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There are many diet fads followed by numerous people. However, low-calorie diets are capable of hurting a person’s metabolism. It is because they are so extreme that it causes a person to fail due to unrealistic expectations.
Metabolic adaptation is real, but the real reason for failure in a low-calorie diet plan is an unsustainable diet that leads to binging. Thus, going into too big of a deficit is unsustainable and negatively impacts one’s health.
It makes more sense to be moderately deficit and enjoy our diet all while living a happy lifestyle. This leaves energy to go to the gym, make muscle mass and have steady progress. Thus, comes the Paleo diet plan in the picture.
What is the Paleo diet?
In prehistoric times, human beings were nomads. They moved from place to place and hunted for their food. They gathered vegetables and supplies and prepared their meals directly sourced from nature. In modern day, the food available is completely processed.
Even raw vegetables, meat sourced from local butchers are not guaranteed to be raised without additives, hormones and growth enhancers. Hence, more and more people nowadays are consciously switching to paleo diet foods. We must start eating how we’re biologically designed, which will allow us to tap into our genetic potential. Ultimately, this enables us to start living healthier immediately.
Paleo diet, the name stems from following a meal pattern that could have been available in the Palaeolithic Era. This is known by alternative names such as stone age diet, hunter’s diet and caveman diet.
The food falling under the Paleo diet plan was normally available 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. Followers of the paleo diet plan do not believe that human beings have evolved enough to process the agricultural products of today's modern farming, such as dairy, grains, artificial sweeteners and trans-fats.
Should I Choose a Paleo Diet?
Before choosing to indulge in a restrictive diet, it is always best to consult a specialist, like a nutritionist. A study conducted by the Dutch Health Council in 2014 compared the effects on followers of the paleo diet with those on a recommended diet for metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease (1). The results observed were as follows: blood pressure was seen to be reduced, along with blood lipid profile, both of which can improve heart health. Paleo diet food is filled with minerals, vitamins and essential nutrients that is missing from the processed food seen today.
If you’re looking to improve your health by eliminating processed, trans-fat rich foods, Paleo diet is a perfect choice. This diet wasn’t intended for weight loss purpose as it also allows for nuts and seed consumption, something which are high in calories. It was created for today’s generation to consciously improve their health with their food habits.
However, you’re only allowed to eat meat, fish, veggies, fruits, and nuts. It is known that these foods are full of nutrients. They will make you feel full, all while providing a reduced amount of calories than junk food.
You are completely eliminating nutritional deficient and unhealthy foods that are calorie dense. There is complete elimination of grains (pasta, rice, bread), no beans, no dairy.
Also, it is important to note that soda and food items that contain sugar can’t be eaten. And because of the elimination of entire food groups, the body is bound to lose excess calories.
Paleo Diet Food List
There are many foods which come under the paleo diet meal plan. Although fat is a necessary requirement of the body, it has been vilified. Healthy fats such as omega 3 acids are valuable additions to our food and diet. In the paleo diet, fat makes up a large portion of one’s diet.
There are many paleo-approved healthy fats, such as:
Avocados: A whole avocado has between 200-300 calories
Almonds: One serving of almonds has 162 calories
Walnuts: One serving of walnuts have 185 calories
Coconut oil: 100 grams of coconut oil contains 862 calories
Olive oil: 100 grams of olive oil contains 884 calories
Other foods also fall under the paleo diet list, such as:
Pork, beef and poultry, preferably grass-fed, organic, or free-range selections which all come under the category of lean meats.
Types of game animals including bison, venison and quail.
Eggs, preferably free-range, with not more than a few per week.
Fish, including shellfish
Fruit, such as strawberries, apples, mangoes and figs.
Non-starchy vegetables, such as pumpkin, peppers and onions.
List of Foods to Avoid When You are on Paleo Diet
The paleo diet food list almost eliminates the external intake of sugar apart from fruits.
Grains are also prohibited, since they have undergone some amount of processing. Humans have a tendency to overeat grains, like bread. They cause problems with blood sugar levels and are nutrient deficit and calorie dense.
A natural toxin that exists in grains is Lecithin. This helps the plant to defend against its own consumption. Plants have evolved this mechanism of producing such a toxin to prevent its consumption by animals. When lectins enter the intestinal tract, they prevent our cells from repairing normal wear and tear, causing a lot of damage..
Another reason for elimination of grains is because of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in food like rye, barley, and wheat . It is now being said that much of our population may be gluten-intolerant.
