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Paleolithic Weight Loss Diet
The Paleolithic weight loss diet is the very best diet for both weight loss AND optimum health! It is the best diet because the best foods for fat loss or optimum health are the kind our ancestors ate. They are the foods Mother Nature designed us to eat.
Moreover, the Paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also referred to as 'the Stone Age diet,' 'caveman diet' and the 'hunter-gatherer diet,' is the ultimate for optimum health even for those who do not need to lose weight!
In fact, it is used to treat many health conditions!
The Paleolithic Diet is not only used successfully in the treatment of weight and obesity, but also type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), allergies, acne, asthma, menopause, inflammation, arthritis, joint pains, carbohydrate cravings, binge eating, food addictions, mood disorders and many other health conditions.
Paleolithic nutrition really is the best bar none!
So, let's find out more.
Overview of the Paleolithic weight loss diet
The Paleolithic weight loss diet consists of eating the kinds of unprocessed low carbohydrate food our ancestors ate. Because our ancestors evolved eating them, they are natural for us to eat.
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 the 'Paleolithic diet,' the 'Paleo diet,' the 'Paleotech diet,' the 'hunter-gatherer diet,' the 'caveman diet,' the 'Stone Age diet,' the 'warrior diet,' the 'Neanderthal diet,' the 'allergy elimination diet,' and so on.
Do not be confused! All are attempts to describe what our prehistoric, hunter-gatherer (forager) human ancestors ate.
An explanation is a causal account of how something came to be the way that it is. We don't know the explanation for how we came to be the way we are; furthermore, nobody else does either.
Our guess is that the scientists are on the right track.
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 simply 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 too much of 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, in terms of 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 never have 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, their predators, 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 African 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 weight loss diet foods
Which foods are included in the Paleolithic weight loss diet?
That's easy: the diet consists of eating only the foods that our Pleistocene ancestors ate frequently. A Paleolithic weight loss 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). These are not part of a Paleolithic diet.
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).
These are not part of a Paleolithic weight loss diet.
The natural way to achieve weight loss also involves moving (exercising) more like they did. Therefore, we should exercise more like they did and adopt a diet more like theirs, which would be, for us, a weight loss 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 really 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 of eating habits. The free program presented here on our website is a conservative one.
It uses only wholly natural approaches. In fact, 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 weight loss 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.
This isn't good! In response, your body will decrease your metabolic rate as well as fat burning. To prevent this and 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 at least one or two meals 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 diabetics.
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 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 also it will 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 very helpful 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, 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 actually be allergic to them. You may have 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 weight loss 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 actually 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 totally 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 weight loss 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 weight loss diet
Recommended books for this page
The books below are available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, usually in Kindle and paperback form, and sometimes as hardbacks.
If you enjoyed the (Paleo) Paleolithic weight loss diet page, these books are excellent suggestions to further your health or weight loss.
Here is a website we like for (Paleo) Paleolithic weight loss diet recipes:
Paleo Diet Recipes
Paleo Diet Recipes
This completes the Paleolithic weight loss diet page. We hope you found the information useful and that it will help on your journey to weight loss.