Updated: May 18
There is a common misconception that the Paleo diet is heavily focused on meat consumption. This is a misrepresentation mostly pushed by ignorant mainstream media. Although meat is part of the Paleo diet, it only represents a small part of the whole diet picture. In fact the Paleo diet is flexible and can be adapted as all diets can be to work within the parameters of ones lifestyle and restrictions.
The premise of the Paleo diet is that we eat the foods that our hunter gatherer ancestors ate. This is how the Paleo diet is typically defined, however the primitive nature of this particular description tends to have negative connotations. Using words such as hunter, gatherer and ancestors seems to suggest an outdated view of dietary requirements and a lack of nutritional evolution. At first glance, the Paleo diet might seem to be behind the science and current modern nutritional model, but this is untrue. It is science for the purpose of profit that has corrupted to most fundamental and basic understanding of how we should be eating. If you think about it, food is meant to be simple and obvious, not requiring any deep understanding or knowledge to make the correct decisions. Unfortunately as Human beings we are quite susceptible to psychological manipulation and deception orchestrated by powerful and wealthy corporations for the purpose of profit. We are sold an idea of food and nutrition which is generally misleading at the very least. Healthy food has somehow become complicated and difficult to define. The food processed giants have such power and influence that they are able to systematically destroy anyone putting their profits at risk.
This may be one of the reasons behind the Paleo diet being ousted as an unhealthy meat eaters diet. If they cannot use factual evidence to destroy an idea then they can re-sell and re-package an idea as something it is not.
The truth is the Paleo diet is far from a diet for carnivores. In my opinion, meat should only make up about 10-20% of the Paleo diet, but this is just an opinion. Having studied Paleo Nutrition I know that having only one view to a diet is misguided and closes off positive options due to a lack of flexibility. The Paleo diet can be altered to cater for your needs, preferences and lifestyle but still maintain its core foundation. There are several versions of the Paleo diet.
The standard version of the diet. Basic Paleo is a balanced approach to eating and following this diet. Basically eat what nature provides as it provides it, in balanced proportions.
This is my personal favourite and the approach I personally adopt. 80/20 Paleo simply means eat following the basic paleo approach 80% of the time but eat what you want for the other 20%. I personally choose to also reduce red meat and not overindulge the 20% of free choice eating. It is about being healthy, having balance and indulging a little form time to time.
This version focuses on avoiding some of the paleo foods which may cause inflammation in the body. Certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and some other foods can cause inflammation so this version reduces the possibility of negative dietary consequences, mostly associated with digestion.
Low Carb Paleo
This is focused on reducing carbohydrates particularly in starchy vegetables. Its a slight change but one which can have an impact on ones weight.
This is basic Paleo but fish is the only source of meat in this version.
This is where you adjust the Paleo diet to match your needs. Most people who are testing or transitioning to a more strict version of the diet may fall into this category.