The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet

19 February 2015
Tags:  Health

For almost as long as people have been eating, they’ve been imposing rules about what can and can’t be consumed. From half-hearted vegetarianism (flexitarianism) to eating unroasted green coffee beans, there were more weird and wonderful diets talked about last year than you could shake a set of scales at.  One of which is the Paleo Diet. But what exactly is it?


The Paleo Diet is an effort to eat like we used to back in the day…WAY back in the day.  If a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you. 


The Paleo craze has become one of the most popular lifestyle trends around endorsed by celebrities, bloggers and many in the fitness world who have linked it with weight loss and health benefits. Last year it was the most Googled diet on the internet. From books to restaurants, a whole industry now exists around the Paleo lifestyle. And paleo eating is just the tip of the spear, so to speak.


There are passionate advocates for paleo fitness, which starts with tossing out your sneakers. There’s a paleo sleep contingent, which recommends blackout curtains, amber-tinted glasses, and getting rid of your mattress; and there are even signs of a paleo hygiene movement: coat yourself with bacteria and say goodbye to soap and shampoo.


It does seem there are several variations of this diet around, with some less rigid than others. Modern Paleo eating promotes a diet that mimics the hunter -gatherer style of our paleolithic ancestors.


Here is a general list:

  • Lean meat, game and organs such as liver and tongue are encouraged
  • Eggs (some diets recommend at least six a week)
  • Fruit (but not in vast quantities)
  • Vegetables (although some don't encourage potatoes)
  • Nuts and seeds (in moderation)
  • Seafood and shellfish (all types)
  • Olive, coconut, avocado, walnut, flaxseed and canola oil in moderation


The list of foods that are not paleo, meanwhile, is a great deal longer; it includes cereal grains like wheat, corn, and rice; ancient grains like amaranth and quinoa; legumes, dairy products, most vegetable oils, sugar, and anything that contains corn syrup or artificial colouring or flavourings or preservatives, which is to say, just about everything a contemporary Australian consumes.


Many dieticians and nutritionists applaud the low content of processed foods, sugar and salt advocated in Paleo diets but question the exclusion of entire food groups like wholegrains and legumes when a wealth of evidence confirms their health value.


Because we love living well, at La Zuppa we recommend you seek expert nutrition advice from an accredited practising dietitian before starting any diet, and like the following advice from Nutrition Australia:


Remember, diet is only one lifestyle factor to consider with regard to optimal health outcome. Physical activity is equally important. The recommended lifestyle for optimal health and wellness includes a diet based on a wide variety of nutritious foods (with the greatest emphasis on foods of plant origin), and at least 30 minutes of moderately vigorous activity per day.