It seems like for every new day there's a new diet on the market that promises amazing results in little to no time—or effort. While most of these diets are just gimmicky advertising by companies out to make a buck (or a few million), one popular diet isn't trying to be the new thing at all. In fact, proponents of the diet are drawn to it because it's super old. Like 10,000 years ago old. Like cavewoman old.
The Paleolithic Diet, called the Paleo Diet for short, is based on the idea that we should eat and move as our ancestors did during the, you guessed it, paleolithic era. Below are five things to know before getting your cavewoman on.
What You Need to Know About the Paleo Diet
1. Think like a hunter and gatherer. Rule No. 1 of the Paleo Diet: If you couldn’t hunt it or gather it back in the Paleolithic days, you probably shouldn’t eat it. On this diet, you’ll eat veggies, fruit, nuts and meat.
2. Cut out dairy and processed foods. There were no domesticated cows in the cavewoman days, so that morning bowl of cereal with milk or that afternoon latte? Cut. No dairy is allowed on the Paleo Diet. Same goes for anything that comes in a box—or really has an ingredient list of more than one thing.
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3. Love those veggies. Because meat wasn't always available to our ancestors, this diet stresses eating lots of fresh veggies. Bonus points if you can eat ones that are in-season and local to your region.
4. Choose free range meat—or catch it yourself. If you really want to live the lifestyle, you can go out and actually hunt your own meat (following all laws and regulations, of course). Not game for that? Select only natural, free-range and organic meat options. You want your protein to be as natural as possible.
5. Work out like a cavewoman. Don't forget the Paleo workout! Incorporate short sprints (to simulate running from a bear), pull-ups (like pulling yourself up and into a tree to collect fruit) and other high-intensity functional strength moves like squats, lunges and push-ups, to really get the lean cavewoman look.
While this diet may not be for everyone—and many well known nutritionists and fitness professionals are very much for it and against it because of its restrictions—at the very least, it’s a new and interesting way to look at what you eat and how you move. In this modern day and age, sometimes we forget how far our society has come in regards to diversity and widespread availability of our food and fitness. Get back to your roots—quite literally!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.