Healthy Meal Plans: The Paleo Diet

James Kim writes guest blog posts for Food on the Table about health and wellness, elaborating here on my discussion of the diet of tennis star Novak Djokovic. – Mark

Caveman dieters eat lean meats such as bison. Photo courtesy of V-Man via Flickr.

No one knows the perfect formula for fad diets. I’m sure most of us can name a few things that would make a diet popular –healthy, proven successful results, or culturally or environmentally conscious. Even if a diet is all these things, it’s not uncommon to see that diet short-lived or become just another fad. The current diet that has widespread popularity is the Vegan diet. This diet encourages healthy meal plans of mostly organic foods with no meat or dairy. Although people believe this diet to be healthier than other diets, the vegan diet lacks one essential part of the human diet: meat. Humans are omnivorous creatures, and while we have the ability to survive off a variety of foods, we’re supposed to eat protein — chicken, red meat, and fish. One form of meal planning that is pushing protein back into human diets is the Paleo diet.

Photo courtesy of HealthAliciousNess via Flickr.

The Paleo Diet is a type of meal planning that advocates eating fresh vegetables and meat protein in place of processed foods or soy. This diet is also known as the “Caveman Diet” because it follows one very basic principle: eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. So what is the Paleo diet? Here are the concepts in a nutshell!

  • Meat, chicken, fish, nuts (except peanuts – which are actually legumes), and eggs provide protein
  • Oils are restricted to those from fruits or tree nuts
  • Absolutely no grains, sugar, dairy products, or potatoes
  • Lots of berries and veggies (some other high sugar fruits, but in more limited quantities)
  • Small amount of salt
  • Avoid alcohol if using the diet for athletic training or weight loss

Photo courtesy of pointnshoot via Flickr.

Scientists have completed extensive research on the bone remains of Paleolithic humans, and they have discovered that Paleolithic humans suffered from less disease and enjoyed longer life spans than in other human eras. This has led scientists to infer that Paleolithic diets were a correlating factor to Paleolithic humans’ great health.

If you’re someone who enjoys fresh whole foods, then you’re probably someone who has tried the Paleo diet before. It’s very similar to the popular Gluten Free/Dairy Free healthy meal plan that many nutritionists recommend, especially for people with food allergies. What makes this diet very unique is that it promotes consumption of lean meats including beef because it is pivotal to muscle growth, and it helps to fortify your body. Meat is one of the only great food sources of B12. If you don’t eat meat – you certainly need to use food supplements heavily.

Paleo’s intention is human well-being through a diet that matches what we evolved to eat. The only person who can tell you if this diet works is you.

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