What is the Paleo diet?

Get ready to read something that can change your life completely.

Maybe you know someone who follows paleo, is doing very well and you want to learn more. I recommend you give it a try, as it can mean a before and after in your life. 

Light digestion, weight loss, increased vitality... are just a few of the most obvious benefits. You'll only wish you had started sooner.

What do you eat? What is not paleo? Stay that with this guide I help you to know all the details of this diet and I advance you that "not only meat is eaten".

History of the Paleo diet

In recent years, the paleo diet has become popular, but there is nothing modern about it, as we shall now see.

Loren Cordain is the "creator of the Paleo Diet". He was the one who coined this term more than 20 years ago. But he did not invent anything, but based on our evolution as a human species to collect the foods that promote our health and those that do not.

paleo diet creator
Loren Cordain, paleo diet

He himself refers to paleo as the diet designed by nature and built with science.

What is the Paleolithic diet?

The Paleo diet, also known by other names such as the Paleo diet, is also known as the Stone Age, hunter-gatherer diet or caveman diet is based precisely on our evolution as a species. It aims to take us back in time to feed ourselves as we did for most of our existence as humans.

The period extends from 2 million years ago to the last 10 thousand years. In this era we ate as hunter gatherers and it is logical that genetically we are not prepared to eat what seems "normal" today. That is why the paleo diet wants to reconnect us with our origins and synchronize our genes with reality.

paleo diet what is it

Our body is reacting negatively to ultra-processed foods, large amounts of added sugars, refined oils... causing serious diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, different types of heart disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression, infertility, food intolerance, etc.

Paleo is aimed at promoting foods that and discard those that do not.

And unlike other diets there is no end date, once you understand it, put it into practice and appreciate the results; there is no turning back. It really becomes a lifestyle and from here on you will only want to get better.

What foods are consumed in the Paleo diet?

Paleo wants to prioritize quality foods, with high nutritional content and avoid food that can negatively affect our health. Specifically, it limits foods that became popular as a result of agriculture about 10,000 years ago (dairy, legumes and grains). In addition to ultra-processed foods that are even more modern.

FruitsRefined sugars
VegetablesUltraprocessed foods
Fish and seafoodDairy
Nuts and seedsCereals
Quality oils

Most people when they see the list of non-recommended foods think they have practically nothing left to eat, and this is a clear sign of how disconnected we are from our nature and from real food.

If in doubt, a golden rule in paleo that never fails: buy ingredients not products

The less processed and more natural the food, the better.. Buy unprocessed foods and cook them yourself in a healthy way (basically avoiding fried foods) and you will almost certainly be following the diet well.

You will also see that not everything is black and white and you can incorporate dairy products, legumes and some cereals if they are good for you following some recommendations.

Why avoid dairy products?

Dairy foods are not advised in paleo because they were not introduced until the agricultural revolution. In this very short space of time most of us we have not been able to adapt and do not digest lactose well to a greater or lesser degree.

This causes different levels of discomfort, some are even totally lactose intolerant.

On the other hand, there are people who do not have this problem, so they can consume this type of product prioritizing their quality.

Why are cereals not consumed?

The consumption of cereals is restricted due to the presence of antinutrients, the chemicals used by plants to defend themselves against predators.
The problem with these anti-nutrients is that they hinder the absorption of other nutrients needed by the body during digestion.

Cereals contain gluten and phytates. These can decrease their load if they are consumed after soaking, sprouted or fermented naturally. 

Those who are not celiac (gluten intolerant) can consume some types of breads based on these techniques. You can learn more about this topic at this post.

Why is the consumption of legumes not recommended?

Legumes, as well as cereals, contain antinutrients, so their consumption is not recommended in the Paleo diet. Specifically these antinutrients are lectins and phytates that impede the proper absorption of other nutrients.

We know that soaking and cooking them practically deactivates them.

What are the benefits of the Paleo diet?

It is difficult to list because more than benefits, we should never have abandoned our true diet, but since we are so disconnected from our nature we will highlight:

Helps you lose weight and keep it off

Real food is the only way to recover our hormones. The ones in charge of making us accumulate fat or mobilize it.. This diet causes the hormones that promote fat loss to function properly again.

Improves mood

Which is closely related to the blood sugar level. By not consuming foods with high amounts of sugar, blood sugar peaks, both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, are avoided. It allows a more stable blood sugar level, energy level is maintained and you don't feel the typical "crash" that occurs after a high carbohydrate meal.. This helps us to feel good and energetic, instead of weak and low-spirited.

Increases the feeling of satiety

Closely related to the previous point, real food is much more satiating than pseudo food and avoids sugar highs and this reduces the urge to snack every now and then.

Better management of menstrual pain

Avoiding ultra-processed foods decreases overall inflammation and is associated with less painful menses.

Improves autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmunity is a process in which our own immune system "attacks us". It happens in people with damaged intestinal mucosa many times by the type of foods that are not consumed in paleo (gluten, inflammatory oils, refined sugars ...).

Reduces cardiovascular diseases, diabetes...

Improves lipid profile and blood sugar management.

Better rest and recovery from training sessions

Real food provides nutrients necessary for internal recovery processes.

Sample weekly menu

Now that we know the basics of paleo, what to eat, what to avoid... The hardest part is missing: putting it into practice living in the 21st century.

An example of a common breakfast in homes today:

  • toast with a latte,
  • a sandwich with a juice from a carton,
  • muesli with yogurt,
  • rice pancakes,
  • some oatmeal pancakes and a cortado with soymilk...

You realize that none of that fits into the Paleolithic diet and you were making an effort to take care of yourself. It's just one example of how far removed we are from our nature, but we can still regain control of our health.

I propose an example of a weekly menu so that you can see that it is not so difficult to follow the diet.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday SaturdaySunday
BreakfastFrench omelet with vegetablesChia pudding with fruitEggs with baconFrench omeletFruit smoothie and vegetable drinkChia puddingEggs with ham
FoodChicken thighs with potatoes stewSpaghetti Bolognese with cabalacin pastaCaesar saladBeef and pork hamburger with sweet potatoPork ribs with baked vegetables3-delicious rice with cauliflower baseFish Zarzuela
DinnerGrilled tuna and tomato saladGrilled sea bass with potatoesOrange salmon with broccoliAnchovies with saladSalad with smoked salmonSea bream with green saladLeftovers of the week

Sometimes transforming "usual dishes" into paleo requires patience because it is normal that you need several attempts. If you want to have on hand recipes based on this diet that work, take a look at my recipe booklet.