Paleolithic Weight Loss Diet for Health | Paleo diet, caveman diet, hunter gatherer diet, Stone Age diet
A Paleolithic weight loss diet is most effective at producing natural, lasting fat loss where there is overweight or obesity. Moreover, this way of eating and various variations of it are remarkably effective in treating and preventing many food-related diseases. Such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, acne, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, systemic lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, arthritis, joint pains, ulcerative colitis, depression, some types of mental illness, food addiction, food or chemical intolerance, and other forms of inflammation or related autoimmune diseases.
The Paleolithic diet is the best for optimum health or unwanted weight gain because these are the type of proteins and specific seasonal plants our ancestors ate. We were and still are designed by Mother Nature to eat these natural foods.
So, the Paleolithic diet (abbreviated Paleo diet or paleodiet), also referred to as 'the Stone Age diet,' 'caveman diet' and the 'hunter-gatherer diet,' not only happens to bring about weight loss when it is needed but also provides optimum health.
Overview of the Paleolithic weight loss diet for health
The Paleolithic weight loss diet consists of eating the kinds of unprocessed, low carbohydrate food our ancestors ate and avoiding specific plants. Because our ancestors evolved eating this way, they are natural for us to eat too.
Here is the source of the problem: We are creatures of the Pleistocene [a prehistorical era] who have developed Anthropocene [the present era] habits.
This diet has many names such as 'Paleolithic diet,' 'Paleo diet,' 'Paleotech diet,' 'hunter-gatherer diet,' 'caveman diet,' 'Stone Age diet,' 'warrior diet,' 'Neanderthal diet,' the 'food intolerance elimination diet,' and so on.
Four reasons for a Paleolithic weight loss diet
First, in our modern world we are too stressed; this can lead to emotional overeating, carb addiction, or consuming too many processed (refined) carbohydrates.
On our Emotional Eating page, we make available to you the best ideas we have about emotional eating. At the Meditation page, we show you how to reduce stress.
Second, many of us do not think effectively about improving our health on long-term bases. In our Psychology pages, we provide clear guidance for focusing your thinking.
Third, we do not move as much as we should; we don't exercise as much as our ancestors did. We show you exactly how to rectify this at the Exercise, Walking for Weight Loss, Strength Training, and other relevant pages of this website.
Fourth, we eat the wrong kinds of foods. To lose weight and achieve lasting weight loss, we should return to eating a natural diet similar to the kind our ancestors ate. The Paleolithic weight loss diet will enable you to do just that.
Your ancestors and their famous weight loss diet
The Pleistocene is the geological epoch that started 1,640,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago. It occurred before recorded history. Nearly all human evolution occurred during the Pleistocene.
The Holocene is the geological era that started about 10,000 years ago and ended in the last century. This era includes all recorded history. The Anthropocene is the present era that just began.
As physical environments change, plants and animals must also change in order to survive and reproduce. Evolution is the idea of descent with cumulative genetic modification. These modifications are due to natural selection (which adapts species to their environments), sexual selection (which shapes each sex in relation to the other sex), and various random processes (such as genetic mutation).
Well, regarding the evolution of our genes, that's a short time.
A band is a social group of hunter-gatherers that occupies a local territory. Usually, bands have about 20 members. (They may have twice that number, but they have never had more than ten times that number.) During the Pleistocene, all humans or proto-humans lived in bands. Your ancestors neither farmed nor herded animals. Like those of other primates, these bands were small and mobile.
In a band, females typically raise children and collect water, food, and firewood. The food they gather is usually vegetables (including some root vegetables or tubers), fruits (including berries and nuts), eggs, and, sometimes, small animals and fish.
In a band, males typically compete by playing games of status such as hunting, warfare, and shamanism or religion.
The original roots of your ancestors
Your Pleistocene ancestors originally came from sub-Saharan Africa. Like today, their physical environment was a mixture of forest, scrub, and open savanna. There were wet and dry seasons. There were hot days and cool nights. There were many herds of hoofed animals, smaller animals, and, of course, insects.
It was probably not a bad place to make a living. Adults may have "worked" only twenty or thirty hours weekly. It's likely that they had a lot more leisure than many people have today. Our ancestors were the longest-lived mammals on Earth, so the daily risk of death was small. Illnesses were brought about usually by injury or starvation. Predators would have taken the very young, the very old, the very sick, or the very foolish.
Survival wasn't the biggest problem, and they probably didn't worry much about it. Probably, like other great apes, they worried a lot more about social and sexual problems. Typically, their lives would have been, by our standards, somewhat boring.
That really was the best natural weight loss diet and lifestyle in the sense that being overweight or obese was never a problem. Their diet consisted of fats, proteins, and natural (unrefined, unprocessed) carbohydrates.
Our Pleistocene ancestors ate very little or no salt. Instead of products full of sugar and flour, they ate no processed carbohydrates. They had no chocolate and no beer, wine, or spirits.
They ate no cereal grains. They consumed no dairy products.
It's important not to emphasize hunting too much when thinking about Pleistocene nutrition. Anthropologists have determined that in most hunter-gatherer societies women provide most of the daily sustenance. They efficiently gather plant foods as well as small game animals.
The truth is that men frequently come back from hunting without any meat. Remember that our ancient ancestors evolved with large game animals, which means that these animals were not easy prey to bring down. Success rates were less than 10% daily. Women provided daily sustenance. Imagine back 50,000 or so years. Think of how our homo sapiens ancestors lived. In any reasonably rich food environment, they were at least as tall as we are.
Paleolithic diet foods
Which foods are included in the Paleolithic diet?
That's easy: the diet consists of eating only the foods that our ancient ancestors ate frequently. A Paleolithic diet should come from a wide variety of foods from plants and (unless you are vegetarian) animals.
The plant foods are vegetables and fruits (including nuts and berries).
For fresh vegetables you may include asparagus, beets and beet greens, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, green onions, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, red onions, parsley, peppers, pumpkin, radish, spinach, turnips and turnip greens, and watercress.
Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams, are not part of the Paleolithic weight loss diet. They are excluded.
For fresh fruits (dried fruits are excluded) you may include low carbohydrate fruits such as apricots, but especially berries.
The animal foods are meat (including internal organs), fish, and eggs.
Which diet is not a natural Paleolithic weight loss diet?
That's also easy: a diet consisting of foods that our Pleistocene ancestors did not eat.
Our hunting-gathering ancestors never (or almost never) ate grains or products made from grains, dairy products or products made using dairy products, or legumes (such as peanuts) or products made from legumes (such as peanut butter or tofu).
Those are not part of a Paleolithic weight loss diet.
It is not necessary to eat precisely as our Pleistocene ancestors did to achieve lasting weight loss, but it is exceptionally beneficial to eat they did. They had a healthy diet, which is a balanced, natural diet.
Now that you understand it, you may notice how frequently Paleo nutrition is used in the treatment of many diseases. Why not take advantage of it? Why not test out the Paleolithic diet for yourself? It does work. It works for health, and it works for weight loss.
The Paleolithic weight loss diet that we advocate is not a 'diet.' It is a change in eating habits. The free program presented here on our website is a conservative one.
It uses only wholly natural approaches. If we were to return deliberately to many behaviors that were commonplace for humans 50,000 years ago, achieving permanent weight loss and better health would be automatic!
How to use the Paleolithic diet
Here is how we recommend that you use the Paleolithic Weight Loss Diet.
Just as our ancestors experienced fluctuations in the availability of food, we recommend one cheat day weekly. The reason for this is that if you restrict calories and carbohydrates intake, your normal level of the hormone leptin will fall to about half in about a week; this signals to your body that it is starving to death and This isn't good!
In response, your body will decrease your metabolic rate as well as fat burning. To prevent this from happening, and to continue fat burning, it's important once a week to restore your leptin level to normal. In addition to being a helpful psychological break, this is the purpose of your weekly cheat day. For one meal on your weekly cheat day, deliberately increase your intake of (high glycemic index) carbs and fats as well as calories.
Since leptin and insulin levels rise and fall together, a cheat day may not be appropriate for you if you are diabetic or insulin-resistant. As always, check with your physician in advance; a cheat day can be counter-productive for some people, including people who suffer from diabetes.
What is the Paleolithic weight loss diet most days? Well, emulate your Paleo ancestors by completely avoiding any refined, processed carbohydrates.
If you are unsure what these foods are, see our list of refined, processed carbohydrates. (The link to that page awaits you near the bottom of this page.)
Restrict daily carbohydrate intake on non-cheat days to 25 grams or less. Get all your carbohydrates from natural sources like low carb leafy green vegetables and low carbohydrate fruits such as berries. Organic vegetables and fruits, wherever possible, are the best. Since there is no minimum daily required for carbohydrates and carbohydrate consumption promotes fat storage, this is an important healthful strategy to switch your body from carb burning to fat burning.
Consume plenty of proteins from natural sources. 'Plenty' here means consuming, minimally, as many grams of protein daily as your lean body weight in pounds. (So, if you weigh 200 pounds and are at 25% body fat, consume at least 150 grams of protein.) If you do, you'll also be consuming plenty of good fats. Don't worry about fat consumption. Unless you are eating too many carbs or way too many calories, dietary fat won't make you fat.
Eat a meal every three or four waking hours and spread your protein consumption among those meals; this will not only prevent hunger and minimize food cravings but it will also maximize the thermic effect of consuming proteins and prevent you from losing lean muscle, which is your metabolic furnace.
