The paleo (or “paleolithic”) diet is about eating much like our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors did; how many people feel our bodies are best fueled. Pre-agricultural humans ate wild animals and seafood, organic (no other choice) vegetables, some fruit and nuts. They did not eat significant quantities of grains, dairy (ever try milking a wooly mammoth?) or legumes – all of which contain known gut irritants and digestive inhibitors. They didn’t use refined sugars (unless you count occasional honey), salt, or artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, etc. Much has been written about this by others, so I’ll refer you to their books if you want to learn more about the “why” of paleo. I’m not here to convince you. This site is for those who have decided to eat paleo and need help with the “hunting and gathering.”
Paleo isn’t “one size fits all.” There are different flavors and interpretations, and the experts don’t agree on all points. At it’s core, paleo means no grains/legumes/dairy/artificial or refined ingredients, and instead: lots of healthy fats, animal proteins and non-starchy vegetables. There is disagreement, however, about how much fruit is appropriate, or how many nuts. Some versions allow certain high-fat pastured dairy products, especially when fermented such as yogurt and kefir. