Paleo has become a buzzword in recent years with many people aware of, or following the paleo diet. However, paleo is nothing new and its principles are rooted in the wisdom of our ancestors from the Paleolithic era. In essence it’s not really a “diet” at all, but more of a lifestyle based around the principles that enabled our hunter-gatherer ancestors to thrive, and could help us to live a more healthy wholesome life.
Before the agricultural revolution just 10,000 or so years ago, humans had lived as hunter-gatherers. For around 2 million years, humans had been living off the land and anything we could hunt or gather. Early humans would forage for berries, dig up tubers, chase mammals and subsequently learned to fish.
Proponents of the paleo diet suggest that as we were hunter-gatherers for a considerable amount of time before the somewhat recent agricultural revolution, that our bodies haven’t had enough time to adjust to eating these modern foods like grains and sugar. They argue that our diet shifted, but as yet our genetics haven’t had time to, and these modern foods like grains and dairy are not processed well by the majority of people which can lead to a range of symptoms and health issues.
The paleo diet is based around the idea of eating how we are biologically designed to eat, tapping into our genetic potential and optimising our health and wellbeing. So what can and can’t we eat on a paleo diet?
IN: Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Fish, Nuts, Seeds, Unrefined Oils.
OUT: Legumes/Pulses, Grains, Refined Sugar, Dairy, Processed Foods, Refined Oils.
The paleo diet places an emphasis on more fresh whole foods, and fewer processed foods, and should contain a lot more vegetables, fibre, and more anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids than standard diets. It’s easy to see how health can improve once we remove the packaged and heavily processed foods that tend to be staples in our modern diets.
Collagen was also an important part of our Paleolithic ancestors diet, they used every part of an animal including the bones to make a gelatinous broth, rich in collagen. Collagen is a unique protein, made up of specific anti-inflammatory amino acids lacking in our modern diet that can help to bring balance to the way we eat. We recommend adding a scoop of our pure collagen powder or marine collagen powder to your daily diet as it is difficult and also time consuming to get the amount of collagen our ancestors would have eaten from just bone broths alone. Our world has moved on substantially, and in these busy times, collagen supplements can come in very handy and provide the nutrition we may be lacking in our diets.
Following a paleo diet is not about re-enacting the Paleolithic era- we aren’t exactly going to go out hunting with spears-but it about realising our genetic predisposition and combining this with our modern day knowledge of how food and activities affect each of us and how we function. Here at Planet Paleo we aren’t fans of restriction or dogma and the end goal should be about building a balanced relationship with food rather than some sort of temporary diet you jump on and off. Each of us are on our own journeys and its down to us individually to figure out what does and doesn’t work for us at particular points in our life.
We believe that trying to incorporate a few small changes in your “modern” life can support what your body needs, and we don’t believe that you need to go 100% paleo to get benefits from the diet. Don’t forget to move more, and to prioritize sleep and stress reduction, and get your daily dose of collagen powder in to make the most of the paleo lifestyle and core principles.