Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

The Paleo Diet: Getting Eaten by a Lion and Losing Weight

April 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 170

It's gone by a variety of names (the Paleolithic diet, the Caveman diet, or simply the Paleo diet). By any name and in any of its forms, though, the Paleo diet has become increasingly popular and also increasingly ridiculed.

It's not uncommon to hear critics say that the Paleolithic diet is a "fad" or simply weird or ridiculous. However, despite all of the criticism, more and more people are adopting the diet. In addition, a growing body scientific research supports and underpins the core principles that make up the Paleo diet.

What, then, are the core principles of the Paleo diet and lifestyle? And why have so many people chosen to adopt it?

A. The Food (the Diet)

Although many experts emphasize the need for change in various aspects of the modern lifestyle (stress, sleep, exercise, etc.), Paleo is first and foremost a diet centered around food choices.

The core dietary principle of Paleo is that modern humans should attempt to eat more like our 'cavemen' ancestors. No matter where your ancestors originated from, it wasn't until pretty recently that humans were able to eat certain foods. For most of human existence, foods such as processed sugar, as well as wheat, rice, and other grains were not able to be eaten by humans.

The primary problem with eating these foods is that the human body never evolved to digest these foods very well. And because we can't digest the foods very well, they can cause a lot of problems in our body, especially if we eat these foods for a long time. Prolonged ingestion of these foods can often lead to long term illnesses, such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. Highly processed grains and sugars (such as cakes, cookies, breads, and sodas) are particularly bad and are highly discouraged by experts.

What should someone eat if they want to adopt a Paleo diet?

Basically, most experts encourage us to eat a lot of unprocessed meats and vegetables (especially green leafy ones), along with small amount of fruit and nuts. If you think about it, these recommendations are not all that surprising - after all, how many people really think that cakes, cookies, breads, and sodas are particularly healthy? Very few of our mothers or grandmothers would have encouraged us to eat our bread and soda at every meal.

One of the main complaints about the Paleolithic diet is that preparing unprocessed meats and vegetables can take a lot of time. After all, we don't actually live in the Paleolithic area, where our primary concerns would be hunting and gathering food and escaping predators. We all have high-stress jobs and kids to take to soccer practice.

That's why many Paleo diet practitioners adopt a more flexible diet. If you're able to cook your own food every day, then kudos! However, if you don't have the time, then there are more and more ready-made "Paleo" products being made available for purchase. These products range from cereals to diet drinks. As the diet grows in popularity, more and more of these products are becoming available.

B. Exercise (and Movement)

Besides the dietary aspect of Paleo, most experts recommend also trying to be more like our ancient ancestors in terms of exercise.

In particular, our ancestors rarely sat in one place for very long - very unlike we modern humans do for 8 or 10 hours in our office jobs. When possible, Paleo practitioners try to move around more during the day, rather than sitting for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, this is one of the aspects of the Paleolithic lifestyle that is the most difficult to actually implement, since most of our bosses wouldn't appreciate us getting up from our desk every half-hour to stretch, walk around, and do a few squats.

Although many of us can't adopt that aspect of the lifestyle, there is another aspect that is easier to fit in. If you picture life in the Paleolithic Era, then it probably involves images of running from lions and bears and also images of chasing and hunting deer and wild boar (or similar animals). The common theme to these activities is that they required our ancestors to exert a lot of energy and strength in a short period of time. These activities didn't require our ancestors to run for an hour or to be continuously exercising all day.

Many Paleo dieters seek to replicate this sporadically but intensely active aspect of our ancestors' lifestyle. One way that this is done is through a program known as "CrossFit." CrossFit is a brief, high intensity workout involving a lot of strength training and emphasizing "natural" movements. Many of the movements involved in CrossFit workouts seek to imitate the movements often performed by humans in a natural environment (i.e., not sitting in an office chair!).

CrossFit exercises are very diverse, but some examples include pull-ups, squats, and deadlifts. In each case, our ancestors probably didn't do these exact exercises, but the exercises approximate movements that they did do. If our ancestor wanted an apple or coconut high in a tree, they probably had to pull themselves up the tree to get it. If they wanted to move a big rock or create a temporary shelter, they needed to be able to push heavy objects around to do it. Likewise, if they killed an antelope and actually wanted to get it back to where the rest of their tribe was, they were going to have to lift it off the ground in order to carry it.

Conversely, although our ancestors were in pretty good shape and could probably jog for quite a while, it's unlikely that they did so particularly often. One doesn't "jog" away from a dangerous animal or after a fast-moving meal. In addition, continuous work-outs that take several hours and occur several times a week can cause severe inflammation in our bodies and often lead to overuse injuries.

C. Stress

Weren't our ancient ancestors stressed? Surely when a hungry lion wandered by, our ancestors got a little worried, right?

Of course our ancestors got stressed. However, it was most often what's called "acute" stress. In other words, the stress was severe, but it was very short-lived. Either you got away from the lion or it ate you. Either way, you weren't stressed for very long.

