So what is the Paleo diet? Recently I asked some It’s Time To Burn readers to ask me anything. With any dietary lifestyle change there are a ton of questions. I thought it would be a good idea to collate all of this information, and share it with you all. There’s no doubt that some of the questions will help you too, and of course you can contact me if you have any further questions that you can’t see here. If you are looking into changing your lifestyle and you’re seriously considering this option I would always suggest talking to your doctor to ensure you undertake this safely, but without further ado…
Here’s the top 50 questions I’ve been asked about the Paleo diet plan
1. What is the Paleo diet plan?
The Paleo Diet takes inspiration from how our ancestors gathered food and what they ate. Hunting and gathering natural food sources, concentrating on high nutrition, very low complex carbohydrates that are hard to breakdown and of course eliminating processed foods. Check out more from this page: Paleo Diet Plan Basics – All You Need To Know And More.
2. Why is the Paleo diet plan so popular?
It’s popularity has risen very quickly as it promotes both healthy eating but doesn’t restrict on how often one can graze. The foods in this diet are all natural; it eliminates processed foods, which have lead to ill health and obesity across the world.
3. Is the Paleo diet safe?
Like any diet or lifestyle there can be risks if not followed correctly, there are no risks to your health if you follow a true Paleo diet plan. Eating lean meat, exercising and eating sensibly sized portions are the only simple guidelines you need to bear in mind. With Paleo you’re not eating processed foods, avoiding anything man made, which is where the real dangers lie
4. Is the Paleo diet Gluten Free?
It certainly is gluten free yes; it eliminates wheat so the protein, gluten, within wheat will be removed completely from your diet. Always check the label/menu of Paleo friendly products you buy to double check, and if you are eating out, you should always check with the waiter/server to see how the food is prepared. Although some food might be gluten free, it might be prepared with other food products containing gluten.
5. What is allowed on the Paleo diet?
A lot of people ask this, and they find our Paleo Food List very useful!
6. Is the Paleo diet good for diabetics?
Like any diet plan you take on I would suggest consulting your doctor before hand. But this plan is simply all natural so as long as you know where to get your natural intake of sugar from, and the correct levels you should be fine.
7. What is the difference between Paleo diet and Atkins?
This is a common question from people who see the Paleo diet as simply no carbs and all meat; it’s not the case. It focuses on natural ingredients, with no processed foods. Atkins includes cheese for example; this is not on the Paleo food list.
8. Why has the Paleo diet plan been criticized?
The Paleo Diet has a reputation for including too much meat, whereas a balanced Paleo Diet will not recommend this. Some people argue that a primal way of living takes in too much fat but it’s all good fat, unlike processed saturated fats.
9. Is the Paleo diet good for building muscle?
Yes, it focuses on lean meat so will help repair and build muscles after a resistance work out.
10. Is the Paleo diet good for runners?
Runners usually have a larger amount of complex carbohydrates to sustain endurance. Sweet potatoes are probably the best carb for Paleo runners. However you could easily live Paleo 5 days a week then carbo-load before a big run.
11. Is the Paleo diet good for bodybuilding?
It often is the base diet of body builders, less the milk, cheese and rice. Focusing on lean meat and vegetables like broccoli are ideal for muscle build and recovery without adding starchy fats.
12. Is the Paleo diet healthy for kids?
Children can also live a Paleo lifestyle – starting from a young age will certainly help them avoid acne, obesity and low focus levels at school. For Children I would suggest less bacon/pork and more fish and eggs. The crucial thing with children is making sure they have enough calcium – so invest some time in picking out an almond or coconut milk that caters for this need.
13. Is the Paleo diet hard to follow?
If you have been used to a life of feeling full from complex carbohydrates like pasta and white potatoes then it might be hard at the beginning. You will easily get accustomed to how you feel full and yet energized rather than sluggish. With some help and the right creativity in the kitchen you can easily substitute wheat. Making a sandwich a lunch is easily swapped for a lettuce wrap, just a few examples. Check out some of our Paleo diet recipes!
14. Is the Paleo diet low glycaemic?
Generally yes, complex carbohydrates tend to be high glycaemic – being more difficult to breakdown than simple carbohydrates like natural sugar from fruit. As the food allowed when going Paleo doesn’t include starchy carbohydrates the diet overall is low glycaemic.
15. Is the Paleo diet plan good for weight loss?
Yes! With a crafted menu you can easily lose weight and most importantly keep it off. Your body will initially need to get used to you eating more protein and less wheat but once it kicks in you will see weight loss. Obviously you should be balancing your food and not simply eating all meat all the time. Have some purely vegetable based meals and really enjoy the feeling of having more energy, without the crash you would have gotten from processed sugars.
