For a healthy lifestyle, you will have to improve your diet, speaking of which, you might have heard the term — Paleo Diet tossing around every time. This is because this diet is resurging in popularity these days and for good reasons.
Believe it or not but nowadays humans are prone to many health problems like heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Howbeit, our ancestors that used to live during stone-age never came across these types of diseases.
If you feel that it’s way back in time… then that’s exactly what a Paleo Diet is. These diets are the ones that our ancestors used to follow back in the days.
And that explains their healthy lifestyle, so if you are curious to know more about this diet and probably want an Indian version of it, then read along.
What on Earth is the Paleo Diet?
When it comes to diet, the most used term these days is — Paleo Diet, but what does it mean? Basically, Paleo diet or sometimes referred to as these names Ancient diet, Old diet, Caveman Diet, Stone-age diet, and Hunter-gatherer diet is a kind of eating ideology that our ancestors used to apply.
Meaning, during the Stone-age era or otherwise known as the Paleolithic era our ancestors relied on a sort of diet which these days is known as Paleo diet. The eating philosophy here centres around on the food sources that were accessible during the Paleolithic time.
Since at that time, there was no agricultural development (Before 10,000 years ago) humans mostly ate the foods that were available in the wild. That means, they could hunt it or gather them like vegetables, fruits, seeds, fishes, lean meats, nuts, and so forth.
Agricultural development was both boon and curse for people. Though it developed the eating habits of individuals, they became prone to other diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart problems, etc, which ceased to exist during the palaeolithic era.
This was due to the intake of Dairy products, legumes, grains, and other similar foods. As these foods were not available during the stone-age our ancestors lived a much healthier lifestyle than us.
Not only that but following a paleo diet has a ton of different advantages that we will discuss in a bit. Paleo diet also kinda implies that our anatomy and genetics have minutely changed since the stone age so inculcating this diet is a great way to promote good health.
If they lived longer than it was expected they would have not faced those health issues that we are facing these days. With that being said, life expectancy would have remained just the same as it is right now.
Be that as it may, relying on this diet will, for sure, bring immeasurable rewards in terms of your health.
How Does the Paleo Diet Works?
Paleo diet generally relies on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, fish, seeds, and nuts. The main idea behind selecting these foods is to rely on vegetables and fruits that are low in glycemic which helps in maintaining your weight.
However, there are so many controversies about the foods that were actually existing during the palaeolithic era, the variation on the diets that used to depend on the region like Tropic or Arctic, etc. This is the reason why there cannot be only one Real paleo diet.
For instance, white potatoes were considered to be in the palaeolithic era but still are not used in the diet because of the high-glycemic index. Having said that, some paleo diet allows frozen food due to their ability to keep the nutrients preserved.
Taking everything into consideration, mostly the diet relies on high protein intake, moderate fat intake, low carbs intake especially preventing the ones that are high in glycemic index, low in sugar and sodium.
Thus most of the fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats come from the seeds, fishes, olive oil, avocado, etc. These are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids that are crucial for body growth and better functioning.
In the paleo diet, the calories counting is not focused due to the fact that it is hard to follow especially if it’s the first diet change someone is making. So some paleo diets facilitate a few foods that are not used in the diet once a week. This way it keeps the individual motivated and keeps the diet palatable.
Advantages of Paleo Diet
Now, let’s get into the benefits that come with following the paleo diet, which most probably you will also reap by opting for this diet. There are many health benefits that a paleo diet promotes and they are mentioned as follows:
The most famous and best benefit of this diet is that it helps you to shred some pounds that you deliberately were waiting to get rid off. There are tons of researches conducted on people across the globe over the years and most of them have recorded that the paleo diet helps to reduce weight and burn some fat.
Some studies showed that a group of people that were following the paleo diet for almost 3 weeks lost 2.3 kilograms of weight. Another study confirmed some weight reduction and diminished abdomen outline. All in all, many types of research have proved that this diet is responsible for reducing weight, that said, diets that are similar to paleo can also be just as effective.
Thus consuming calories in moderation and exercising more can also be the solution you are looking for. Nevertheless, opting for this diet can still do the same for you.
