Paleo Diet In Modern Times

Paleo Diet In Modern Times

Paleo diet in modern times put most simply is whatever would have been eaten by people living anywhere from 10,000 to 2,500,000 years ago – generally known as Palaeolithic man (and woman of course!).

The paleo diet in modern timesOf course there are a few issues when it comes to knowing exactly these ‘cavemen‘ actually ate. Not least is the fact that they lived an awfully long time ago! Ten thousand years, the recent end of what is commonly termed the Paleolithic period, is still a long time ago – a lot has changed since then.

That tremendous time span makes it very hard to be sure what people did eat. Within recorded history, the last three or four thousand years or so, we can be pretty sure about people’s diets, but past a few thousand years, into the paleolithic times, and we’re really taking guesses. There will of course be some very well educated guesses amongst them, but guesses none the less. It’s pretty tricky to establish just what a paleo diet really was when you’re dealing with records that are largely fossilized

Another problem when it comes to defining a true paleo diet is that of evolution. Just as man has evolved over the course of millions of years, so our food has changed. As soon as we started cultivating crops and domesticating animals, we changed our relationship with it, and changed the way that change takes place. This continues to the present day with the much dreaded GMOs of curse.

Paleo Diet in modern times

So while we may not be able to say for certain exactly what the paleo diet was, we can at least agree on what we mean when we say we’re ‘going paleo’ or following a paleo recipe. Well sort of agree!

Perhaps the simplest way to put it is to say that, on a paleo diet, we would eat nothing that Paleolithic man wouldn’t have eaten, and we eat as much as possible of what they would have eaten.

Paleo Diet in modern times

So what does that mean when it comes to real, food on your dinner plate? At its heart, the paleo diet is: Plenty of vegetables, some meat, eggs and fish and some fruit, nuts and seeds, and that’s about it. Another way of putting would be: No grains, no legumes, no potatoes, no sugars or sweeteners, no dairy, no preservatives, additives, processed, emulsified, or otherwise manufactured ‘foodstuffs’.

Another good way to judge whether something is right for a paleo diet is to ask if you can eat it raw. The general principle is that if you can’t eat it raw then you probably shouldn’t be eating it at all! Whether you want to eat it raw is a different matter, but you’ll find that most foods on a paleo diet can be eaten raw if you choose. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, obviously, but also meat and fish can be eaten raw. You might not want to chew on raw meat or fish, but you’ll do a lot better with either of those than you would with raw potatoes or wheat, and besides, think sushi!

Paleo Diet In Modern Times

The paleo diet, realistically, and for most people, is going to consist of plenty of fresh vegetables, good quality meats, fish and eggs, fruit, nuts and seeds. People have differing views about how strict one should be in observing a ‘proper’ paleo diet. At the end of the day it’s going to be a matter of personal choice and, most likely, convenience

Some people are quite happy to make paleo versions of modern foods such as pizza and cakes by making things like sweet potato brownies and cauliflower pizza base. Paleo recipes like these will usually use modern equipment such as food processors, blenders and, of course, an oven – it’s hardly an open fire in the mouth of a cave as shown in all the best ‘caveman‘ movies! Objectors to this modernization tend to insist that all food should be chewed, rather than processed – so smoothies tend to be out – and generally a lot less sweet than most of us are used to.

Paleo Diet in modern times

Probably the best advice is to try it for yourself and find what works for you. The starting point for the paleo diet, however, should always be to stop eating grains, sugars, potatoes and legumes, along with anything else that needs to be processed before you can eat it. There is one more question, and that is whether or not you stop eating dairy products. This debate between the paleo diet (no dairy at all) and primal eating (some dairy allowed as long as you can tolerate it) is, however, one that will have to wait for another day!

IanB shares his Paleo diet recipes and ramblings at http://FreeRangePaleo.com and on the associated Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FreeRangePaleo – do stop by for free recipes, resources, articles and much bacon-related humor!

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