In layman’s terms, the Paleo diet is a way of eating that’s most closely aligned with the diet that our ancestors in the Paleolithic era would have eaten. In short, if it can be hunted or gathered, it’s Paleo. Dig in to see how you can be your best going forward—by eating backwards!
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Marketplace story: PaleoThere’s a lot of buzz around the Paleo diet—but you may find yourself wondering, What is that, exactly? The most straightforward definition is the Paleo diet is one that most closely approximates the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. As with any change to your diet, note that every person’s body processes nutrients just a little bit differently, so before doing a complete Paleo overhaul, consult with a dietician or your healthcare provider to ensure Paleo is well-suited for your body. Here’s a guide to help you make the most out Paleo—and how your friends at Safeway Marketplace can help!
Why Paleo?Proponents of the Paleo diet report the following benefits:
• Decreased inflammation
• Environmental sustainability
• Weight loss & appetite management
• Mental acuity, improved cognition, benefits to mental health
• Ability to regulate and stabilize blood pressure
• Reduction of triglyceride levels
What Does “Paleo” Mean?Paleo is an abbreviation of paleolithic, the anthropological era 2.5 million -10,000 years ago whose eating habits the diet most closely resembles. Obviously, it’s impossible for a 21st century diet to match exactly the diet of the paleolithic. The core idea of Paleo is this: if a food is something that could reasonably have been hunted or gathered by our paleolithic ancestors, it’s on-plan. This means primarily whole foods, and typically includes fish, lean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and limits or eliminates the food products that became dietary staples with the advent of farming, such as grains, legumes, and dairy products.
The scientific foundation of the Paleo diet is that human bodies are genetically incompatible with our modern diet, known as the discordance hypothesis. Simply put: farming radically changed the basics of the human diet, establishing a dependence on grains, legumes, and dairy introduced relatively late (and adopted quickly) into our evolution, effectively outpacing our body’s genetic ability to adapt to these dietary changes. It is theorized that this fundamental incompatibility is a causative factor in the modern pervasiveness of chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
The Basics of Eating PaleoThe basic rule of thumb to follow for eating paleo is this: If your ancestors could gather it or hunt for it, it’s allowed.
• Leaner meat—grass-fed meat and wild game especially encouraged
• Nuts, seeds
• Fish, especially omega-3 fatty acid-rich varieties: salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, etc.
• Natural fruit and nut oils: olive oil, walnut oil
• Processed foods
• Grains: wheat, oats, barley
• Grain-derived products, such as pasta or bread
• Beans, legumes: peas, peanuts, lentils, etc.
• Dairy products*
• Vegetable oils and trans fats
• Refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, and salt
*Stricter versions of Paleo discourage starchy/high-sugar fruits and vegetables (bananas and potatoes.) Modified versions of Paleo allow consumption of tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips) as well as some full-fat dairy products.