What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo Diet is more than a shift away from processed food; it’s a return to the root of early human practices. As humans, we are biologically structured to benefit from the foods that we’ve consumed for the longest amount of time. What does that mean? It means that our primal ancestors spent more time grazing on fruits and nuts than modern humans have spent cooking, packaging foods, and even farming. The biological conditioning is important because as humans, we’ve advanced so quickly socially and culturally. However, our bodies are still tied to the food habits we developed hundreds of thousands of years ago.
The Paleo Diet traces its lineage way back to our earliest ancestors. When civilization was a budding enterprise, humans encountered challenges much different than the obstacles we face today. There were no grocery stores. There were no reliable tools or appliances to prepare food. Humans relied on grazing and hunting for their nutrients. Today, the Paleo Diet strives to model its tenants to those same priorities. Why? By eating a diet that appeals to our evolutionary roots; we’re able to ward off diseases, illnesses, and a host of modern ailments.
At its core, Paleo eating strips away all processed foods, and all foods high in sugar and carbs. These are all modern ingredients that are bodies have not been able to accommodate. While the Paleo diet may seem severe, its foundation is simple and easy to follow. The basic regiment? Eggs, fruits and vegetables, pasture-fed meat, and nuts.
The science behind the Paleo Diet suggests remarkable benefits. Individuals eating the low-carb diet find they’re more focused, they weigh less, and perhaps most significantly, they are more inspired to adopt additional cave-man habits, like developing a healthier sleep schedule or relying less on technology for entertainment.
The Paleo Diet was introduced to the world nearly five years ago by Michelle Tan, a pharmacist living in Palo Alto. Ms. Tan’s original mission–to recreate a primordial sleep routine, soon encompassed so much more. Today, the Paleo diet is the subject of hundreds of articles and blogs. Celebrities have endorsed its success. There are retreats, classes, and nutritional plans to follow. Ms. Tan’s blog: Nom Nom Paleo, receives a healthy daily following and offers a collection of recipes, podcasts, and articles demystifying the simple and effective diet.
The Paleo’s cult-like following is not surprising. The diet exudes a passion for living and eating. It attracts motivated, ambitious individuals who are looking to better their lives through science and history. This is not a diet for those looking for a quick fix. And despite the diet’s prohibitive groups (no gluten or processed foods), Paleo encourages people to prepare and eat food that brings them joy. Eat what you love; love what you eat. Ancestral eating is more than an emphasis on real food over processed food. It’s a return to a template that provides our bodies with the nutrients that we need to function and survive.