Unless you’ve been living in a cave (like our Paleolithic ancestors for whom the diet was named) you’ve certainly heard of the Paleo diet by now. Based on consuming only whole, unprocessed foods, it’s generally considered one of the healthiest diets around.
But after the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report last fall linking meat with increased cancer risk, many Paleo eaters took note. And with good reason: it’s not the first study to link meat with higher rates of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Additionally, though the Paleo diet is usually associated with high meat consumption, current studies suggest our early ancestors probably ate less meat than we originally thought.
So what’s a would-be Paleo to do? Take your caveman diet meat-free! Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds; if you’re concerned about getting enough protein, make concessions to the typical Paleo regimen by adding lentils or beans to your diet, or add eggs for a vegetarian, not vegan, take on Paleo. And try this delicious meat- and grain-free selections that will please every palate, Paleo or not.
What exactly does “Paleo” mean? Generally, it’s thought to be composed of foods that were available to preagricultural humans, meaning no grains and legumes and, of course, no processed foods or artificial ingredients. The basics: