The basics of the paleo lifestyle is exactly that, getting back to basics. The word “Paleo” is derived from the word “Paleolithic”, which refers to the period of human evolution in which our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. The Paleolithic era spanned across about 2.6 million years. It started when humans began using stone tools, and ran until the agricultural revolution (about 10,000 years ago). The idea of Paleo is to eat foods that our ancestors would have eaten during this period as these were the foods that our bodies evolved to eat, and therefore shaped us genetically.
For the past 60 years or so, our food supply has become filled with almost anything other than real food. The industrialisation and commercialisation of our food industry has led to ingredients that are hard to recognise, the products are filled with refined sugar and grains, and there are next to no nutrients.
The Paleo approach to eating is based on the notion that for optimal health, modern humans should go back to eating real, whole, unprocessed foods that will nourish the body; and to minimise the consumption of processed and refined foods that are likely to be more harmful than healthful. See which foods are in and which are out, further down the page.
Paleo is not a quick-fix diet, but rather lays the foundations for a healthy body and mind. Diets are usually a short term eating regime that restrict a person to eat a certain way, and this is generally not sustainable. Paleo is a framework, or blueprint, for optimal health that can be adhered to and incorporated to varying extents to suit the lifestyle of the individual.
Let’s look at what foods form the building blocks of the paleo lifestyle, and which ones you want to avoid if you want to create the healthiest body to live in.