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. 

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This chipotle-infused dip is going to be spicy, but not so spicy that your eyes water. It’s balanced out by the butternut squash, which has a nice calming effect on the taste buds. There’s also thyme, cinnamon, and chili powder adding to the mix of flavors here, making this a multidimensional dip that is great for carrot sticks, raw broccoli pieces, strips of bell pepper, or any of the chip recipes found on this page. They also mention that apple slices works as a good dipping tool for this particular dip.
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith is against industrial farming. She spent 20 years as a vegan, and now reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms. And as all the neolithic foods we avoid are produced on industrial farms, she is against the foods we avoid. Here's a well thought out review by Eric Wargo: Clubbing Vegetarians Over the Head With the Truth.
No grains? No problem. Paleo eaters may shun grains, processed vegetable oils, and refined sugars, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying plenty of delicious dishes—and creating some downright ingenious recipe substitutions. Whether you’re a longtime primal-eating fanatic or just curious about what it’s like to go back to dietary basics, we’ve got 39 delicious Paleo-approved snacks for whenever hunger strikes.
These crackers are easy to prepare and it’s always a good idea to have a crunchy food around to munch on. These are very versatile, you can use them to scoop up any dip you create, or you can make a chicken salad and use them for that as well. They only have three ingredients, so it’s easy enough to keep stocked up and since it doesn’t take long to make these you don’t have to worry about storing them you can just make them as you need them so they’re fresh and crispy.
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.
Paleo is an ancestral approach that prioritizes eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. At its core, Paleo is about trying to eat real, naturally occurring ingredients that are healthful rather than harmful. Biologically, our bodies respond best to real, whole, nutrient-dense foods like plants, meat, and seafood—all of them packed with the nutrients our bodies evolved to thrive on. It was only after industrialized food production and lab-engineered edibles took over our diets that the ”diseases of civilization“ exploded. Today, wheat, soy, sugar, and highly processed foods continue to drive up rates of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. But by getting back to eating real food, we can stay healthier and happier.

An Interview with Ward Nicholson now has three parts on the web. Good overview of man's diet over the past 65 million years. Long but highly recommended reading. First published in Chet Day's "Health & Beyond" newsletter. Now part of a very comprehensive Beyond Vegetarianism site. Every argument that your vegetarian friends use to avoid meat for health reasons is debunked here.
Now, there are lots of people who feel iffy about snacking. And I get that. The snacks many of us were brought up and traditionally reach for (animal crackers, pretzels, cheese flavored crackers) are kind of just filling up the belly instead of actually feeding the body what it is actually asking for...which is nutrients and protein! Since moving our family to a mostly-Paleo way of eating a few years ago, our snacking game has totally changed!  Out with the starchy crackers. In with real food, nutrient dense nibbles! Nibbles that a little growing body will actually put to good use! That will actually keep them going until their next meal....with their sanity (and your's) intact.
Thank you for posting this! I have been practicing the paleo diet on and off for a few months and getting little cravings in between is hard because I know I can’t eat junk. This saves a lot of time and energy and I feel better knowing there are fun and easy paleo snacks to make without breaking your diet! Do you have any other ideas that may be easy and quick to make to save time and energy? Thanks :)
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.
Research into the weight loss effects of the paleolithic diet has generally been of poor quality.[10] One trial of obese postmenopausal women found improvements in weight and fat loss after six months, but the benefits had ceased by 24 months; side effects among participants included "weakness, diarrhea, and headaches".[10] In general, any weight loss caused by the diet is merely the result of calorie restriction, rather than a special feature of the diet itself.[10]

Sweden's Staffan Lindeberg has a home page Paleolithic Diet in Medical Nutrition [archive.org]. A recent study of Staffan's has A Paleolithic diet improving glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Also see his first web page, an overview of his Kitava study: On the Benefits of Ancient Diets. Now he has a book Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. Here's a book review: Easy to Read, Informative, Packed with Footnotes on Studies.
Evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk writes that the idea that our genetic makeup today matches that of our ancestors is misconceived, and that in debate Cordain was "taken aback" when told that 10,000 years was "plenty of time" for an evolutionary change in human digestive abilities to have taken place.[4]:114 On this basis Zuk dismisses Cordain's claim that the paleo diet is "the one and only diet that fits our genetic makeup".[4]
Five roots, both bitter and sweet, are staples in the Hiwi diet, as are palm nuts and palm hearts, several different fruits, a wild legume named Campsiandra comosa, and honey produced by several bee species and sometimes by wasps. A few Hiwi families tend small, scattered and largely unproductive fields of plantains, corn and squash. At neighboring cattle ranches in a town about 30 kilometers away, some Hiwi buy rice, noodles, corn flour and sugar. Anthropologists and tourists have also given the Hiwi similar processed foods as gifts (see illustration at top).
Gluten is a protein found in things like rye, wheat, and barley. It’s now being said that much of our population may be gluten-intolerant (hence all the new “gluten-free!” items popping up everywhere).  Over time, those who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions from consuming gluten: dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux, and more.[2]

