Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably have heard of the term “Paleo diet” on and off over the past five years. What is this diet about, and why is it so popular with people trying to lose weight? In this article, we answer all these questions, and more!
What is the Paleo diet?
In a nutshell, the Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet refers to a diet in which you only eat foods which were available during the Paleolithic (“caveman”) era. The great part about this diet? You don’t need to religiously count your calories, and keep a food journal. You do, however, need to restrict your food intake to vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat, and exclude dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, alcohol and coffee.
What should I eat if I’m on the Paleo diet?
According to Loren Cordain, an American scientist who popularized the Paleo diet through his book The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young, a Paleo diet is typically represented as such:
- 27.5% of daily calories from seafood
- 27.5% of daily calories from lean meat
- 15% of daily calories from fruits
- 15% of daily calories from vegetables
- 15% of daily calories from nuts and seeds
Here’s a sample of what your meal plan might look like, if you’re on the Paleo diet:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (made without milk), grapefruit (or any other fruit), herbal tea with no added sugar
Mid-morning snack: Half a palm’s worth of baked almonds or cashew nuts
Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken breast (use olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon to dress your salad)
Tea break: Apple slices a hard boiled egg
Dinner: Grilled turkey breast, steamed broccoli and carrots, tomato and avocado slices, and fresh blueberries to finish off the meal
What do I need to keep in mind when attempting the Paleo diet?
Coming from an Asian society, most of us are used to eating a bowl of rice at least once or twice a day – so it’s highly likely that you’ll face some challenges when trying to wean yourself off carbs, and convert to the Paleo diet!
Bearing this in mind, it’s worth easing yourself into the Paleo diet, rather than going the whole hog immediately. To start, change up your breakfast, and have a smoothie (for brownie points, add some Raw Paleo Fermented Protein Powder into this!) instead of your regular cereal or bread. Once you get used to this, go one step further and adhere to the Paleo diet for three out of seven days every week. Take yourself a little further every month – and you’ll be fully Paleo before you know it!
Is the Paleo diet scientifically proven to be good for you?
A few clinical trials have found that sticking to the Paleo diet results in people having better measures of cardiovascular and metabolic health. Whilst these are only preliminary trials which are not robust enough to have a statistical significance, these indicate that those on the Paleo diet are on the right track!
Are there any risks with the Paleo diet?
As the Paleo diet disallows dairy products, those who follow the diet are at risk of being deficient in Vitamin D and calcium. In order to circumvent this, there are several calcium-rich, nondairy foods which you can use to supplement your meals. These include kale (a cup of kale contains 245 mg of calcium, which is just 55 mg less than what a cup of milk contains!), sardines, broccoli, watercress, and bok choy. In addition, you may also take calcium or Vitamin D pills if necessary.