The Paleolithic diet is based on the idea that the human body evolved to eat food as our hunter/gatherer cavemen ancestors did, and that any food that needs to be cooked or processed to eat is unhealthy for us. The Paleolithic diet allows foods that were hunted or gathered by primal ancestors and did not require cooking or processing to consume.
Foods to Eat
Each of the following foods are allowed on this diet:
- Meat and fish. Meat and fish were a staple of the Paleolithic people when it was available. However, there is a difference between meat consumed then to meat consumed now. Meat in today’s era contains much more fat than in the Paleolithic era. To simulate the Paleolithic diet of our ancestors, you should consume only lean organic meats.
- Eggs. Any eggs should be eaten only from chickens that are fed a diet of organic feed.
- Vegetables. Most vegetables are allowed on the Paleolithic diet. The exceptions are those foods which are toxic when eaten raw. Vegetables were frequently gathered by primitive humans and consumed when meat was not available.
- Fruits. Like vegetables fruits were also enjoyed by humans from the Paleolithic era and are allowed on the Paleolithic diet. In fact fruits are the only sweet items on the menu. However for those trying to lose weight, high sugary fruits and juices should be avoided.
- Nuts and seeds. In addition to fruits and vegetables, these were also gathered from plants when available. However, there are some nuts and seeds that we eat today that can only be consumed because of cooking or other processing. The only nuts and seeds allowed on the Paleolithic diet are those that can be eaten raw—although they don’t have to be eaten that way.
Foods not allowed on the Paleolithic diet are anything that must be cooked or processed to eat safely. You may be surprised to learn that many foods we consider staples of our diet today are not allowed on the Paleolithic diet.
- Grains. These foods are poisonous when eaten raw and unprocessed, so they are forbidden on the Paleolithic diet.
- Beans and legumes. Like grains, these are also poisonous when eaten uncooked and processed, and therefore forbidden. This includes peanuts, which are considered a legume.
- Potatoes. Since potatoes are also poisonous if eaten raw, the Paleolithic diet forbids them.
The Right Diet?
If the claims made by the proponents of the Paleolithic diet are to be believed, all mankind benefits from this diet. They believe that anything other than the diet humans evolved with is damaging to our bodies. However, even if these claims are unfounded, there are a few groups that may benefit from this diet:
- Diabetics. Many of the forbidden foods are high on the glycemic index and diabetics on the Paleolithic diet could help lower their blood sugar.
- Gluten-intolerant individuals. A few number of people suffer from an intolerance of gluten—a product of many grains. As grains are a forbidden food on the Paleolithic diet, it is also a gluten-free diet that can help those with celiac disease.