What is the Paleo Diet?
Right now, Paleo is one of the most popular diets worldwide – and for good reason. It’s simple, versatile and it can be adopted by mostly everyone regardless of age or gender. But what are the real benefits of this diet and how can you actually implement it into your lifestyle? Let’s find out…
What is the Paleo diet?
To understand the phylosophy behind this diet, let’s think of our ancestors: the cavemen. They hunted for meat and ate whatever fruits and vegetables they could gather. Almost every meal they ate was raw and dairy, grains or legumes didn’t exist yet (as farming only appeared 10,000 years ago).
The Paleo diet, or Stone Age diet, claims that people would be much healthier if they returned to the very beginning of humanity and its eating habits. A theory known as discordance hypothesis suggests that we aren’t genetically made to eat processed meals or foods resulted through farming (dairy, grains and legumes). Recently, more and more studies proved that these foods may contribute to today’s most common physical conditions: diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Most of the times, a paleo diet should come with an active lifestyle; once again, think of our ancestors who put in plenty of effort to hunt, build shelters and travel. Aside from this reason, practicing sports is particularly important because paleo diets may be high in calories (depending on how you design yours).
What are its benefits?
There’s no doubt that the biggest advantage of a Paleo diet is its versatility. Naturally, our ancestors fed on whatever was within their reach, so their ‘meal plans’ varied drastically depending on location, weather conditions and other factors.
In other words, you may shape a Paleo diet to contain more animal foods and less carbs or more plants, which also means extra carbs. You can have more meat of all kinds or stick to salads – it all depends on your personal preferences. This freedom of choice is rarely found in today’s diets and it helps you truly embrace a healthier lifestyle.
However, these other benefits provided by a Paleo diet are equally important:
One of the most notable factors that contribute to obesity is processed foods. These meals contain ‘empty’ calories that make your body retain fat without offering actual vitamins or energy. The number one rule in Paleo diets is to avoid processed foods and eat everything in its purest, natural form. This, along with avoiding foods high in carbs, leads to losing fat mass and reducing long-term risks of obesity.
(Re)gained physical health
Right now, heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide – and what we eat every day determines how well our body will function. Sure, it’s almost impossible to avoid every unhealthy substance out there, but a Paleo diet might help you stay away from the most dangerous additives and chemicals. Curious for more info? See below.
More energy & satiety
Remember the term ‘empty calories?’ That’s the reason why you aren’t feeling full even though you ate more food than you’d need. The Paleo diet is focused on giving your body as many nutrients as possible in their purest form, hence you’ll gain more energy and feel fuller while still eating the same quantity of food daily (or even less!).
Which are the challenges?
A Paleo diet may be easy, but it’s still a diet after all which means it has certain challenges. The biggest one, as consumers see it, is giving up on dairy products and legumes, since they’re such a big part of our daily menu (bread and milk are the best examples).
The lack of processed foods and quick snacks also raises another challenge: preparing your own meals. Adopting a paleo diet means saying goodbye to cereal, sandwiches, pasta and other foods you might’ve relied on until now.
If you don’t want to spend half the day in your kitchen, our meal plan offers quick and easy snack and meal ideas. Check it out here.
However, it’s all about practice. While you cut down on certain foods, you’ll discover new flavors and recipes that will help you rediscover the pleasure of eating – all in a healthy way!
- 1Lose weight!
- 2Be healthy!
- 3Enjoy great taste!
What to eat & avoid on a Paleo diet?
By now, we found out what Paleo means and the general guidelines of this extremely popular diet. Now, let’s have a look at which foods are recommended and which to avoid:
What to eat
- Meat & fish of all kinds
- Nuts & seeds
What to avoid
- Beans & lentils
- Refined sugars (such as corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or candy)
- Wine & soda
What are the health benefits?
As we mentioned earlier, adopting a Paleo diet can help you lose weight and gain energy – but there’s more. Over the years, this diet turned out to improve the functionality of many organs on the long run. Let’s have a look:
Regulating blood pressure. Paleo means eating foods low in sodium, yet high in potassium; this combination has been well known to reduce blood pressure, which can also prevent diabetes and heart problems.
Improving your heart health. Eliminating sodium, candy, cereal grains and soda has instant benefits for your heart by lowering your cholesterol. Furthermore, cutting processed foods means eating less trans fats, which can contribute to clogged arteries.