Note:- If you do end up going to the gym for exercising then you don’t need to compromise on your supplements like BCAAs, it won’t do any harm. Though the paleo diet is all about eating the way our ancestors did, you can add the supplements to the diet so that you are not hindering your muscle growth and fitness body you’ve dreamt of.
Diabetes? No Worries!
There are no diabetes-specific diets but some study shows that following the paleo diet can help you with diabetes and manage the blood-sugar levels, lower the blood pressure, and lose some pounds.
As mentioned before, the paleo diets proscribe foods that are high on the glycemic index thus, in turn, helping with diabetes. Basically, the diet focuses on fibre, protein, and multiple vitamin-rich foods that don’t have any carbs as well as foods that increase sugar level.
Therefore, choosing a paleo diet decreases the chance of getting diabetes. They also help in improving the insulin levels, according to some studies. There is still hard evidence lacking, however, tracking the data reveals that they do help with insulin levels and diabetes.
High blood pressure poses a serious threat to your heart and can prove to be risky for people facing heart diseases. Individuals following a paleo diet have experienced maintained blood pressure as well as decreased body mass index (BMI).
Many recent studies and researches postulate that a paleo diet reduces the blood pressure and promotes the better functioning of the heart. With that being said, more concrete and extensive studies are needed to arrive on a conclusion.
As the diet excludes packaged foods and processed foods that are notorious for your heart. Furthermore, it keeps the blood pressure normal thus keeping your body and heart-healthy. In addition to this, the paleo diet reduces blood lipid profile which can improve the health of your ticker.
Autoimmune disease is those medical disorders where the body immune system mistakenly attacks the cells and starts destroying them. However, the diet plays an important role in this disorder and paleo aids with that.
There is even a niche in the paleo diet that is specifically made for this disease and is called Autoimmune Paleo Diet. Since the diet is natural and free from any harmful chemicals it helps with this disorder.
The diet also contains anti-inflammatory properties and so helps to control inflammatory bowel diseases. Not only that it is also excellent for the individuals that are vulnerable to allergies.
Foods that are Allowed to Eat While on Paleo
Now that you are aware of the health benefits that come with the paleo diet, it’s time to look for the foods that you will have to get for yourself from the grocery stores. There is a variety of range of foods that you are allowed to eat while on this diet.
Long story short, all the foods that our ancestors could gather and hunt are welcomed in the paleo diet. These foods are as follows
Meat and Seafood
Most of the seafood and meats that are available out there in the Indian market are accepted by the paleo diet. As we all know, meat is an excellent source of protein which is the building block of body and muscle growth.
Additionally, protein keeps you satiated for prolonged periods so that you don’t gorge on unhealthy foods. Just look out for the cured meats and pre-marinated ones as they may have some added sugar.
Furthermore, you can also go for grass-fed meat as it contains more omega 3 fatty acids and is leaner than the meat that is grain-fed. The omega 3 fatty acids are great for decreasing inflammation as well as protecting your heart.
When you are eating paleo it is recommended looking for wild seafood. You can choose wild salmon and other caught seafood. Since you are eating salmon, tuna, and other wild fishes you are also naturally intaking some fish oil that has multitudinous benefits.
After the meat, vegetables are the most welcomed ones when it comes to following the paleo diet. You are allowed to eat as many vegetables you wish, the better the vegetable the greater will be the result. Vegetables are an excellent source of multivitamins, fibre, minerals, and dietary fibres that are crucial for your body’s functioning.
However, the only caveat here is that you will have to remove the vegetables that are high in carbs and starch. Potatoes, for example, is not included in a paleo diet. You can still eat it once a while but in moderation.
Having said that, all of the veggies are welcomed. The ones mentioned are mostly high in nutritional value.
- Green onions
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
Fruits are just as important as vegetables, and when it comes to paleo diet most of them are accepted. Just like vegetables, fruits are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre, and most importantly antioxidants that are imperative for protecting the body from free radicals.
The only problem here is that for those paleo dieters who are looking forward to maintaining their sugar levels and want to lose weight make sure to avoid fruits that are higher in sugar.
