YOU Best Diets - - Chocolate Diet -

The ba­sic prin­ci­ples The pa­le­olithic diet – usu­ally ab­bre­vi­ated to the pa­leo diet – fo­cuses on try­ing to fol­low the eat­ing habits of early hu­mans. It’s named af­ter the pa­le­olithic era (also known as the Old Stone Age era), the ear­li­est pe­riod of hu­man de­vel­op­ment where they hunted and gath­ered their food and be­fore the in­tro­duc­tion of farming.

This way of eat­ing in­volves cut­ting out dairy and pro­cessed foods and most starchy foods (for ex­am­ple pasta, break­fast ce­re­als and bread) – all foods that weren’t around at that time. The main fo­cus is on eat­ing seeds, nuts, meat, chicken, fish, sweet pota­toes, eggs, fruit and veg­eta­bles.

Why I rec­om­mend the ad­di­tion of carbs and dairy Al­though the fo­cus on elim­i­nat­ing pro­cessed foods is ad­vis­able, the lim­it­ing of dairy and starches can be harm­ful to health and can lead to prob­lems such as os­teo­poro­sis and poor blood-sugar con­trol in di­a­bet­ics.

It’s im­por­tant to con­sider that just like our life­styles have changed since early hu­mans lived, so our di­etary needs have al­tered. So to aim to eat the same way we did thou­sands of years ago isn’t prac­ti­cal, healthy or sus­tain­able.

That’s why I adapted this diet to in­clude dairy, grains and legumes. Al­though it’s in lim­ited quan­ti­ties it makes the eat­ing plan more bal­anced.

Prepa­ra­tion be­fore you be­gin All di­ets re­quire the same men­tal prepa­ra­tion – you have to pre­pare your­self in ad­vance for the in­evitable temp­ta­tions that will arise. One good idea is to record your rea­sons for go­ing on the diet, your goals and how you’ll han­dle set­backs so you have a strat­egy when you need a lit­tle ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion.

For ex­am­ple, you may be con­cerned about how you’ll man­age your diet when you’re at a braai. A good strat­egy would be to have a small snack be­fore you go so you won’t be too hun­gry and fill up on un­healthy op­tions, or to bring along a cru­dité plat­ter so you have some­thing healthy to snack on other than chips.

There are also plenty of healthy and de­li­cious recipes that are part of the three-week eat­ing plan and in the recipes sec­tion on page 110.

Stock your fridge more than your cup­boards Most peo­ple don’t eat enough fresh pro­duce. Aim for at least three to five serv­ings of veg­eta­bles per day with one serv­ing con­sist­ing of ei­ther a cup of raw veg­eta­bles or a half cup of cooked veg­eta­bles or one cup of veg­etable soup.

You will also need to re­duce your consumption of un­healthy sat­u­rated fats such as hard cheeses, salty snacks, bis­cuits, pas­tries and choco­lates.

Be con­scious to not con­sume ex­cess sodi- um. Foods packed with salt in­clude some breads, mar­garine, but­ter spreads, stock cubes, soup pow­ders, break­fast ce­re­als and savoury snacks.

The nuts is­sue While nuts are great for your health and part of this diet, they are high in kilo­joules and shouldn’t be con­sumed in ex­cess if you’re try­ing to lose weight. Al­monds and cashews are the best choices as they’re the lower-kilo­joule op­tions (see our nuts ar­ti­cle on page 79). Try to limit your in­take to one to two ta­ble­spoons a day when di­et­ing.

Give this diet a skip if . . . This plan isn’t suit­able for preg­nant or breast­feed­ing women, chil­dren or the el­derly.

The amount of food rec­om­mended is ap­pro­pri­ate for women with an av­er­age level of ac­tiv­ity, but a man or a very ac­tive woman would most likely need more kilo­joules and would need to in­crease the por­tion sizes.

If you have any chronic med­i­cal con­di­tions con­sult a di­eti­cian or GP be­fore start­ing a diet.

It’s a piece of cake Some di­ets can be dif­fi­cult and will see you run­ning for the clos­est store des­per­ate to cheat. But this diet is easy to fol­low and the por­tions are suf­fi­cient but re­mem­ber to make care­ful choices when gro­cery shop­ping and din­ing out.

Is this diet for you? Di­eti­cian Lila Bruk looks at the ba­sics to pre­pare you:

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