Here is a translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.
I have heard many people are trying the Paleo Diet. What is it and will it help me to get in good shape?
The idea behind the Paleo Diet is that you only eat foods that occur naturally, and that you could have eaten 10,000 or more years ago. This means eating organic meat, wild-caught fish, fresh vegetables (organic if possible) and fruits in season and nuts. Cooking oils should derive from natural unprocessed sources such as coconut oil or avocado oil. Grains like bread, rice and pasta and dairy like milk and cheese are not permitted in this way of eating as the idea is that we haven’t fully adapted to these foods and so our bodies often do not respond very well to them.
I first heard of the Paleo Diet, or ‘caveman diet‘ as it was called then, about 10 years ago and it’s been gaining in popularity ever since. Unlike many dietary trends, the paleo diet isn’t going to die anytime soon as many people have adopted the diet as their full time, permanent way of eating, rather than a method for losing weight quickly. There are even food delivery services now that only send food that complies with the ‘paleo‘ way of eating.
I personally am a big advocate of the Paleo Diet and it works fantastically well for me and many of my clients. Like many people, my body responds better to a lower carbohydrate diet which this approach naturally promotes. You can still get carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and fruits, but there is strictly no added sugar. Whatever your body type, you will certainly gain many benefits from eliminating processed food and sugar and consuming more natural foods full of nutrients. It also naturally provides high protein and lots of healthy fats which helps to keep you satiated and feeling full, and helps you maintain and build muscle.
Some people get obsessive over this way of eating, and desperately avoid eating anything not considered ‘paleo‘. I aim to eat paleo about 80% of the time but I do add in some dairy such as greek yoghurt and milk. The truth is, we can’t be sure of exactly what we ate 10,000 years ago and our eating habits and lifestyles have undoubtably changed a lot since then. However, as a guideline way of eating for optimal health, low body fat and maintaining and building muscle, you can’t go far wrong with this diet.
I’m Jack Thomas, Founder of BASE. More information on our approach to nutrition.