Over time, the people who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions and problems. This ranges from diseases like dermatitis, joint pain, acid reflux, and more problems with reproduction.
Thus, the paleo diet food list does not allow the consumption of:
Grains, such as wheat, oats and barley
Legumes, such as peas, lentils, beans and peanuts
Potatoes and other starchy tubers
Highly processed foods like packaged chips, biscuits and cookies
A beginner’s guide to starting the Paleo Diet Plan for Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians
Table of Content
Paleo Diet Chart for Vegetarians
Paleo Diet Chart for Non-Vegetarians
7-Day Paleo Diet Chart for Vegetarians
If you want to try this new way of eating but don’t know how to do it, there’s no need to worry. We have prepared a complete one-week paleo diet meal plan for beginners. Although it is much easier to follow this diet as a meat/seafood eater, there are possibilities to prepare paleo diet meal plans according to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Breakfast: Smoothie bowl with paleo granola or fresh fruit. Use low sugar fruits such as berries, and apples, as well as fresh greens in the smoothies.
Lunch: A veggie-heavy salad including kale or mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, half of an avocado, and freshly squeezed lemon.
Dinner: Japanese macrobiotic bowl of kimchi salad. The Macrobiotic diet as followed by the Japanese seeks to maintain optimum balance of nutrients that we ingest in our body. They combine the foods we eat in such a way that there is an equal amount of yin and yang in every meal.
Breakfast: Burger with Avocado keto buns. Avocado helps you start your day off with a high-fat and a high-protein food intake. This gives you energy, faster metabolism and satiety levels.
Dinner: Creamy sauce veggie alfredo hotpot. Cauliflower is the “Paleo potato” because its flavour profile is versatile and bland. Cauliflower can be built upon for flavour enhancements, allowing it to be a low-carb, fiber-rich component of just about any Paleo dish. It provides the perfect base for a dairy-free comfort food that is also creamy.
Breakfast: Banana flourless Pancakes
Lunch: Corn soup with veggies and a small bowl of salad
Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers. They can be stuffed with mushroom, onions, zucchini and sautéed in olive oil.
Breakfast: Zucchini fritters. Zucchini squash are rich in magnesium. This is a mineral that a huge number of people are deficient in, and which plays an important role in sleep quality, reduced muscle pains, and balanced hormone levels.
Lunch: Spicy mushrooms with steamed broccoli in orange sauce: This bursts with flavour of umami mushrooms and orange. The broccoli is yummy, healthy,and pairs well with any steamed veggie.
Dinner: Cauliflower Soup. Cauliflower paired with turmeric acts as an inflammation buster that supports proper digestion and cardiovascular health.
Breakfast: Zucchini grated pancakes
Lunch: Lemon garlic brussels sprouts. The combination of garlic and lemon make brussels sprouts more appetizing. These cruciferous family of vegetables, which have been proven by researchers to have cancer fighting properties are also known as “mini cabbages”. They are rich in fiber and have more than twice the daily amount of vitamin K compared to other vegetables.
Dinner: Guac stuffed burgers with kale. Avocados can help inculcate feeling of fullness for a long time after meals since they are so dense. They can help to support metabolism; plus, they are a match made in heaven for classic burgers.
Breakfast: Matcha Smoothie Bowl of fruit. This meal incorporates matcha, an antioxidant-rich green tea powder found naturally which is a source of plant pigment chlorophyll, a detoxifying nutrient that also purifies our blood.
Lunch: Teriyaki potato bowl. A one-dish meal - these teriyaki potato balls harness the power of fresh garlic (which is so potent that it can be used to prevent numerous forms of cancer), and it even functions as a natural type of antibiotic.
Dinner: Taco Bowl. This grain-free, dairy-free casserole combines favourite taco elements in a paleo diet.
7-Day Paleo Diet Chart for Non-Vegetarians
Breakfast: Granola with pecan and maple syrup. This sweet and savoury crunch of pecan granola is rich in protein and provides a hearty start to the day.
Lunch: Chicken seasoned with lemon and herbs. Lemons are very rich in vitamin C, i.e ascorbic acid which is an antioxidant that supports the natural detox function of the liver. It pairs nicely with chicken and herbs, providing an immune-boosting combo that is digestion and anti-inflammatory.
