Prehistoric man (and woman) had something going for them. As hunter-gatherers, their main diet consisted of the meat they killed and the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds they would collect. There were no boxed meals, no soda and definitely no cupcake crazes. And this is exactly the type of nutritional lifestyle that enthusiastic proponents of the Paleo Diet are recommending as a permanent solution to our current obesity epidemic.
The Paleolithic or Caveman's Diet is an eating plan that intends to follow what was likely the regimen of our prehistoric ancestors, and according to its main philosophy, would allow us to enjoy better health and maintain a normal weight. For Miami-based trainer Linda Pedrosa, this is the best lifestyle diet she's ever followed; she vows it has helped keep her active and feel stronger than ever. "Cancer and diabetes used to be an old person's disease. Now children get diabetes [type 2] and high cholesterol," says Pedrosa, who believes the American diet of fast and processed food is harming not only adults, but children as well.
Get ideas! Sample Paleo Menus
So, what are we eating? What is our daily diet made of? If you get most of your food prepared and processed in boxes, bags, cans or bottles, chances are you're taking in too many hydrogenated fats (margarine, shortening), sugar and harmful additives that could lead to cancer and other chronic diseases. These types of substances not only raise blood sugar levels, but they also causes inflammation that damages the body.
Basic DOs and DON'Ts of the Paleo Diet:
DON'T EAT- "white trash" a.k.a. white bread, white sugar, white rice, white pasta and potatoes.
DO EAT- meats (try buffalo burgers; they are rich in iron and minerals), fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Eating "farm-to-table" is the best way to go.
DON'T EAT- dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), legumes (beans) or any kind of grain, including whole wheat baked products. "When you eliminate carbohydrates, the body starts using fats," according to Pedrosa.
DO EAT- good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados and even bacon.
Want to give it a try? Here's a sample menu of what Pedrosa eats on a regular basis:
2-3 eggs, scrambled with red, yellow and green peppers and mushrooms
½ small avocado, cut up
Large mixed salad with: spinach and arugula, mushrooms, slices of different colored peppers, walnuts or pecans, dressed with olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar, and topped with leftover turkey "picadillo", cooked shrimp or pieces of steak.
Small mixed salad with greens, your favorite raw veggies, nuts and cranberries.
A lamb or buffalo burger or a NY strip steak.
A hot vegetable like sweet potato, squash or cooked greens.
Linda Pedrosa lives in Miami and is a certified exercise trainer and instructor who stays fit by doing weight training, pilates, yoga and ballet. She is currently working on her Crossfit certification. At 39 years old, she still gets carded at bars and restaurants.