What is the Paleo Diet?
I prefer the word “eating plan” to “diet” because it implies a more positive health inspired approach to enjoying food. But knowing that the “Paleo Diet” is recognized this way we will stick to using the word diet for now. You may also have heard of this way of eating as the “Paleolithic”, “Stone Age”, “Caveman” and “Hunter-Gatherer Diet” which all honor the same principle to return to a way of organic eating that is more in line with how early humans ate.
Paleo Diet Simplified:
A Paleo Diet in simple terms is an eating plan based on food groups that are as similar as possible to the organic foods prehistoric humans may have eaten during the Paleolithic era (2.5million to 10,000 years ago). With this in mind a UK Paleo diet would traditionally include lean organic meats and organic fish, fruits, vegetables nuts and seeds. In other words, natural unprocessed foods that in the past would have been obtained primarily by hunting and gathering.
What can you eat on the Paleo Diet?
A paleo way of eating limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago, so limiting dairy products, legumes and grains is important. Instead focus on eating the following food groups:
Organic Nuts and Seeds
Organic lean meats (grass fed animals or wild game is preferable)
Wild and fresh water fish, especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel
Cold-pressed organic oils from fruits and nuts such as Organic Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil and Walnut Oil
Foods to Avoid on a Paleo Diet:
Paleo diets can be interpreted in different ways however the general rule is to avoid all highly processed foods, dairy products, refined sugar, salt, potatoes, legumes such as beans, lentils, peanuts and peas and limit grains such as wheat, oats and barley.
What are the benefits of a Paleo Diet?
A Paleo Diet may help you lose weight or maintain your weight however there are no long-term clinical studies on this way of eating and with any diet it is best to consult your GP or doctor before embarking on a new or restricted way of eating.
Other benefits may include improved glucose tolerance, better blood pressure maintenance, lower triglycerides and a more balanced appetite.
The theory behind this way of eating is that the human body is genetically not suited to the modern diet which emerged when farming practices were introduced because farming dramatically changed what we ate. A modern diet and way of eating has often been associated with the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease so returning to a more ancient way of eating is now being explored by many people.
Paleo Diet Eating Plan for beginners with Recipe Ideas:
A handful of fruits such as berries with a selection of nuts such as almonds and walnuts followed by a boiled egg and spring greens or a dairy free coconut yoghurt
Wild Salmon with an herb rocket avocado and fennel salad with pumpkin seeds, dressed with a lemon and organic olive oil dressing
Tea time snack:
An apple with nut butter (avoid peanut butter if possible and choose cashew or almond butter)
Lean Turkey Breast with steamed vegetables such as broccoli or purple sprouting
Sweet tooth: Try some strawberries or dates with almond butter
Additional Paleo snacks could include: Carrot and Celery sticks or fruits such as oranges and figs
It is important not to forget that a Paleo Diet also emphasises plenty of physical activity and exercise so make sure you are walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and not leading a sedentary lifestyle. You should also consider drinking at least two litres of water a day; staying well hydrated on any eating plan is essential. Herbal teas are a good way of supplementing your daily water intake.
If you are looking for low carb alternatives, we highly recommend Heart, their food items are made with natural ingredients are sugar free and most of their range is suitable for a Paleo diet.
For breakfast you could try their low carb cereal such as their Apple and Cinnamon Granola, or if you want a tea time snack their Low Carb Gluten and Dairy Free Paleo Chocolate Almond Muesli is irresistible. Made with coconut oil gluten free oat flakes, almonds and 70% cocoa.
If you are missing carbs and pasta on a Paleo eating plan, try the Low Carb Paleo Rigatone or Tagliatelle from Heart. This pasta is wheat free and made with 4 free range eggs. The protein content will help balance your blood sugar and avoid a spike in insulin which you might get from other types of pasta. Another tooth friendly option is to try Heart’s sugar free jams , their Lemon or Orange Jam’s are made from 60% natural fruit pulp and rind and will give you that sweetness without the sugar. Plenty of sugar free and low carb alternatives to help you stay on track with UK Paleo meal plans.