Dinner: Chipotle flavoured Chicken Soup. Chicken is one of the classics in Paleo proteins because they are rich in amino acids, which have a wide range of benefits. It helps in alleviating problems with blood sugar, heart’s health and is also known to decrease risk of colorectal cancer. When chicken is eaten as a soup, it’s a budget-friendly way to get protein and other nutrients.
Breakfast: Broccoli Toast topped with Avocado. The grain-free toast topped with avocado and a dash of sea salt on top gives a delicious yet fiber-rich breakfast that will keep you full till lunch.
Lunch: Chipotle flavoured chicken soup (leftover)
Dinner: Carrots glazed in honey with apple cider pork roast: Apple a day keeps the doctor away, and this is rightly said because of benefits like improved eyesight. Carrots are also the star nutrient of this dish because of its ability to balance blood sugar levels. They even have anti-aging nutrients. The sweet but savoury pork that provides a big dose of protein makes the stomach feel full for hours.
Breakfast: Burger with Avocado Buns for breakfast
Lunch: Leftovers of Apple Cider flavoured Pork Roast with Glazed Carrots
Dinner: White sauce cream Chicken Alfredo
Breakfast: Banana batter flourless Pancakes
Lunch: Chicken, beef or pork soup with veggies and a small bowl of salad
Dinner: Mushroom Stuffed Bell Peppers
Breakfast: Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus dipped in soft boiled eggs. Asparagus provides a big dose of daily vitamin K that humans require. It helps in proper blood clotting, and when paired with the salty prosciutto and soft-boiled egg, it provides a tasty and healthy way to maintain the Paleo diet plan. Vitamin K maintains bone health, heart health, and brain health in our body.
Lunch: BLT Avocado Sandwich. Avocados are not only delicious but serve as a good replacement for bread in sandwiches, proving that not every Paleo meal needs to be confusing or complex.
Dinner: Ahi fish Tuna Salad. Selenium is an important mineral found in a mere four ounces of tuna. It is a trace mineral which is essential for healthy metabolism, thyroid balance and reduced inflammation.
Breakfast: Zucchini pancakes
Lunch: Lemon garlic brussels sprouts. The combination of garlic and lemon make brussels sprouts more appetizing. These cruciferous family of vegetables, which have been proven by researchers to have cancer fighting properties are also known as “mini cabbages”. They are rich in fiber and have more than twice the daily prescribed amount of vitamin K that our body needs.
Dinner: Avocado bacon burger. While most people don’t associate beef and bacon with a healthy meal, it is not the case. This dish is yummy yet low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fats, and nutrients.
Breakfast: Matcha Smoothie Bowl of fruits.
Lunch: Creamy sauced Chicken Marsala
Dinner: Taco Bowl.
With the above recipes, we are ending our mouth-watering list of a beginner’s guide to the paleo meal plan in the best way.
Pros and Cons of trying the Paleo diet
There is no doubt about the fact that the paleo diet plan comes with lots of benefits.
Not only is the diet simple and unprocessed, the paleo diet promotes anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats and nuts.
Cutting out processed foods and sugar will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and also reduce the possibility of certain cancers.
The diet also emphasizes exercise, just like hunters. Exercise can help you lose or maintain your weight so it is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle.
There is a lot of scientific evidence that supports this type of lifestyle. Researchers compared the effects of the paleo diet with a diet for diabetes on 13 people with type 2 diabetes (2).
The small study found that participants' body weight and waist circumference was reduced by eating food on the paleo diet . A study in 2017 concluded in a review that the paleo diet helped participants reduce weight in the short term. Results were found to be so due to consuming fewer calories or caloric restriction (3).
There is also promising research on how insulin resistance is improved for people following the paleo diet meal plan.
There are many arguments that the paleo diet may oversimplify the story of how humans adapted to changes in diet. There is a need for better understanding of the evolution of human nutritional needs.
We need to consider variations in diet based on geography, climate and food availability. Thus, not only the transition to farming but also these factors would have shaped the evolution of nutritional needs.
Wild grains as much as 30,000 years ago could have been a part of early human diets well before the introduction of farming. Genetic research has shown that evolutionary changes weren’t confined to the Palaeolithic era. Diet-related changes influenced other things such as an increase in the number of genes related to the breakdown of dietary starches in food.
All in all, it is safe to say that each individual’s body is made in a different way. What works for one might not be the perfect diet for another.
The paleo diet is just one of many effective and wonderful diet fads seen today. It is important to make an informed decision about one’s lifestyle in consultation with experts.
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