Paleo. It’s one of those words that are getting thrown around a lot these days, along with “gluten-free” and “clean eating”. And until now, you’ve probably thrown it straight into the too-hard basket that resides within your brain, where information about Random Diets tends to live.
But it’s good to keep up with these things. After all, knowledge is power, and this is good knowledge to have for the next time you sit down for lunch with your most health-obsessed of friends. So I bring to you – the ultimate paleo cheatsheet.
What is paleo?
Paelo is short for “Paleolithic”, which pretty much translates to “Old Stone Age”. You know – that period of history when we were still sleeping in caves, hunting woolly mammoths and carving tools out of stone.
The entire concept behind the paleo diet is that you stick with the type of food people ate during the Paleolithic era – anything over 10,000 years ago. So… obviously no pizza and no bread. Definitely no Nutella. Or gummy bears.
Okay, so why is everybody doing it?
It’s not just your gym buddies that are jumping on the bandwagon. Celebrities such as Uma Thurman, Jessica Biel, Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey have all shared their love for the high-veggie, low-carb diet.
So why do it? Well, it varies. Some do it to lose weight and others believe that it will help them get to peak physical performance.
It’s argued that the paleo diet worked for humans for a really long time, and that all the processed, sugary, carby stuff we’re eating now is doing us irreparable damage. After all, our ancestors ate for fuel – and we often don’t.
Those who are interested in muscle building often take up a Paleo-esque diet, largely because it means more protein for building said muscles. And those who want to lose weight find that it helps with cutting out a whole lot of processed foods and getting more vegetables into the diet.
Esther Blum, author of the book Cave Women Don’t Get Fat, claims that going on the paleo diet will “boost your energy, balance your hormones naturally, burn fat, stabilise your brain biochemistry, promote digestive health, build lean muscle mass, manage and reduce stress and detoxify your body”.
But wait, didn’t cave people die young? Why do we want to eat like them?
Researchers have pointed out that cave people weren’t lucky enough to have access to all the medical creature comforts that we’re used to now. Infant mortality, as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, brought down the average age of the cave people. While there isn’t direct medical evidence to prove that they were much healthier than we were, they certainly didn’t have any of the processed foods that would have contributed to illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.