Drink plenty of clean water and restrict the consumption of all other liquids. A minimum is 2 quarts daily.
Eating this way will enable you to lose weight naturally and healthfully. There is no better weight loss diet. (To accelerate fat loss, we encourage you also to do strength training as well as intense fitness exercise and, once a week, some mild fitness exercise. It is not necessary, but it is beneficial as well as healthful.)
A low carb Paleolithic diet curbs food addiction
The three most troublesome foods
If you were severely allergic to certain kinds of foods, you'd probably know it. However, you may be mildly allergic or intolerant to certain kinds of foods without knowing it; this can seriously affect your ability to lose weight. A natural Paleolithic diet can cure that problem.
When we eat foods that don't agree with us, our bodies try to calm the irritation by releasing powerful chemicals to soothe us. If we nevertheless continue to eat those foods, we can become addicted to those chemicals!
Do you ever crave candy bars, chocolate, or hard candy loaded with sugar? Do you ever crave cow's milk products like milk, sour cream or ice cream?
Do you ever crave grain-based foods like bread, bagels, cake, potatoes, pasta or noodles? If so, you may suffer from food intolerances that are causing physical problems including weight gain.
If you have cravings for bread, pasta, cake, or other products made from grains, you may have an intolerance to them. You may have what is called a masked (hidden) addictive allergy.
The cereal grains we consume today (in particular, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, sorghum, and millet) were hybridized from a family of wild grasses. Since the seeds of the wild grasses were much smaller than today's domesticated versions and were very difficult to harvest, our ancestors probably only ate them in extreme conditions to avoid starvation.
These grains are difficult for all humans to digest.
Especially for those of us with northern European ancestors, one in four of us are genetically vulnerable to celiac disease, which is a severe reaction to gluten-containing grains.
Gluten intolerance is a milder form of the problem. Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is the most problematic by far. Even if you don't have obvious adverse reactions to wheat, we do not recommend that you eat very much of it.
Where should you get most of your carbs? From vegetables and non-starchy fruits as your ancestors did, these are part of the natural Paleolithic diet.
Although we do not recommend it, if you are confident that they don't bother you too much, you may supplement those natural sources of carbs--but don't use wheat. Instead, consider legumes; plain, steel-cut oatmeal; or brown rice. However, they are not part of the Paleolithic weight loss diet.
Above all, wheat should not be included in a natural Paleo diet.
Humans have no difficulty digesting human breast milk and can sometimes digest milk from goats or sheep.
Products from cow's milk, though, are another story. They are not part of the diet. If you drink lots of cow's milk or have cravings for cheese, ice cream, or yogurt, you may be allergic to them. You may have a masked (hidden) addictive allergy.
The problem may come from milk sugar (lactose) or milk protein. It's easy to test: just eliminate all of them from your diet for fourteen days.
You might be astounded at how much better you feel.
Even if you seem to tolerate them well, it is a good idea to minimize the use of cow's milk products. Especially in childhood, they may lead to serious problems including diabetes, heart disease, infant anemia, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, infertility, and asthma.
Milk should not be included in a natural diet or a Paleo diet.
Many of us have significant reactions to sugar.
Sugar can cause standard reactions such as any of the following:
Alcohol is sugar's cousin. It can cause hangovers, headaches, irritability, mood and energy swings, and agitation—and so can sugar! If you have cravings for sweets, you may be allergic to sugar. Whether you are allergic to sugar or not, be assured that sugar is very hard on your body.
Sugar should not be included in a natural diet or a Paleolithic diet.
Great news about the low carb Paleolithic diet
Best way to stop sugar cravings!
When digested, all carbs become sugar. Restricting carbs breaks the addiction.
The Paleolithic diet is great news for sugar addicts: If you have addictions to foods and permanently adopt a natural diet more like the Paleolithic diet of your ancestors, you will quickly feel better, no longer crave those foods, and be healthier.
More good news: If you adopt a natural diet more like the Paleolithic diet your ancestors had and begin to move (exercise) more like they did, you will not only lose weight, you will be on your way to permanent weight loss, feeling better, being healthier, and being more energetic.
Pages related to the Paleolithic diet
Books for the Paleolithic diet page
The books are available at some good bookstores, especially Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk usually in Kindle and paperback form, sometimes as hardbacks. If you found the Paleolithic weight loss diet informative, these books are excellent further reading suggestions.
On most pages of our website, we aim to recommend the very best books available according to the topic of each page. We endeavor to make the best suggestions based on experience and our many, many years of research in the field of health and fitness. We suggest only books that we have read and can wholly commend.
Here is a website we like for (Paleo) Paleolithic diet recipes:
Paleo Food Recipes
Paleo Food Recipes
The page is now complete. We hope you found the Paleolithic weight loss diet informative and that it will help on your journey to health and weight loss.