For example, bananas are notorious for their high sugar content and thus should be taken in moderation. You cannot exclude bananas as they are a good source of potassium, plus, they are an unprocessed whole food.
The key thing in the paleo diet is to ensure that most of your diet is made from whole unprocessed food, thus fruits and vegetables should make the most of your diet. In some cases, frozen vegetables are allowed on a paleo diet, given they do not have any kind of added sauce.
- Citrus Fruits
Eggs are also accepted in the paleo diet as they contain more proteins, vitamins especially vitamin B, antioxidants, and minerals. Not only that but they are easy on the pocket and are easier to make.
When looking for eggs we would recommend you to go for the organic and cage-free eggs, since they contain a higher proportion of omega 3 than the ones that are from chickens raised in cages.
Seeds and Nuts
As history is evident, nuts are a great wellspring of nutrition. Seeds and nuts are loaded with fibre, protein, and healthy fats. Additionally, they were easily available in ancient times so you can fill your grocery shopping with them.
Howbeit, nuts that are high in fats and thus should be ingested in moderation especially if you are looking to reduce fat.
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Pepitas or Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Note:- Peanuts are not included in the above list, the reason is that they fall under the Legumes category that is not allowed in a paleo diet, don’t worry we will discuss it shortly.
When it comes to oils there is only a handful of them that can be used while on a paleo diet. Since most of the Indian diet consists of oils, there only certain ones allowed. Most of the mentioned oils were easily collected by our ancestors from plants.
- Walnut oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Macadamia oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed oil
It is interesting to note here that our ancestors did not consume flaxseed oil, but it is still allowed in the diet. The main reason for this is because it is rich in ALA or otherwise known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid, a type of fatty acid that is excellent for the heart and is anti-inflammatory.
Foods that should be Proscribe while on Paleo
Phew, now we know which foods we can consume, but how about the ones that have no entry in a paleo diet? If you are looking forward to following the paleo diet strictly then it is probably best that you get acclimatized to all those foods that are not allowed.
- Legumes like peanuts, tofu, beans, lentils, etc
- Processed foods
- Refined sugar
- Sweetened beverages
- Refined vegetable oils
- Artificial sweeteners
All grains are prevented in a paleo diet, why may you ask? Firstly, grains are carbs rich and thus can increase your blood sugar. Secondly, grains were not available during the cavemen times — our ancestors had never tasted bread.
However, not all grains are the same, whole grains does not increase the blood sugar levels like refined grains. But they are still not accepted as they contain other proteins as well as compounds, for instance, lectins, phytates, and gluten that can cause not only inflammation but also block nutrients from being absorbed.
So say bye to bread, beers, pasta, brown bread, rice, oats, bajra, corn syrup, etc. Yeah, it’s hard to say goodbye.
Legumes were also not available during ancient times and thus are not allowed in the paleo diet. Legumes are the family of plants that consist of seeds or pods, so peanuts, soy foods, tofu, lentils, etc cannot be consumed.
Moreover, they are abundant in phytic acid and lectins which as we know has many health problems. Therefore, a BIG NO for all the beans.
Another HUGE NO for all those scrumptious processed foods that we used to gorge on. Since they contain artificial sweeteners, refined oils, sugar, salts, and vegetable oils these items are not permitted for the paleo diet.
These foods contribute to health diseases such as obesity, heart problems, and high blood pressure. So if you are about to follow a paleo diet, go have that one hot dog, burger, pizza, cold drink, biscuits, cookies, french fries, chips, candies, etc for the last time.
Foods that are Condoned for Some Occasions while on Paleo
Now the foods that you should not eat, might kill your joy and excitement for the paleo diet. So here are some foods that you can eat sometimes in moderation like — once in a while. So that you don’t lose motivation and on the other hand, they maintain the palatability.
Though a strict paleo diet doesn’t approve of dairy products which means ice creams, yoghurt, milk, sour cream, butter, cheese, and so forth. It is okay to eat them sometimes especially if they are grass-fed, as they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
In addition to this, fermented dairy products are also OK to eat, provided that they have lower lactose and casein content. So if you do end up eating once a while these items, consider it as cutting some slack off.