One thing that can be perceived negatively though is that most of the more elaborate snack options, while delicious, take more time to be able to enjoy than simply grabbing a box at the grocery store and eating its contents. Unfortunately, not many ready-made snacking options available in stores are made of only non-toxic and nutritious ingredients. Remember that the extra time spent in the kitchen is a very small price to pay for lifelong health and well-being. Fortunately for us though, as the Paleo movement is getting more and more popular, some high-quality products are starting to become available online. For example, Steve’s PaleoGoods is a line of products available right now that offer grain-free and sugar-free Paleo snacks like beef jerky and trail mixes.
Similarly, it is never too late to improve the quality of your nutrition and health. For those mature-age tribe members, if you have a specific health condition or physical limitation it is important (and we strongly advise) to consult with your trusted and knowledgeable health care provider and be regularly monitored to ascertain your results. Nevertheless, it is never too late to improve the quality of your nutrition and health. As we age, the nutrient density of our diets should change but is always just as important as it is at any age. A Paleo diet will generally support every organ and system in the body; including the brain, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and digestive - all of which tend to become compromised as we age in today’s world.
Joel Runyon is the founder of Ultimate Paleo Guide and CEO of Paleo Meal Plans. He's a precision nutrition, and Gym Jones Level 1 certified, and helped millions of people get healthy and lose weight since 2012. Joel is also an ultra runner and endurance athlete - and in 2017, he became the the youngest person to run an ultra marathon on every continent in the world to build 7 schools with Pencils of Promise in developing countries.Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Athlinks and read his full bio here.
The China Study is frequently cited when criticizing the Paleo Diet – focusing on a vegetarian diet and consuming rice is healthier than the Paleo Diet. I respectfully disagree with that nutritional philosophy and strongly disagree with the conclusions drawn from that book [7], and will leave you to make your own conclusions based on your own self-experimentation.
We’ve spent most of our time adapting to the food we ate before the Agricultural Revolution: animal foods, wild vegetables, fruits in season, along with limited amounts of nuts & seeds. Our bodies are built to consume these foods, but this is not what our diets look like today. Paleo is based on the idea that this mismatch between our bodies and our diet might be the reason for modern health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Just like any other animal, humans suffer when we stray from our natural diet, but when we return to it, everything changes. Food stops making us sick, and starts making us strong, energetic, and vibrant with health. More than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
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.
Cordain explains that high intake of fruits and vegetables is one of best ways to reduce chances of cancer and heart disease. He notes that protein has twice the calorie burning effect of fat and carbs and is more satiating than both. He explains that starch, fats, sugars, and salts together cause us to keep eating. So if we limit our diet to fruits and vegetables and/or meat, we’ll stop eating when we’re full. And if you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll lose weight and won’t get fat. And as you lose weight, your cholesterol will improve (regardless of what you eat). This all makes sense and can’t really be disputed. If you want to lose weight, the Paleo diet will get you there and probably quickly. But Cordain’s hypothesis applied to long-term health falls short.
The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages by Loren Cordain. Also contains two weeks of meal plans and shopping and pantry tips. Helps you lose weight and boost your health and energy by focusing on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Note that this is a very low-fat book and is being marketed as such. Published December 7, 2010.

