What Does One Eat on the Paleo Diet?

Every one of us has probably taken part in at least one discussion about the pros and cons of vegetarianism versus meat eating. Some say leaving animals alone is the ethical choice but others have a counter argument: it is actually more ethical to keep animal populations under control. Anyway, leaving ethical considerations aside, there is one simple fact that even the most extreme vegans can’t deny: our bodies need protein and fats, yes, fats, to function. They also need vitamins and microelements. Basically, this is what the Paleo diet offers, arguing that our ancient ancestors in the Stone Age were much healthier than us because they hadn’t yet discovered farming. Here’s what you need to know about the Paleo diet in three points:

1. No grains, no milk — Bread, pasta, cakes, anything that’s rich in complex carbs is a no-no for Paleo diet followers. The reason? The carbohydrates from the grains are metabolized into glucose, which is a good source of energy but excess glucose gets stored as fat. Grains also contain a specific protein, gluten, which, according to some sources, is becoming intolerable for a growing number of people. Actual scientific evidence of this growing gluten intolerance, however, is insufficient, so that’s debatable. The case with dairies is pretty much the same, but here the culprit is lactose. The evidence for lactose being inadvisable beyond the age of three is stronger, yet still limited.

2. Lean meat — Paleo diet advocates argue that grains are not just bad for us, they’re bad for the animals we eat. Most modern farming feeds cattle and other animals meant for food with grain mixtures rather than their natural food, which is grass. It’s really common sense that the natural food of the animal would make its meat much leaner and healthier than grain mixtures aimed at accelerating its growth. Just compare the meat of a free-range chicken fed on corn with that of a chicken raised in a cage and not fed but stuffed with hormone-enhanced food.

3. Fruit, nuts, fish, and veggies — In case you’re wondering what the Paleo diet followers eat besides meat, here it is: fruits, nuts, fish, and vegetables. We all now know how important the types of fat we consume are, so this diet features only the unsaturated ones found in nuts and seafood. The fruits and vegetables provide much needed vitamins and fiber to the body, as well as some simple carbs, so you don’t get carb-deficient.

Our Stone Age ancestors spent much of their lives on the move, hunting, gathering berries and nuts, and they were lean and healthy by necessity. Then we settled down and started farming, and it’s been going downhill since then, according to Paleo diet authors, with obesity and a host of other conditions plaguing us. Going Paleo, they say, means going back to the original diet of our distant forefathers, and reconnecting with our roots for a healthier lifestyle.

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