The primal diet is similar to the paleo diet, caveman diet and Neanderthal diet. The basic premise of the diet is to eat foods that would have existed during the Paleolithic era. During this time period, before the introduction of agriculture, humans had no choice but to hunt and gather food. All food consumed existed in nature. With the introduction of the agricultural and later industrial ages, the human diet changed to include grains, sugars and processed foods. Some believe this change in diet is responsible for diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. The belief is that the human body is simply not genetically engineered to eat modified foods.
The primal diet is high protein and low carb. In the Paleolithic era, the prime source of food was animals including animal fats and organs like livers and tongues. The primal diet allows for all meats including beef, pork, chicken and turkey in addition to game meats like bison, deer and elk. Any meat eaten should be grass fed and organic or raised without hormones.
All seafood is also welcome on the primal diet including fish such as salmon and trout and shellfish like shrimp and crab. Choose fresh fish, low in mercury and unprocessed when possible, as well as clean, fresh shellfish.
All vegetables are allowed on the primal diet as long as they are fresh and not canned or fried. The only possible exception to this is the starchy white potato. According to Mark Sisson, author of "The Primal Blueprint," white potatoes are high in carbs and can have an adverse effect on blood sugar. However, potatoes are a whole food and for healthy people, can be consumed in limited quantities. For people trying to lose weight, Sisson recommends avoiding white potatoes.
Fresh, frozen, dried and baked fruit is also encouraged in limited quantities. Modern varieties of fruit contain more sugar than the fruit available in the Paleolithic era. Fruit is allowed, but in moderation to keep blood sugar levels steady. Sisson lists berries, cherries, pears, apples and plums as the best fruit choices. Fruit juice and canned fruit should be avoided.
Nuts and seeds are another protein source on the primal diet. Peanuts are not included in this category because they are technically a legume and not a nut. Almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts are allowed, as are nut butters without added sugars. Examples of seeds included in the primal diet are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Eggs from chickens, ducks and quails can be included in the primal diet. Organic, free-range or cage free eggs are preferable. Eggs may be eaten cooked or raw.