Paleo Diet 101: Everything You Need to Know

Millions of people are now following the Paleo diet, a diet that is based on the foods our ancestors ate. However, if you’re starting with the diet, there are a few things you should know to be successful.

Why Paleo?

The Paleo diet is based on the premise that we should eat the same foods our ancestors ate. This means a diet high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. The benefits of this diet include weight loss, improved energy levels, and reduced inflammation.

Weight Loss

One of the most common reasons people start the Paleo diet is for weight loss. And there are plenty of success stories to go around. The Paleo diet can be very effective for weight loss because it helps regulate insulin levels.

When you eat a diet high in carbs, your body releases a lot of insulin. This can lead to fat storage and weight gain. However, on the Paleo diet, you eat fewer carbs, which helps regulate insulin levels and promote weight loss.

Improved Energy Levels

Another common benefit of the Paleo diet is improved energy levels. When you eat a diet high in carbs, your blood sugar levels can fluctuate widely. This can lead to energy crashes and feelings of fatigue. However, on the Paleo diet, your blood sugar levels are more stable, which leads to sustained energy levels throughout the day.

Reduced Inflammation

The Paleo diet can also help to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a significant cause of many diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. By eating a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods, you can help to reduce your risk of these diseases.

What to Know About the Paleo Diet

If this is your first time hearing about the Paleo diet, you should know a few things to be successful.

It’s Not One-Size Fits All Approach

While there are some general guidelines that all Paleo followers adhere to, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the diet. Everyone has different food preferences, calorie needs, and health goals. So while the Paleo diet has some structure, it’s essential to tailor the diet to your needs to succeed.

The best way to do this is to work with a registered dietitian or nutritionist who can help you create the right plan based on your goals. According to Brian Nagele, CEO at Restaurant Clicks, “Not everyone will have the same experience with the Paleo diet. It’s important to work with a professional who can help you tailor the diet to your own individual needs.”

You Can’t Eat Whatever You Want

Just because the Paleo diet is based on foods our ancestors ate doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. The Paleo diet aims to eat nutrient-dense, whole foods free of additives and unhealthy fats, which means avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of saturated and unhealthy fats.

So while you can enjoy some indulgences occasionally, it’s essential to stick to the basics of the diet most of the time to see results.

You Might Feel Better During an Elimination Phase

When you first start the Paleo diet, you might feel better if you do an elimination phase, avoiding all foods that are not allowed on the Paleo diet for some time, usually 30 days. After the elimination phase, you can slowly start reintroducing foods to see how your body reacts. This is a good strategy for those trying to figure out which foods work best for their bodies.

Plate with a paleo diet food. Boiled eggs, avocado, cucumber, nuts, cherry and strawberries. Paleo breakfast.

You Need to Commit

The Paleo diet is not a quick fix or a fad diet. Instead, it’s a lifestyle change that requires commitment. This means being willing to change the way you eat and cook and stick with the diet even when it’s difficult. If you’re not ready to commit, the Paleo diet might not suit you. To best commit to the diet, ensure that you focus on the following:

Paleo-Friendly Foods

To make the Paleo diet work for you, you should focus on eating paleo-friendly foods. Our ancestors would have eaten these foods that are free of additives and unhealthy fats. Some paleo-friendly foods include grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Paleo-Friendly Recipes

It would be best if you also had some go-to recipes that you could rely on. There are many Paleo-friendly recipes available online and in cookbooks. Find some recipes that you like, and that fit your lifestyle so that you can make the Paleo diet work for you.

Paleo-Friendly Restaurants

If you eat out often, it’s crucial to find Paleo-friendly restaurants. This can be difficult, but it’s possible to find restaurants that offer paleo-friendly options. When in doubt, you can always ask the staff about their paleo options or look for restaurants specializing in Paleo cuisine.

You Might Need to Supplement

While the Paleo diet is based on whole, nutrient-dense foods, you might need to supplement if you’re not getting enough specific vitamins and minerals. This is especially true if you’re following a strict Paleo diet or have certain health conditions. Some vitamins and minerals that you might may need to supplement include:

  • vitamin D
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • calcium
  • vitamin B12

If you’re unsure if you need to supplement, you should talk to a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They can help you figure out if you need to supplement and, if so, which supplements would be best for you.

You Can Adjust as You Go

The Paleo diet is a lifelong journey, not a short-term fix. This means that you might need to adjust your approach as you go. As you learn more about the diet and your own body, you might find that certain foods don’t agree with you or that you need to supplement. Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go. The goal is to find what works best for you and stick with it.


The Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet that can help you lose weight, improve your health, and feel your best. By following the tips above, you can make the Paleo diet work and achieve your goals.

Stay Strong Together

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Michael Wood, CSCS

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