Starchy Veggies and Fruits
It is best to stay away from fruits and vegetables that have high sugar content like potatoes, for example. But you can still consume them, just in moderation, in any case, they should be avoided if you wish to lose some pounds.
Yeah, you read it correctly, albeit it is not allowed in the paleo diet, you can only consume those that are gluten-free. You can opt for Red wine as it contains resveratrol that is an antioxidant. Generally, alcohol and wines are not allowed because they are created from grains and contain gluten.
The biggest source of sodium is salt, we cannot imagine our food without salt. There are no proven disadvantages of consuming salt in the required amount. So you can consume salt in moderation.
Sample Paleo Diet Meal Plan for 7 Days
Now that you have all the information you need to start the diet, check this meal plan to clear any further concerns. Most of the Indian meals are divided into three parts Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
So considering that we have created this sample meal plan that you can follow or customize according to your leisure.
DAY – 1
- Breakfast:- Fried vegetables and eggs using olive oil.
- Lunch:- Bowl of chicken, pork, beef, or turkey salad.
- Dinner:- Sauteed veggies with baked chicken or fish.
DAY – 2
- Breakfast:- Omelette with some nuts and seeds.
- Lunch:- Grilled chicken with some vegetable salad.
- Dinner:- Baked chicken with broccoli soup.
DAY – 3
- Breakfast:- Scrambled eggs and vegetables.
- Dinner:- Green Pepper.
DAY – 4
- Breakfast:- Fruit salad without milk and cream.
- Lunch:- Roasted fish and vegetables.
- Dinner:- Roasted vegetables and vegetable soup.
DAY – 5
- Breakfast:- Paleo omelette.
- Lunch:- Grilled chicken with some herbs.
- Dinner:- Baked salmon with avocado.
DAY – 6
- Breakfast:- Spinach egg omelette.
- Lunch:- Chicken with olive oil and veggie salad.
- Dinner:- Fried meat with some vegetables.
DAY – 7
- Breakfast:- Broiled salmon.
- Lunch:- Grilled lean pork with some salad.
- Dinner:- Steamed broccoli with some salad and chicken soup.
Now, this sample meal plan is just to give you the slightest bit of idea of how your ideal meal should look when following the paleo diet. You are free to customize this meal plan according to your needs and recipes. Though this is mentioned for a week, you can continue to follow it however long you want.
What to Expect while Following this Diet?
Depending upon how committed you are to the food restriction and adhere to eating the mentioned foods, you can lose weight while following a palaeolithic diet. But it just doesn’t mean to simply follow the diet, you will still have to do some physical activity daily.
Note:- Just before making any necessary changes in your diet, try — to consult a dietitian or nutritionist so that they can approve it and possibly mention some foods that you can eat to maintain your calcium levels.
Overall, opting for this diet is not a bad choice, you are surely going to see some health benefits in the near future. Now, there are many alternatives to paleo diets – some are more restrictive than others, so don’t just cut off all the foods at once. Take baby steps first and then keep on removing items one by one.
The diet is not for vegetarians, so that’s a bummer. But with that said, it is also not for everyone, that is why consulting your nutritionist is imperative. So make sure to understand the ins and outs of the diet before dipping your toe in.
While you are on this diet, you will limit dairy products, thus the calcium levels will decrease in the long-run. So make sure to include them in your diet, for example, salmon, spinach, etc contains calcium, thus try adding them to your diet.
You can add some fat burners to your diet if you are desperately waiting to get into shape.
Take Away Message
Following a palaeolithic diet is an excellent way to reminisce our ancestor’s way of living as well as keeping our body healthy. Not only limited to that but also shredding some pounds along the way.
While choosing this diet make sure that you are not consuming the foods that are not allowed to eat. Try to consult your doctor before making any prominent changes in your diet, as it is not just your diet but also a way of living.
Do that and you will effortlessly achieve the fitness goal you’ve kept in your mind. That said, best of luck for following the diet and starting the healthy journey.