Experts emphasize that the modern human faces a lot more "chronic" stress. We may not be quite as worried about our job or our bills as we would be about seeing a hungry lion, but the stress our jobs and bills cause never ends. Having this sort of chronic stress actually does physical damage to our bodies because of the hormones that constantly get released as a result. Like the dietary advice, this is not particularly surprising, since most of us know that we feel much worse physically during times when we're constantly stressed.

Getting rid of the chronic stress is the hardest part, but many Paleolithic practitioners find that eating better, exercising well, and just paying attention to what stresses them help to begin relieving some of that chronic stress.

D. Sleep

Most cavemen slept a healthy 9 hours while the sun was down. After all, it's pretty dangerous in the dark.

Experts suggest that we should all sleep when the sun sets and wake when the sun rises, perhaps by using thick curtains to ensure that street lights don't disturb our sleep. This is not controversial for the most part, but many people don't know just how much lack of sleep can affect their lives. From heart disease to weight loss, lack of sleep has been scientifically shown to negatively affect almost all aspect of our health.

Weird, Ridiculous, or Mostly Common Sense?

Now that you know all about the Paleolithic diet and lifestyle, what do you think? Is eating more vegetables and fewer cookies ridiculous? How weird is it to suggest sleeping for 9 hours every night? Does it really defy common sense to exercise in ways that mirror movements we might need to use in our every-day lives?

Perhaps mirroring some aspects of the caveman lifestyle isn't so crazy after all. Cavemen may have died early due to a lack of medicines and many natural dangers, but they didn't die very often from cancers or diabetes-related illnesses. Many of our modern-day foods, exercises, and stresses combine to put our minds and bodies into situations that we simply were not designed to handle. Perhaps one day we will evolve to easily digest grains and work for 72 hours straight without sleeping, but sadly(?), that day has not yet come.

Jeremy is one of the founders of Flax Gold, which produces food products designed to make it easier to adhere to a healthy diet. In particular, Flax Gold produces a healthy and delicious breakfast cereal designed for anyone trying to stick to a Paleo or Low-Carb diet.

Jeremy also regularly blogs about health and nutrition issues and how to more easily stick to a healthy diet. You can find his blog at

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Low Carb




Weight Loss








Low Carb Diet


Paleo Diet


Paleo Lifestyle

Your body needs glucose in order to get energy for cell and tissue function. Without energy, the cells do not function properly and the immune system is compromised. When your blood glucose levels

By: Clifford H Woods l Health & Fitness > Diabetes l July 09, 2013 lViews: 2617

Heavy Metals - Free radicals (tissue damaging molecules that cause aging and bodily deterioration) are the result of the ever-present toxins within our environment. Heavy metals are contained in

By: Clifford H Woods l Health & Fitness > Supplements l July 09, 2013 lViews: 606

Braun shavers and trimmers are very standard brand and their new curser beard and head trimmer is big for trimming beards. This trimmer was specifically made to be able to trim down your beard and

By: Lovey Blackburn l Health & Fitness > Beauty l December 20, 2012 lViews: 459

On this website you will find latest makeup reviews and swatches from real people. You will know how makeup products look in real life, and you can also participate! Post your photos, tips and

By: l Health & Fitness > Beauty l December 09, 2012 lViews: 320

You can either seek referrals from friends and associates or search for consultants on the internet. The latter, in our opinion, would be a viable option for those pressed for time.You can either

By: Simon Liva l Health & Fitness > Diseases l December 07, 2012 lViews: 268

Healthy living is essential in today's world, to ensure one's well being. Learn how to relax and improve your mood now! Be it exercising, or indulging in one's passions and hobbies, be sure to set

By: Clarinda l Health & Fitness > Mind Body Spirit l December 02, 2012 lViews: 261

There are different types of diets available today that promise to help you shed the extra pounds. Some diets are effective for some people while for others, they are not so effective. It is very

By: Aline Hellerl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 11, 2012 lViews: 199

When we heard this diet will make you lose weight, and that also 10-17 pounds - my husband and I were curious. GM diet, yes.

By: Daisy Varghese-Spilkerl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 10, 2012 lViews: 200

In the 21st century most people don't think outside the box when it comes to a diet plan. Instead, they are focused on whatever the TV is telling them is the hottest diet of the month because so and

By: T.W. Andersonl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 07, 2012 lViews: 175

Among the many dietary supplements that have become fairly prominent over the past several years, there is a class of supplements that are specifically appealing because of the many nutritional

By: Peter J Morganl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 06, 2012 lViews: 174

Are you searching for a Diet Solution Program review? Need to know more on if the program really will solve your weight problem? This is the real truth behind the program to enable you to make the

By: Rick L. Daviesl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 04, 2012 lViews: 176

There are so many different types of diet plans today that it's difficult to know which one to use. Each diet plan has advantages and disadvantages and it would be best if you discussed them with

By: A Bhanotl Health & Fitness > Popular Dietsl April 02, 2012 lViews: 152

Strapped for food in the mornings? Trying to be healthy but lacking the healthy food you need to stick to your diet? Don't worry, this article will explain everything you need to know to make sure

By: Jeremy Hendonl Food and Drink > Recipesl February 27, 2012 lViews: 185

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus