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A Bluffer’s Guide to Paleo

By Kate Kneipp |


Paleo Food
Photo by: Paleo Diet Australia

The word Paleo is thrown around by almost everyone these days… but what exactly does a Paleolithic diet entail?

What is Paleo?

The Caveman or Paleolithic diet (Paleo for short) aims to match our eating habits to those of our ancestors. The basic rule is eat only foods that you could hunt or gather.

Why? Surely we’ve advanced leaps and bounds since our cave-dwelling ancestors? Well, not really – our genetics have hardly altered since the advent of agriculture 10, 000 years ago which brought with it grains, legumes and dairy. In fact the only thing that’s changed is our ability to digest lactose, which is the reason many people who eat Paleo choose to still consume dairy.

As our intake of grains and processed foods has increased, so has the incidence of diseases like cancer and heart disease.

What do Paleo followers eat?

  • Organic and pasture-fed red meat, chicken, pork and seafood.
  • Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and celery.
  • Low-fructose fruits like berries, avocados and kiwi fruits.
  • Organic whole eggs.
  • Nuts and seeds (but skip the peanuts!).
  • Coconut products.
  • Healthy saturated fats from animals, avocados and nuts.
Bluffer's Guide to Paleo - Infographic

Infographic from Greatist.com

What do Paleo followers avoid?

  • Sugar
  • Grains, including all wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or any other cereal grain
  • Starchy vegetables. While this rules out regular potatoes, some Paleo followers still eat sweet potato
  • Legumes such as peanuts, peas and beans
  • Excess salt
  • Processed foods
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils

Did you know: Quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are actually seeds, so many people will still consume these as part of a Paleo diet.

How does I Quit Sugar fit in with the Paleo Diet?

Have you experienced a slight sense of déjà vu while reading through this Bluffer’s Guide?

Yep, the I Quit Sugar ethos of eating does tie in pretty closely with the Paleo diet, but we choose to still consume dairy. To read more about the link between I Quit Sugar and the Paleo diet, click here.

What does Sarah think?

I don’t fixate on the “was it around 10,000 years ago” thing… I ask whether my metabolism can really handle the food. I’m lucky that dairy is fine by me. I don’t eat potatoes – never have… they hurt my stomach – and find sweet potato a little hard to swallow at times. But pumpkin makes me happy.

I eat legumes occasionally. But I sprout them to break down the enzymes and limit them a lot. Not because I’m following a rule, but because too many do muck with my guts. Ditto too many nuts (I also sprout these and personally have to limit them heavily).

Paleo can seem like a very meat based way of eating but I eat more vegetables than the average vegetarian, about 6-8 cups a day. I use meat as an addition, often for flavour, and not in huge quantities.

Keen to find out which Celebrities swear by the Paleo diet?

Do you follow a Paleo diet? Have you noticed significant benefits from eating Paleo? Perhaps you do a variation of it. Tell us in the comments below. 

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

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