Chances are you’ve heard the term Paleo before, and likely used in close association with Cross Fit. Paleo, short for Paleolithic, is a term that refers to a specific type of diet or eating style. The Paleolithic era, also known as the Stone Age, was a time in which primitive people (cave men) lived as hunters and gatherers. Their diets consisted of whatever animals they could kill or food they could gather. So this essentially means any foods that are in their rawest or truest form and available in nature.
Think back to history class and images of cavemen lean, athletic, muscular. I think it’s safe to say if cave men sat around eating Oreos off of golden trays, their bodies would be more like what we see in the general population in our world today.
So there’s got to be something about what they were doing that worked, right? This is where Paleo diet advocators derive their argument for why it works. They believe our bodies were physiologically created to be able to properly digest and derive energy from the original foods our ancestors ate. But with the incorporation of farming and agriculture, grains were now being grown in abundance and disease risks increased along with the crop. The work required to obtain food has diminished incredibly over the past hundreds of thousands of years.
This “diet” isn’t just for people looking to shed some pounds it’s for anyone who just wants to feel and operate better. Those who practice the Paleo diet see a plethora of health benefits as a result.
- Increased vitamin, mineral and antioxidant consumption
- Improved blood sugar control
- Improvements in cardiovascular health (triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure)
- Natural detox for the body
- Better sleep
- Weight loss
For those of you who are not fans of calorie counting or macro tracking, the Paleo diet has an advantage. While you certainly can track these things if you wish, they aren’t essential for weight loss. If you eat only Paleo-approved (nuts, fruits, eggs, grass-fed meats, healthy oils, vegetables), you are constantly putting healthy and nourishing foods into your body. These foods aren’t the ones causing our worldwide obesity and disease-ridden epidemic processed foods (read: sugar) are.
Whether you think the Paleo diet sounds great or not, it’s hard to argue against eating natural, unprocessed foods. After all, our world wasn’t slowly killing itself until we started walking down supermarket aisles through barrages of processed goods. There’s a saying that history repeats itself. Perhaps this time we ought to listen.