What is the paleo diet?Paleo is short for Paleolithic – the ancient era beginning 2.5 million years ago in which our prehistoric ancestors lived.1 The paleo diet is based on the idea that Stone Age men and women thrived for millions of years on a diet of wild-caught meat, fish, nuts, berries, fruit and some vegetables. Grains and dairy products aren’t included in the paleo diet, as these things weren’t around during the Paleolithic era. The Paleolithic era came to an end around 10,000 years ago, when humans began farming and domesticating animals.2 This is when food like bread started to appear in the daily diets of our ancestors, replacing much of the meat which was harder to come by than gr
The paleo diet is similar to the low-carb diet, as it doesn’t allow high-carb foods such as rice, bread and potatoes.
Benefits of the paleo diet
There should be no artificial foods on a paleo diet, so in that respect you are eating in a natural, wholesome way.The paleo diet is a ‘clean’ diet which doesn’t include any processed foods, refined sugars, or simple carbohydrates. Eliminating these reduces your risk of certain diseases which include heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.3
Protein and fibre from eggs, nuts, seeds will keep you fuller for longer between meals, meaning that 3pm hankering for a sugary snack could be a thing of the past on paleo.Further, the nutrients from fruit and vegetables will offer anti-inflammatory benefits, a healthy gut and enhanced immunity.4 However, if you’re following a paleo plan, you should be careful with your intake of saturated fat and protein from meat. This can cause weight gain and high cholesterol over time. There is also an increased risk of some cancers associated with a high intake of red meat.5
It's also important to remember – with hunting, fire-starting and preparing animals for food and skins, your Paleolithic ancestors were almost certainly more active than we are, so make sure you’re not eating a diet fit for a hunter before settling down to a day in front of a computer.
Here are some paleo FAQs:
Can I eat oatmeal on paleo diet?
Oatmeal is a grain, so a strict paleo diet wouldn’t allow it.
Some people choose to alter their paleo plans to include healthy foods such as oats.
Can you eat eggs on a paleo diet?
Yes – the Paelolithic man enjoyed eggs which means you can, too! Since they’re so nutritious you’re likely to find eggs feature in many paleo recipes and make a great paleo breakfast.
Are eggs and bacon paleo?
This breakfast favourite is paleo- according to some people. After all, meat, including pork, is considered a paleo food.
However, much like ham, hotdogs, salami and chorizo - bacon is a processed meat with chemical flavourings and preservatives added. For this reason, bacon doesn’t have a place on a true paleo diet.
Are bananas paleo?
Paleo purists think bananas are too sugary to be considered a true paleo food.
However, as a natural fruit, bananas can be enjoyed as part of a paleo eating plan.
Healthy paleo breakfast ideas
Our in-house nutritionist, Isabel Tarrant shares 6 filling paleo breakfasts for you to try.
1. Sweet potato toasts
No need for bread, this is the paleo twist on toast! These ingenious toasts are a great source of complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy throughout the day, high in fibre and vitamin A, protein and healthy fats.
Simply slice sweet potato into ¼ inch slices and pop in the toaster or under the grill. Keep it thinly sliced or it won’t cook all the way through.
Then, mix it up with a range of toppings, sweet or savoury.
- banana and nut butter
- avocado and seeds
- egg and thyme
- mashed berries and chia seeds
- sprinkle with seeds for an extra omega 3 boost
A healthy and delicious dish to fuel your day – one of those paleo breakfast recipes perfect for a weekend morning. Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and vitamin D, both essential for good health.
Simmer onions, garlic, peppers, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste along with some paprika and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat down and crack 2 eggs into the mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the egg is white. Serve with fresh parsley
- Boost your vegetable intake by adding broccoli, spinach, or kale.
- Top with avocado for a boost of healthy fats and omega 3
3. Chia pudding
A great paleo alternative to overnight oats, chia pudding is a healthy paleo breakfast in a jar. We think it also works as a dessert!
Chia seeds are a great source of protein, healthy fats and omega 3.
Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to a mason jar half full of milk. Stir well to avoid clumping and leave overnight. In the morning – it’s ready!
- Add honey, maple or dates, with a sprinkle of cinnamon- no need for refined sugars
- Make sure to use non diary milk to keep it paleo
- Sprinkle with berries or your favourite nuts for an antioxidant boost
4. Smoothie for quick mornings
On those days you’re in a rush, whiz together a quick but wholesome smoothie to make sure you’re satisfied enough to face the day.
This is an opportunity to avoid eggs and meat and get your greens. Throw in a handful of spinach or kale for a vitamin boost. For an extra protein boost add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or peanut butter, or half an avocado or some chia seeds for healthy fats.
We also like:
- mango & avocado
- coconut & banana
- blueberry & banana
- spinach, apple & kiwi
- peanut butter & banana
- kale & pineapple
5. Paleo egg muffins
Eggs are the key to countless paleo diet breakfasts, and we think paleo follower needs to know about these muffins. Full of protein and fibre, these portable snacks are ideal for breakfast or anytime.
Simply beat eggs together with some chopped onions and your favourite vegetables, finely chopped. Add salt and pepper then pour into a muffin baking tray. You can make a dozen of these for a perfect healthy paleo grab-and-go snack.
- Add in tomatoes, kale, broccoli, peppers and your favourite spices
6. Sweet potato pancakes
For an indulgent weekend breakfast, try paleo sweet potato pancakes. Sweet potato is a healthy complex carbohydrate to provide lasting energy throughout the day, as well as fibre and vitamin A. You'll need:
- 60g mashed sweet potato
- 2 eggs
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- 120g almond or coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- A little non-dairy milk
- Whisk the ingredients into a batter. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time to avoid the mixture becoming too wet. Then cook as you would regular pancakes – in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
- Top with maple syrup, berries and nuts for an antioxidant boost
- Add a spoonful of peanut butter for an extra protein hit
- The pancake batter can also be used in a waffle maker to make paleo sweet potato waffles
Last updated: 27 November 2020