The Paleo diet dates back to the paleolithic era, about some 2.6 million years ago. It promotes revisiting the eating patterns and the diet of our ascendants. It signifies the raw diet they had and how it sufficed them for their highly active life. As progress in the field of agriculture took place with crop cultivations, man slowly shifted to consuming more of them. And today we consume it more than required in the name of junk. Probably it’s time we remember our roots. (You get the pun!). Here’s how we can do that- Fruits vegetables and meat are the backbones of this diet. Let us take a look at the significance they behold.
Fruits – The dietary fibres in fruits are the highlight. Fibres can arguably be classified under a type of carbohydrate. But they do not get digested as speedily as carbs. This leaves you feeling fuller for a longer time. They also aid in keeping high blood cholesterol levels at bay, thus reducing the risk of many cardiovascular diseases and obesity. They are also rich reservoirs of antioxidants and folic acid. • Apples • Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapes. • Berries- From strawberry to raspberries, you name them! • Figs and pear • Guava, kiwi • Avocado Vegetables – They contain essential minerals like calcium; essential for formations of strong bones, reducing chances of muscle fatigue by aiding in muscular contractions. Iron- Probably the only time humans give it more importance than gold! As it forms the structural unit of haemoglobin, it is essential for beating anaemia. It is also responsible for maturation of RBCs. Pyhytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids present in veggies play a role in protection against cancer. • Leafy vegetables- Eat your greens! Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale have iron in abundance and they also contain ALA (Alpha- Linolenic Acid) which is a constituent omega -3 fatty acid found only in plants. • Broccoli • Tomatoes – Rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and lycopene. • Lettuce, celery and cabbage – One can always use them as a dressing over salads. • Brussels • Asparagus • Cucumber and Zucchini
Poultry – Meat is an excellent source of lean proteins. To eliminate the chances of consuming excess fat sometimes present in meat, ask for red meat with trimmed fats. Avoid processed meat, instead opt for freshly cut ones. Also they are home to a number of essential vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. • Chicken – Around 90-100gms of lean chicken meat can be consumed on a paleo diet. • Bacon, pork • Ham • Lamb Seafood – Fishes too are excellent sources of proteins. Choose the ones with moderate to a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA as they help curb unwanted triglycerides thus controlling cholesterol. They regulate blood pressure and might also help to prevent heart diseases like arrhythmia. Fish oils (example, the cod liver oil) are good sources of vitamin D. • Tuna • Salmon • Mackerel • Shrimp • Sardines Nuts like walnuts, almonds can act as good fillers and will also provide you with just the required amount of fat. However, peanuts aren’t included in this category. Beverages – Since dairy products can’t make their way through this diet plan, instead of the regular tea, go for black or green tea. Green tea is again rich in antioxidants and has added benefits of theanine (an amino acid found in green tea). This not only helps in weight loss but also indirectly reduces stress. Try to keep your caffeine intake to minimum. Fruit juices are always an option to make them even more exciting, but we would always recommend to eat them raw to maintain their fibers. Keep drinking water, lots and lots of it!
What is not allowed? Grains, Cereals and their products –tortillas, pasta, bread, and corn flakes are strictly prohibited. They have a high glycemic index and that’s exactly the aim of this diet, to cut off on glucose intake. This is the reason why this diet has shown good results on patients with type2 diabetes. Do not try to replace it with almond or coconut flour even if they are gluten-free. Legumes and beans – Although they contain proteins, they also are good sources of carbs. Hence, not allowed. Dairy products - They are rich sources of fats. Products like yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese must be avoided at all costs. Sugar- Cut down on your sugar. Avoid the use of artificial sweeteners. You can use alternatives like unprocessed honey or maple syrup. Vegetable oils – Vegetable oils have higher fat indexes hence their use must be ruled out. Some argue that olive oils can be employed for cooking because of its slightly lower fat compositions and other benefits. However, a safer option include flaxseed or sesame oil. While some people enjoy the freedom of no-calorie restrictions, some might find it difficult because of the reduction of carbohydrates which forms a staple food of many countries. Regardless, the entire idea is to stay away from processed and canned food rich in preservatives and eat as real as possible.