Easier digestion. Right now, we are struggling with digestive issues more often than ever. Bloating, nausea or stomach cramps are all symptoms caused by consuming processed foods or sweetened drinks full of chemicals. Not only does Paleo help you stay away from dangerous ingredients, but it also makes you eat more vegetables and fruits that increase your healthy gut bacteria.
No way your inner caveman is going hungry on this menu! Enjoy a nice spread of healthy fats from nuts, salmon and olive oil throughout the day, and there’s plenty of sweet and salty for you here, too, from the likes of fresh blackberries and mangoes. Finally, you can bet all these natural, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and nuts are going to deliver vitamins and minerals in spades, along with a gut-friendly helping of dietary fiber.
150g fresh blackberries topped with 30g walnuts, 8 Tbsp whipped heavy cream and 1 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey – 411 kcal
120g fruit and nut trail mix – 350 kcal
100g broiled salmon on a bed of 85g fresh arugula, drizzled with 2 Tbsp olive oil and juice of 1 lemon – 325 kcal
50 g cocoa-dusted almonds – 305 kcal
Skirt Steak with Fresh Mango Salsa – 489 kcal
Daily total: 1,880 kcal
Pie for breakfast? Yes, please! Indulge this morning with a creamy pumpkin pie smoothie — which, by the way, is bursting with vitamin A and potassium — followed by a soul-warming lunch of collagen-rich bone broth chicken soup. Lastly, you’ll get another heavy dose of protein and antioxidant beta carotene in this easy-peasy sheet pan dinner — a perfect post-workout meal for you after work gym goers.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – 225 kcal
1 whole mango, sliced, with 2 Tbsp coconut oil – 440 kcal
Chicken soup with 250mL chicken bone broth, 150g chicken breast, 60g carrot and 60g celery – 418 kcal
30g dried banana chips dipped in 1 Tbsp cashew butter – 250 kcal
Sheet pan bake, 150g pork chop and 150g sweet potato slices tossed in 2 Tbsp coconut oil – 617 kcal
Daily total: 1,950 kcal
After a satisfying meat-and-potatoes breakfast, you’ll fortify your body’s micronutrient needs with this robust spinach salad, complete with protein and heart-healthy fat. Then your afternoon will be replete with more meaty goodness, not to mention omega-3 fat, in the way of buffalo jerky and salmon. And who doesn’t like kale chips? It just may be the best way to eat the king of all superfoods.
Leftover portion of pork chop/sweet potato dinner from Day 2 – 617 kcal
Apple – 100 kcal
Tossed salad with 60g raw spinach, 100g chicken breast, 120g cherry tomatoes, 15g sliced almonds and 15g feta cheese, dressed with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar – 651 kcal
90g buffalo jerky – 180 kcal
150g baked salmon with 60g baked kale chips – 403 kcal
Daily total: 1,951 kcal
Have a sweet and savory start today and rest assured knowing your “apple a day” is taken care of at breakfast. If that wasn’t enough you’ll certainly look forward to your tropical-themed morning and afternoon snacks good enough to make Gilligan jealous. Catch of the day is shrimp for dinner, wrapped up in a nutritious veggie package and served with scrumptious sweet potato chips.
80g pork breakfast sausage topped with 1 diced apple, drizzled with 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup – 385 kcal
50g toasted coconut chips – 368 kcal
Turkey jerky nachos – 120g turkey jerky and 120g pico de gallo – 191 kcal
30 g (about 12) macadamia nuts and 30g dried tropical fruit mix – 320 kcal
Basil Avocado Shrimp Salad Wraps – 567 kcal
Daily total: 1,831 kcal
Lots of textures and flavors to keep you interested today, starting with a crunchy, sweet and salty breakfast featuring plenty of nuts for protein. While lunch is by far the nutrition powerhouse, featuring supergreen arugula and tangy tomatoes balanced by savory steak and spicy horseradish cut by the tartness of fresh-squeezed lemon. Yum! Finally your dinner tonight is a meat-and-potatoes offering with a coconut twist. Also, you’ll get a boost of beta carotene and a multitude of minerals from the sweet potato, so eat up.