16. What are the advantages of the Paleo diet plan?
There are several advantages you can experience:
- Weight Loss
- Muscle gain (combined with exercise)
- Improved bowel movement
- Better-quality sleep
- Higher libido
- Reduction of acne
- Improvement in metal health – clearing your body of toxins from processed and unnatural foods can have a serious impact on your mood.
17. Can I follow the Paleo diet plan for quick weight loss?
I would never advocate super quick weight loss. If you’re looking to lose 30 pounds in a month then seriously get a grip and stop kidding yourself. Combined with a decent exercise regime you can expect to lose between 3-6 pounds per week. Any more though, and you’ll be doing yourself harm.
18. How long does the Paleo diet plan last?
It’s a lifestyle – usually once you’ve started you’ll be hooked and won’t change. Eating well, losing weight and feeling great is addictive! 🙂
19. What foods can’t be eaten on the Paleo diet plan?
Simply processed and unnaturally grown foods check out this list: Paleo Food List – What To Eat And Avoid On The Paleo Diet Plan. Anything our Paleolithic ancestors wouldn’t have had access to. Like spray cheese…
20. Is the Paleo diet plan expensive?
It doesn’t have to be an expensive way to live. By shopping around, batch cooking and other tactics you can achieve Paleo on a budget. It is also key to pre plan your meals, so you can batch cook.
21. Can I eat everything on the food list if I am gluten intolerant?
As you are removing all wheat from your diet – you should be 100% gluten free. I would advise checking labels/menus and with your doctor before starting.
22. What are the side effects of the Paleo diet plan?
3 side effects could be:
- By removing calcium from milk you may see a calcium deficiency- you can simply look for alternative forms of calcium such as spinach.
- Low levels of Vitamin B can occur if you don’t correctly substitute grains for Fish, Beef, Liver, Almonds, sesame seeds, Avocados, Garlic, Spinach, and Asparagus.
- Bad Breath issues – It’s been reported that this can happen (it seems more authentic ‘caveman’ this way!), so regularly brush your teeth and clean you mouth out. Sunflower seeds and green apples are also for your breath.
23. Can I eat the Paleo diet plan if I am an Athlete?
Sure, depending what type of energy you need would depend on what ratio of meat to vegetables/fruit you chose.
24. Are Paleo meals difficult to cook?
No way – they are like any recipe you follow. If anything I think they are easier! Check out some recipes here, or if you want a PDF version of some of the most delicious Paleo recipes we have found then you need this.
25. Will the Paleo diet plan improve my acne issues?
It is known to, yes – cutting out processed and fatty foods and eating plenty of fish and almonds for example, will give your body a natural dose of vitamin E, rather than clogging your pores with bad oils.
26. How can the Paleo diet plan help increase my energy levels?
Instead of loading your body with slow digesting complex carbohydrates that often cause your heart to beat faster in order to push enough blood around your body to cope with the strain on your digestive system, you’re loading it with foods that break down quicker, and contain more nutrients.
27. Can I follow the Paleo diet plan whilst pregnant?
Yes you certainly can. All natural foods are in this diet so you are not giving your baby anything man-made. Please check with your doctor about how red meats should be cooked, as you might have to stop eating rare steaks for example.
28. How can I stay Paleo whilst on vacation?
There are 3 simple ways you can ensure you stick with your Paleo lifestyle whilst travelling:
- When eating out, read the menu thoroughly and ask for substitutions. For example, order the burger but ask for no bun, and switch fries for a salad.
- Go to a local supermarket/outdoor market and buy nuts, seeds and fruit for snacking
- If you’re staying in a self catered apartment (which is what I personally aim for) you can simply create Paleo meals with freshly bought ingredients from your surroundings!
29. Can my family also follow the Paleo diet plan if I am?
Sure! There is no harm in introducing your family to join your Paleo lifestyle. Remember it’s all natural food, nothing processed so the earlier your family join you the better you can all feel!
30. Is the Paleo diet plan possible for vegetarians?
Yes the Paleo diet is easily achieved by vegetarians without having to resort to man-made tofu. For the protein element focus on including nuts in your meals, not just snacking. Making a Paleo salad with added walnuts makes it simply delicious. If you feel you need to, consult your doctor before starting.
31. Will the Paleo diet plan help with my sex drive?
It’s suggested that your libido will improve by living a Paleo lifestyle. No longer will you feel sluggish and tired after a romantic but wheat heavy meal. Also taking alcohol out of your diet certainly helps low sex drives levels.
