The Paleolithic diet. A diet focused on all the foods cavemen ate: meat, veggies, a little nuts & fruits, and good fats (such as avocado and olive oil). Just cut out legumes, diary, and grains and it’s smooth sailing. It’s claim? Helping you to lose fat and prevent degenerative diseases like Type 2 diabetes and auto-immune diseases. According to Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist and author of the NY Times best seller The Paleo Solution:
It’s easy to emulate the healthy diet and lifestyle of our Paleolithic ancestors. Lean proteins, fruits, veggies and good fats. With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Basically the claim is that if you follow the Paleo diet, you are creating a new lifestyle for yourself, one in which you will become a healthier person, free from the potential of harmful diseases. You may be asking yourself: So? Cavemen lived short lives, why would this work for me? According to Robb, you need to educate yourself first on the components of the diet and then dive right in.
The Paleo concept is new for most people and this newness can spark many questions. We like people to not only read about and educate themselves on this topic but also to “get in and do it.” Experience is perhaps the best teacher and often cuts through any confusion surrounding this way of eating.
A full list of FAQs and even printable guidelines & recipes can be found on Robb’s website.
What makes this diet so special when compared to other diets, like Zone? The Zone diet claims to produce the same results as the Paleo diet but without cutting out foods. Basically, followers of the Zone diet are allowed a certain number of “blocks” during the day depending on their weight and body fat percentage. To help followers out, there are websites to help calculate these blocks. I calculated mine out: I weight 135lbs and I put that my body fat percentage equals 10% (I’m not actually sure what it is). After calculation was done, the table showed me that I would be allowed 16 blocks per day, with 3 blocks equaling 3oz. of chicken or any other kind of meat. To me, this sounds too complicated and too much of a headache.
In a blog post written by Robb Wolf, he talks about a woman who came to him after 12 years of following the Zone:
I received this first comment from Julianne a few days ago and asked if I could post her experience. Part two I received this morning and added to the post. Here is the basic order of operations:
She adopted the Zone and saw significant improvements in a number of issues including blood sugar regulation and performance. She ate this way for 12 YEARS, but still suffered from some inflammatory issues and mild autoimmunity. She found the Paleo concept, removed grains, legumes and dairy, supplemented with vit-D…and has none of the issues a mixed Zone diet addressed.
So why am I saying all of this? Well, I think it’s important to give you another option to look into besides the Paleo diet. (There are also plenty of criticisms of the Paleo diet out there as well). But I also gave you the example of the Zone diet to back up the Paleo diet. Paleo is simple: eat lean meat, veggies, fruits, nuts & good fats and you’ll see some pretty incredible results. No counting blocks, no having to look up how many blocks you’re allowed in a day, no worrying whether you ate too many blocks.
I’ve been following the Paleo diet since June and have found that my energy levels are higher and I perform better in my workouts. I have also noticed that I’m thinning out: I’m putting on more muscle but, especially in my legs, my legs are starting to show more of that muscle. As for the long term effects, I’m not seeing those… yet. It’s important to remember that I’m only 23 years old; I don’t have any auto-immune diseases or Type 2 diabetes. But if it reduces my risk for those as I grow older, I’m willing to try it it. What do I have to lose?