Apple and Almond Butter Bites (4) – 381 kcal
140g mandarin oranges and 20g shredded coconut – 190 kcal
Salad with 60g arugula, 100g sliced flank steak, 120g cherry tomatoes and 30g diced red onions, dressed with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp horseradish – 534 kcal
Mini turkey sandwiches with cucumber slices, 100g turkey and 1 sliced cucumber – 130 kcal
Coconut-Crusted Chicken Strips (1 chicken breast) with 150g diced sweet potatoes roasted in 2 Tbsp coconut oil – 612 kcal
Daily total: 1,847 kcal
If only caveman could have eaten like this, he might have lacked the motivation to evolve! Of course there’s protein-a-plenty here, in a variety of forms, and delivered alongside nutrition powerhouses like sweet potatoes and kale. Tonight’s dinner will certainly test your spice rack, or else cause you to make a needed upgrade. But the array of flavors you’ll experience in this Moroccan chicken dish will prove well worth it.
Sweet potato hash browns and eggs: 1 medium sweet potato, shredded and pan fried in 2 Tbsp coconut oil and dusting of nutmeg, topped with a fried egg – 451 kcal
150g fresh blackberries topped with 1 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey – 159 kcal
100g broiled salmon on a bed of 85g fresh baby kale, topped with a dressing of 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice of 1 lime and sriracha sauce to taste – 486 kcal
60g assorted nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. – no peanuts) – 364 kcal
Moroccan-Style Chicken Tagine – 440 kcal
Daily total: 1,900 kcal
Start off with a shot of fiber and folate and fat in this tart, sweet and creamy breakfast combo. A few hearty snacks of nutritious nuts, seeds and dried fruits will surely get you through the day, while a delicious dinner awaits. Omega-3 superfood salmon in a sophisticated marsala wine sauce.
150g fresh raspberries topped with 30g walnuts, 8 Tbsp whipped coconut cream (homemade or store bought) and 1 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey – 355 kcal
30 g (about 12) macadamia nuts – 200 kcal
Leftover chicken from Day 6 dinner – 440 kcal
120g fruit and nut trail mix (from Day 1) – 350 kcal
Baked Salmon with Rosemary, Lemon and Capers – 377 kcal
Daily total: 1,722 kcal
Whether you’re on vacation or off to a normal workday, this festive pina colada smoothie will get your morning off to a rollicking start — and with tons of good fat and protein, it’s sure to keep your hunger at bay for hours to come. Skipping ahead to dinner, it’s an easy one-pan meal with less than 10 ingredients that packs plenty of protein power as well as your veggie fix for the day.
Pina colada blended smoothie with 398 mL (1 can) unsweetened coconut milk, 30g egg white protein powder, 40g frozen pineapple chunks and 1 frozen banana – 500 kcal
80g dried apricots and 30g walnuts – 380 kcal
Leftover baked salmon from Day 7 dinner – 377 kcal
4 slices of ham – 140 kcal
Tuscan Chicken Skillet (2 portions) – 516 kcal
Daily total: 1,913 kcal
Baked goods are not something to be eaten often on paleo, but you’ll feel like your cheating when you bite into these toothsome pumpkin muffins at breakfast this morning. A selection of nuts, seeds and berries keep your going through the day later on before you feast on a nutrient-rich salad topped with juicy flank steak.
Paleo pumpkin English muffins (2) topped with 1 Tbsp coconut oil – 393 kcal
150g blackberries and 150g raspberries topped with 1 Tbsp chia seeds and cinnamon to taste – 284 kcal
Leftover Tuscan Chicken Skillet (2 portions) from Day 8 dinner – 516 kcal
30g Brazil nuts – 200 kcal
200g sliced flank steak (grilled, broiled or sauteed) on top of a salad with 60g spinach, 30g sliced strawberries and 15g pumpkin seeds, dressed with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard to taste – 460 kcal
Daily total: 1,853 kcal
Whether you linger at home or take breakfast on the go, you’ll savor every spoonful of this delightfully rich and creamy paleo pudding topped with fresh mango and pumpkin seeds for a dose of magnesium. If your light fruit snack leaves you peckish midday, not to worry because a meaty Italian sub awaits you, minus the bread of course. Later in the evening, more savory surprises are in store. In mere minutes you’ll whip up a fantastic pork chop dinner, featuring delicate enoki mushrooms and a cream sherry sauce.
