What is Paleo or The Caveman Diet?

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Paleo is short for paleolithic and refers to a period in history. The paleolithic age or old stone age started 2.5 million years ago and ended roughly 10 thousand years ago; stone tools characterized it. The paleo diet consists of what humans ate during this period.

This regimen is a one-ingredient diet. If the food swam, walked, flew, or grew on the earth, you can eat it on the paleo diet. The diet consists of fruit, vegetables, fish, shellfish, meats, organ meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, and certain oils. Cage-free and grass-fed products are encouraged.

The logic behind this diet is evolution based nutrition. Our genome was shaped for 2.5 million years by hunters and gatherers. Our ancestors ate what they could find or catch. The logic goes: no Hostess Snacks existed at that time, so we probably shouldn’t eat it.

The father of the paleo is Loren Cordain, who wrote The Paleo Answer in 2012 after 15 years of research at the Colorado State University. Cordain specializes in nutrition and exercise physiology.

Paleo is not considered an all-or-nothing diet; the diet has an 85/15 clause. This principle says that 85 percent of the time, you should stick to the diet, and 15 percent of the time, you can eat the non-paleo foods you enjoy. Though the 85/15 principle isn’t an exact science, it allows the dieter more flexibility, making paleo more sustainable.

Whole30 is similar to paleo, except Whole30 only lasts 30 days and is more restrictive than Paleo. For example, Whole30 doesn’t allow alcohol, whereas Paleo does. Whole30 aims to test for food intolerances; after a month, foods are reintroduced into the diet to check for sensitivities.

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