2) The focus on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables over calorie- and sodium-rich processed foods can also contribute to weight loss, though she also points out that the paleo diet wasn’t created to be a weight loss diet. (3)
Dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants and rich in good-for-you nutrients like healthy fats, iron, and magnesium. And while you can’t get those benefits from a sugary commercial candy bar, you can get them from these nibs made of pure organic cacao and nothing else. With no added sugar, these bites are a little bitter but perfect for hardcore dark chocolate fans.
The Paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence, however, that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the Paleo diet can lead to an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
The theory is our bodies were designed, and still optimized, to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. Like your hunger-gatherer forefathers, on Paleo you get all the meat from wild animals and unlimited fruits and vegetables you can eat. But no starchy vegetables (like potatoes), no legumes (like lentils or beans), no wheat, and no grains (like quinoa or corn) because those plants were invented by human beings during the agricultural revolution after our Paleolithic ancestors left the planet. You get one cheat day where you can eat whatever you want (“Occasional cheating and digressions may be just what you need to help you stick to the diet.”) No oil because it puts omega 6 and omega 3 ratios out of whack which should never exceed 2:1, except olive oil if you must. Dairy is also prohibited. And meat must come from animals that weren’t fed grains (like corn) because grains lead to inflammation and increased fat.
The Paleo diet is also not just a diet. Most people refer to it as the Paleo lifestyle or Paleo template to emphasize that this is a way of living, not a diet that you go on for a few months to lose some weight for a wedding, and that it incorporates equal focus on lifestyle factors (like sleep, stress management, activity and community; read more here), sustainability, regenerative farming practices, and environmental protection.
Move over, Doritos; there’s a new ranch chip in town and it’s actually healthy for you. These kale chips are seasoned with zesty ranch flavor from dill, garlic, and lemon juice. Plus, they’re made with only clean ingredients, unlike Doritos (hello, MSG!). Although these chips do list sugar on the ingredients panel, it only comes in at 3 grams per 1-ounce serving.
Paleo eating requires a lot of planning, prep time, and mental resolve. For instance, eating out on the diet isn't as simple as ordering chicken and a salad. Think: In what oil was the chicken cooked? Did any of the salad toppings come processed, canned, or packaged? "As with every elimination diet, it's just not doable long term," Dr. Ochner says. While weight loss is far from the sole purpose of eating paleo, going on and off of the diet can lead to big weight swings. Any yo-yo diet starts in weight loss from both muscle and fat, and usually ends with weight gain of all fat, which contributes to a slower metabolism and increased insulin resistance.
Kale chips are one of the healthiest snacks on the planet, and you don’t have to be a gourmet chef in order to get them right. The beauty of eating kale chips is that there’s no debate over whether they are Paleo or not. The ingredients are as simple as it gets: as much kale as you want with enough olive oil to coat them, and then some salt and pepper until you’re happy with the way they taste. Making them is super easy, and doesn’t take long from start to finish, maybe 20 minutes total. Eat these for a protein and fiber packed snack with lots of vitamins and minerals.
Craving chicken tenders? This healthier version of the crave-worthy crispy dish makes for a great paleo snack. By using almond flour, coconut flour, and almond milk for the batter—these protein-packed strips are way healthier than the original. But they’re still packed with flavor thanks to a tasty array of spices and the honey mustard sauce that pairs perfectly.