Coconut Chia Pudding – 312 kcal
150g fresh blueberries – 85 kcal
Roll up Italian sub layered with 4 slices honey ham, 2 slices capicola ham and 8 slices salami (as the roll), filled with 1 sliced tomato, 1 sliced banana pepper and 2 large leaves romaine lettuce, seasoned with 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp red wine vinegar and Italian seasoning to taste – 530 kcal
30g almonds (about 20) – 170 kcal
150g pork chop and 80g enoki mushrooms sauteed in 2 Tbsp olive oil then briefly simmered in 90 mL chicken broth and 30 mL cream sherry – 432 kcal
Daily total: 1,529 kcal
Say aloha to a Hawaiian inspired paleo breakfast today featuring the sweet and salty duo of pineapple and bacon, with eggs for a little extra protein power. Keep the island vibe going through your morning snack of deliciously fatty (the good kind) macadamia nuts. Then complete the theme this evening with a marvelous grilled mahi dinner, complemented by ultra-nutritious roasted brussels sprouts.
Hawaiian breakfast skillet with 3 eggs, 4 slices of bacon (chopped) and 60g diced pineapple – 431 kcal
30 g (about 12) macadamia nuts – 200 kcal
Leftover pork chop and mushrooms from Day 10 dinner – 432 kcal
90g buffalo jerky – 180 kcal
200g grilled mahi with 100g brussels sprouts roasted in 2 Tbsp olive oil – 523 kcal
Daily total: 1,766 kcal
Enjoy your protein from a plethora of sources today including eggs, nuts, beef and fish. With two hearty snacks you should have more than enough energy to blast through your day. Then it’s taco night, paleo-style, with just about the most nutritious version of the Mexican favorite you’ll find anywhere.
2 eggs fried in 1 Tbsp coconut oil, topped with ½ avocado sliced and 2 slices bacon, crumbled – 550 kcal
Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
12 fresh cherries and 30g walnuts – 268 kcal
Leftover mahi and brussels sprouts from Day 11 dinner – 523 kcal
Mini protein shake with 120 mL coconut water, 30g egg white protein powder, 1 tsp raw cacao powder and stevia to taste – 155 kcal
Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potato – 381 kcal
Daily total: 1,877 kcal
If kicking off your day with “breakfast asparagus” sounds scary, rest assured that it also contains bacon and eggs! Lunch should be equally satisfying, thanks to the whopping dose of omega-3 fat you’ll get from the salmon, not to mention all the vitamins and minerals that arugula delivers. Later on, you’ll celebrate a dinner destined for the sheet pan hall of fame. Prep in just minutes, then take your time savoring every bite.
Breakfast Asparagus – 341 kcal
1 grapefruit with 20g shredded coconut – 176 kcal
Salad with 60g arugula, 30g sliced bell pepper and 15g pine nuts, topped with 1 can salmon (about 340g) and dressed with 2 Tbsp olive oil and lemon juice to taste – 480 kcal Snack: 135g cantaloupe cubes wrapped in 4 slices prosciutto, with balsamic vinegar to taste – 170 kcal
Rosemary Balsamic Sheet Pan Chicken with Bacon and Apples – 444 kcal
Daily total: 1,611 kcal
Start with a hearty breakfast today featuring savory andouille sausage and loads of low carb veggies. More roughage is on the menu for lunch, this time with grilled chicken as your lean protein option. Then for dinner, a meatless meal comes your way — but rest assured there’s plenty of cheese to keep you satisfied, three varieties in fact.
2 egg omelette with 60g andouille sausage, 30g sauteed mushrooms, 1 clove minced and sauteed garlic, 80g halved cherry tomatoes and 30g shredded monterey jack cheese – 398 kcal
Olive oil spray for pan – 10 kcal
Espresso shot with 60 mL heavy whipping cream, instant espresso powder and zero-calorie sweetener to taste – 180 kcal
Tossed salad with 85g grilled chicken, 60g spinach, 30g sliced red onion, 15g slivered almonds and 15g crumbled goat cheese, dressed with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar – 404 kcal
15g (about 1 cup) popcorn – 60 kcal
Veggie lasagna stuffed portobello mushrooms (2 mushroom caps) – 472 kcal
Daily total: 1,524 kcal