Cordain explains that high intake of fruits and vegetables is one of best ways to reduce chances of cancer and heart disease. He notes that protein has twice the calorie burning effect of fat and carbs and is more satiating than both. He explains that starch, fats, sugars, and salts together cause us to keep eating. So if we limit our diet to fruits and vegetables and/or meat, we’ll stop eating when we’re full. And if you stop eating when you’re full, you’ll lose weight and won’t get fat. And as you lose weight, your cholesterol will improve (regardless of what you eat). This all makes sense and can’t really be disputed. If you want to lose weight, the Paleo diet will get you there and probably quickly. But Cordain’s hypothesis applied to long-term health falls short.
Cooking becomes an overwhelming chore when we get too wrapped up in complicated, time-consuming recipes. To be practical and sustainable, ancestral nutrition has to be easy. As a working mom, I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts in the kitchen, and often rely on modern conveniences that cavemen never enjoyed, like pressure cookers, slow cookers, and food processors. (I also appreciate indoor plumbing, for what it’s worth.)
Yes, dark chocolate can be Paleo, and yes, many Paleo experts actually recommend dark chocolate in moderation when it comes to healthy snacks. (Dark chocolate is even included in our 50 best healthy eating tips of all time because it’s packed with antioxidants and has been proven to boost brain health and curb cravings.) But not all dark chocolate meets Paleo snack standards. Look for unsweetened dark chocolate or baking chocolate with 80 percent or more cocoa. EatingEvolved and Primal Kitchen both make dairy-free and certified organic Paleo dark chocolate bars.
Over the past decade, Paleo has grown from a relatively underground movement to a diet that dominates news headlines, bestselling books, and even products in the grocery store. But despite its popularity, the scientific rationale for Paleo remains wildly misunderstood and misrepresented. For example, we might know that grains are a no-go, that vegetables are fantastic, and that dietary fat is nothing to be afraid of (despite years of the low-fat push from various health authorities), but why are these guidelines in place? Here’s a hint: the answer has little to do with reenacting what our early ancestors ate, and everything to do with what modern science says is best for our bodies!

photo sources: cavemen elephant hunt, caveman cooking over fire, cavemen hunt paleo bear, milk truck logo, darth vader vendor, storm trooper tomato, lego cook, chef and lego pig, lego explorer, lego muffin, lego bread and carbs, frozen caveman grok lego, lego clock, lego caveman forging for food, caveman with wheel, darth vader and ostrich lego, easing into water lego, lego man with pasta
Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer.
Yes, dark chocolate can be Paleo, and yes, many Paleo experts actually recommend dark chocolate in moderation when it comes to healthy snacks. (Dark chocolate is even included in our 50 best healthy eating tips of all time because it’s packed with antioxidants and has been proven to boost brain health and curb cravings.) But not all dark chocolate meets Paleo snack standards. Look for unsweetened dark chocolate or baking chocolate with 80 percent or more cocoa. EatingEvolved and Primal Kitchen both make dairy-free and certified organic Paleo dark chocolate bars.

Protein is a staple of the caveman diet- specifically options that are grass-fed, wild 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 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.

While there is wide variability in the way the paleo diet is interpreted,[6] the diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol or coffee.[1][additional citation(s) needed] The diet is based on avoiding not just processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture.[3] The ideas behind the diet can be traced to Walter Voegtlin,[7] and were popularized in the best-selling books of Loren Cordain.[8]


The Paleo diet reduces inflammation and supports normal functioning of the immune system.  Foods that are inherently inflammatory are avoided, removing this unnecessary stimulus for increased inflammation. By providing the essential nutrients that the immune system requires to regulate itself, an overactive immune system can be modulated.  By providing the essential nutrients that the immune system needs to function optimally, a suppressed immune system can recover.

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Recipes include: Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herbs and Garlic, Salmon Chowder with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes Stuffed with Ground Bison and Eggs, and Baked Chocolate Custard. Recipes are simple and have limited ingredients. Complaints are the book is stuffed with unnecessary photos and proofreading could have been better, e.g. oven temperatures were left out. And recipes are not truly paleo. Despite what is on the cover dairy is used in some recipes. The Amazon reviews average to 4+ stars.
Gluten is a protein found in things like rye, wheat, and barley. It’s now being said that much of our population may be gluten-intolerant (hence all the new “gluten-free!” items popping up everywhere).  Over time, those who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions from consuming gluten: dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux, and more.[2]
The Paleolithic or “Paleo” diet seeks to address 21st century ills by revisiting the way humans ate during the Paleolithic era more than 2 million years ago. Paleo proponents state that because our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since the Stone Age, we should eat foods available during that time to promote good health. Our predecessors used simple stone tools that were not advanced enough to grow and cultivate plants, so they hunted, fished, and gathered wild plants for food. If they lived long enough, they were believed to experience less modern-day diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease because of a consistent diet of lean meats and plant foods along with a high level of physical activity from intensive hunting. However, the life expectancy of our predecessors was only a fraction of that of people today.
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