The Paleo diet was the original diet of man. The ancient caveman was an omnivore. He consumed foods that were grown from a plant or he killed an animal for its meat. He got his foods directly from nature. To eat like a caveman, eat nuts, fruits, leafy vegetables, meat, eggs, fowl, fish, shellfish, insects, seeds, and oils. You can skip the insects, if that isn’t appealing to you!
Our ancient ancestors ate foods that had not been run through a machine or pumped with chemicals. The foods, instead, were straight from the source… picked from a tree, a bush, or pulled from the ground. Or the food was harpooned and cooked over an open fire. They most certainly did not contain the toxins that are in the foods we eat today.
So if you are ready to make the change to the Paleo diet, don’t worry. You don’t need to go out and slay a wild boar with your bare hands! You can, however, do your best to consume foods that are as natural and fresh as possible. You might decide to grow or expand a garden for the convenience of walking out your back door to collect a selection of vegetables for a fresh salad. Growing your own food is not only a healthy alternative, but you know what you have put into your soil, so you have the relief of knowing it is safe, plus you get the satisfaction of caring for it, watching it grow, and enjoying the delicious and nutritious results. You will feel proud when you see your handiwork, and knowing that you have worked in harmony with nature.
Of course, starting a garden is not always the best choice for everyone, especially if your living environment does not allow it due to space, or if you just don’t have the time. If that is the case, your next alternative is to shop at your local farmers’ markets. When you shop locally, you will get the best organic foods. Besides farmers’ markets, there are many farms that sell their wares directly to the public. These farms are usually small, family-owned businesses, and they may sell their produce via a coop, a sign, a fruit stand along the side of the road, through an organic food store, etc. By supporting these organizations, you are not only helping yourself to a healthier future, but you are also helping the overall environment because these farmers are conscientious about the earth. The earth gives and gives to us, and you can give back by supporting these caring farmers and giving back locally to your community.
If you prefer shopping at your local grocery store, a good guideline to follow is to shop the outer aisles of the store. The fresh foods and meats are almost always located on the outer circle so you can save yourself a lot of time by just making a circle of the store. Avoid the inner aisles as they normally contain the boxed foods, frozen foods, canned foods, and so on.
Paleo man did not ingest potatoes, grains and beans because, in the raw form, they are toxic. Ancient man hadn’t discovered that cooking these foods made them edible. However, they still contain small amounts of toxins, even after cooking. In addition, once cooked, the calorie count increases dramatically (high in carbs). These foods elevate your blood sugar which in turn can result in disease such as diabetes and obesity.
Today sugar and salt have become a mainstay in the standard American diet, but the cavemen did not eat these items. People add sugar and salt to almost everything today. Avoid these two items totally, if possible. There are many herbs you can use to add flavor to your meals instead of using sugar or salt. Many herbs and spices are low-fat and low-calorie, such as cilantro, thyme, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, curry, garlic, cumin, oregano and rosemary. They are a much healthier alternative, and have been proven to help in weight loss. If you really need a sugar fix, use a little honey or evaporated cane juice, but try to use it sparingly. The best source is to grab some fruit, such as berries or an apple.
The biggest portion of the caveman diet came from hunting. The caveman harpooned and clubbed wild game. Their meat was not pumped with hormones. Animals were free to roam the countryside, and they grazed on grass and were not grain fed. So always try to consume meat that is organic or grass fed. Buy the leanest cuts of meat you can find.
The basic idea behind the Paleolithic diet is to remove products from your diet that are processed or packaged. Don’t buy foods in a box, foods that have been frozen like TV dinners, foods that come in a can, etc. When you begin to eliminate these so-called foods, your body will eventually return to its natural, healthy, self-sustaining state. Can you imagine a caveman eating a donut? It might take some adjustment, but you too can eat healthy like a caveman.