What is the Paleo Diet?

In case you've stumbled across this blog aren't sure what the Paleo Diet is, here's a quick summary, followed by a list of resources where you can find out more.

To get you started, check out my post from May 3, 2011 called What is Paleo?

The Paleo Diet is based on the idea that we as human beings function best on a diet that emulates the diet our hunter-gatherer ancestors followed (because that is the diet our bodies were genetically designed to consume).  This means meat, chicken, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Paleo also includes plenty of fat, such as coconut oil, avocado and pure olive oil. In other words, the Paleo Diet is all about healthy, whole and unprocessed food. Lots of good stuff! It isn't a diet in the traditional sense of the word, meaning paleo isn't something you use simply as a means to an end (although, initially you will lose weight and body fat on paleo). Instead, it is something to incorporate into your overall lifestyle for the purpose of health and longevity.

What do you have to avoid on the Paleo Diet? Grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. This means no breakfast cereal, no edamame, no hummus. Rice is not paleo, and neither is corn, pasta or whole grain bread. Contrary to what we've been taught by the mainstream media, most dietitians and the United States Department of Agriculture, these things are not good for us (as a former journalist, I'm guilty of spreading the lies, too). They are, in fact, toxic! If you don't believe me or think I've gone mad, just take a look around. So many people abide by the Standard American Diet and/or Food Pyramid, yet they struggle to lose weight and keep it off. They are prisoners to calorie counting. They live on "healthy" convenience food, food that is actually low in nutrients, high sodium and full of ingredients nobody can pronounce. Even if they do manage to reach their goal weight, they still struggle with inflammation, poor digestion and allergies (to name a few). On the other hand, people who follow paleo are more likely to be lean, fit and full of energy. Some have even reversed disease, or at least experienced an improvement of symptoms of disease.

I don't expect you to take my word for it, though, because there is plenty of science and expert testimony to back up my claims.
  • Your first stop: Robb Wolf. Wolf is the go-to guy for all things paleo, His web site explains it all. He also hosts a super-informative podcast and is the author of an incredible book called The Paleo Solution. If you are interested in truly understand the science behind paleo and why it works, this is your resource.
  • Next, check out Whole9. Their resources page is packed with important information on grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and much, much more. I especially like the Grain Manifesto and Legume Manifesto.
  • Finally, don't miss the Balanced Bites useful guides page, where you can download some handy charts to help you navigate your way through paleo. Balanced Bites also features an outstanding post called We've Been Fed a Pyramid of Processed Food Bricks. If you only look at one of the resources I've listed, let this be the one.
This is by no means an exhaustive list -- there is a ton if information out there on paleo. Hopefully, though, this is a good start for anyone ready to embark on a healthier lifestyle. I promise you won't regret it (and in time, you won't miss your breakfast cereal, your turkey sandwich or your baked multi-grain chips).

Disclaimer: The information presented on The Paleo Baby is my opinion, based on my own experience and research. It is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have a health or medical concern, please consult a qualified health professional.