The benefits of eliminating processed foods
When it comes to diets for your health, one of the most commonly discussed is the Paleolithic or Paleo lifestyle.
Simply put, the Paleo lifestyle is a mode of eating modeled on the nutritional habits of our ancestors: whole foods prepared simply and without any processed foods. Hence the nickname: the Stone-age diet or Caveman diet.
The key event in the Paleo lifestyle theory is the invention of mass agriculture around 10,000 BCE. People began to eat bread and other grains; animal husbandry allowed for cattle farming.
Our diets gradually became made up of secondary products, like pasta, dairy, and sugar.
The theory postulates that modern humans are genetically mismatched to our processed foods, an idea known as the discordance hypothesis.
Scientists don't agree unanimously on whether this hypothesis is true. But tenets of Paleo, such as removing refined sugar and junk food, are widely regarded as beneficial.
Its proponents claim that Paleolithic nutrition is an effective strategy for your health. With a core of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, and organic meats, it's easy to see why. In this way, the Paleo lifestyle is very similar to other healthy eating plans like the diabetes diet.
Hunting & gathering - what did we eat?
Below is a non-exhaustive list of foods that can be included in a Paleolithic diet.
Meat: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey - always organic and grass-fed, never processed
- Fish & seafood: trout, salmon, haddock, shrimp - always choose wild-caught if you can
- Fruits & vegetables: If it can be plucked from nature, it's Paleo. Vegetables and fruits are the backbones of the Paleo lifestyle.
- Tubers: potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, turnips - a great source of carbohydrates on the Paleo lifestyle
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, macadamias, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut milk/oil, etc.
- Salt* & spices
*salt should be consumed in moderation, as too much sodium can cause a host of health problems.
As you can see, there's a great deal of variety to be explored in the Paleo lifestyle.
But what effect will eating these foods have on your health?
The purported health benefits of Paleo
Here's a list of the health benefits from the Paleo lifestyle.
- Improved cholesterol
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved glycemic control
- Reduced waist circumference and weight loss
- Improved satiety
- Improved gut health
- Reduced all-cause mortality
- Mitigation of metabolic syndrome
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
Check out Paleo Korean BBQ-Style Chicken
Tender chicken breast strips in a sweet and spicy Bulgogi sauce made with coconut aminos, garlic, and toasted sesame seeds. Make a Korean stir fry bowl in 5 minutes flat!
Korean BBQ-Style Chicken
The Korean BBQ-Style Chicken captures the signature sweet and spicy flavor of bulgogi with a guilt-free sauce that doesn’t sacrifice an iota of flavor; with perfectly-cooked chicken breast, this entree is a sure-fire favorite.
This study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the Paleo lifestyle resulted in better short-term health indicators (waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar) than four different control diets.
What are the pros and cons of a paleo lifestyle?
The pros of the Paleo lifestyle are as above: there's good evidence to support the claim that the diet can improve several health factors.
Additionally, the Paleo lifestyle is relatively easy to follow compared to other diets.
If you are trying to lose weight, this is important to understand: weight loss is only achieved through a calorie deficit. That is - only if you eat fewer calories than you burn will you lose weight.
The Paleo lifestyle alone is not a recipe for weight loss. To find and maintain a healthy weight, one must exercise regularly and keep up a healthy diet.
One of the major cons of the Paleo lifestyle is the fact that it excludes entire food groups, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies without proper re-balancing.
With whole grains forbidden, getting enough fiber is a major concern. To ensure you eat enough fiber on the Paleo lifestyle, focus on fiber-heavy vegetables. You may want to take a fiber supplement.
Additionally, some consume too much saturated fat from animals on the Paleo lifestyle. Remember, your macronutrient breakdown shouldn't change much when switching to Paleo.
Do doctors recommend a Paleo lifestyle?
While it's impossible to generalize doctors' opinions on Paleo, this much can be said: a healthy eating plan based on consuming lots of vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, and lean meats is widely accepted as a good idea for most people.
If you're wondering if a Paleo lifestyle or something similar could be right for you, consult your healthcare provider or registered dietician.
Which is healthier, Keto or Paleo?
What is keto diet and how does it differ from paleo? The Keto diet is a specific nutritional plan designed to bring the body into a state of Ketosis - where, without carbohydrates to burn for energy, the body uses stored fat.
While the Keto diet is praised for its weight loss capability, the human body is not meant to remain in a Ketogenic indefinitely, and prolonged Ketosis has been shown to create negative health factors.
Is Paleo good long-term?
Compared to Keto, Paleo is much more feasible for long-term application.
This is dependent on whether your Paleo lifestyle is creating nutritional deficiencies. Without proper nutrition, a Paleo lifestyle can crash and burn, so make sure you are taking into account the vitamins and minerals that the Paleo lifestyle may lack.
Are eggs paleo?
Of course! Eggs have been eaten by humans for longer than history has been recorded. Nutrient-rich and versatile, eggs can play an important role in your diet (in moderation, of course).
Should you exercise on the Paleo lifestyle?
Absolutely. Like with any diet aimed at improving your health, regular exercise is a crucial complement. Even if it's simply a brisk walk, daily exercise has massive effects on your health.
Paleo made easy, by Kevin's
Even if you aren't going to commit to a hardcore Paleo lifestyle, there are ideas about eating - whole foods, no processing, moderation - that we can all take from Paleo.
With Kevin's Natural Foods, it's never been easier to eat healthily and reduce food waste. Just look for the Paleo label on Kevin's products, and you're good to go (eat). Bon appétit!
You should try our awesome paleo mongolian style beef:
Tender steak tips paired with a soy-free Mongolian sauce made with coconut aminos, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms.
Mongolian Style Beef
The soy-free sauce in this entree will blow your mind with umami revelations. Coconut aminos, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms coat perfectly-tender steak tips in this versatile and delectable dish.