32. Can I eat cheese on the Paleo diet plan?
No, cheese is a process of curing milk and it not included in the Paleo food list. Did you know there is 0% cheese in a processed cheese slice?!
33. What exercise could I combine with the Paleo diet plan?
Any exercise can be taken, from light walks to a full circuits session. A Paleo favourite is CrossFit. Check out CrossFit for weight loss here! For less hard-core Paleo followers, literally any exercise will supercharge your efforts to get fit. Paleo is the ideal platform.
34. Can I drink alcohol on the Paleo diet plan?
Nope, you’re primal ancestors didn’t and neither shall you!
35. Is the Paleo diet plan a fad?
I remember when I was first asked this question, and it’s a good one. These days diet plans and seemingly new ways of eating/living are seen as phase’s people are exploring – But no way, stay dedicated and make it a lifestyle. You’ll soon see the benefits and wonder why you didn’t start it a long time ago. Check out some Paleo lifestyle tips here.
36. Where do I get fiber?
Vegetables have a much higher amount of dietary fiber than anything else!
37. Isn’t too much protein bad?
Fatty protein can be bad for you – choose leans meats and occasionally have egg whites instead of the whole egg. Generally protein is burnt off much quicker than carbohydrates without leaving you with a crash like sugar can.
38. Is coffee on the Paleo food list?
Technically and traditionally speaking no. In a modern Paleo lifestyle you could have 1 coffee a day.
39. Can I consume natural sugars?
Natural sugars will come from the fruit you consume in this diet. If you are looking at Paleo for purely weight loss, ensure you do not snack on fruit constantly.
40. Is my cholesterol at risk with the Paleo diet plan?
No, you should balance your diet and use Paleo approved oils for cooking/dressing a salad. Generally peaking cholesterol is due to the following:
- Fried foods
- Processed sugars and sweeteners
- Saturated fats
Avoid these and ensure the meat you eat is lean.
41. Can the Paleo diet plan help with diabetes diabetes?
I would suggest consulting your doctor before starting. But this plan is simply all natural so as long as you know where to get your natural intake of sugar from and ensure you regulate it to coincide with the type of diabetes you have.
42. Why does the Paleo diet plan ban dairy foods?
Our primal ancestors simply didn’t consume dairy, as animals were not domesticated. Some people suggest if you want to include dairy, go for grass-fed cattle.
43. Where can I find Paleo diet plan books?
Here are some amazing resources:
- My ultimate favourite is the Paleo Recipe Book, check it out!
- Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings and Toppings
- The Paleo Diet Cookbook
- Good Calories, Bad Calories
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo
- Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
- Paleo Comfort Foods
- Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
- Everyday Paleo Sarah Fragoso
- Sweet Potato Power: Smart Carbs; Paleo and Personalized
- Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion
- Paleo Indulgences: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes to Satisfy Your Primal Cravings
44. Why is there no whole grain in the Paleo diet plan?
Wild grain was not cultivated in the days of our Paleolithic ancestors.
45. Is the Paleo diet plan just for men?
No way, it’s for anyone!
46. Is Quinoa on the Paleo food list?
Some argue it is, some argue it’s not. Personally I would say avoid it; it has the same properties as grains. For more check out this page – which I found really useful.
47. Has the Paleo diet plan evolved?
Sure, like early man did, the Paleo Diet too has evolved. Some Paleo followers I have spoken with include milk in their Paleo diet; some have 1 meal a week that is purely wheat based. Some include gluten free bread instead of cutting out bread. Some follow Paleo with fish only as their #1 source of protein. A modern Paleo lifestyle may also include caffeine for example.
48. Isn’t too much red meat bad for you?
Red meat is typically harder to digest, so if you’re eating red meat everyday it tends to sit in your bowel and that can be bad. Be smart about this; eat lean, fresh and organic red meat. Do not shallow fry it in oil, but instead smooth a small amount of your chosen oil on a steak and place it in a dry pan – that’s all you need!
49. What can I expect on the Paleo diet plan?
Expect a change in the way you view foods, this is not simply cutting out fast food and changing to diet coke – no way, it’s about really knowing what it is you’re putting into your body. And understanding that what you put in has a serious effect to what comes out, how you feel, your energy levels, digestion, how your skin looks, and so much more.
Expect a few days to adjust to no wheat then your body will thank you.
50. How do I get started on the Paleo diet?
It’s seriously easy:
- Step 1 – de-clutter your kitchen, removing all processed foods.
- Step 2 – Take our food list and make it your shopping list.
- Step 3 – Download our Free Paleo diet guide for more inspiration, you’ll get regular tips to keep you going!
Join me and many others in the Forum to share your progress
Main image sourced from ThaQeLa on flickr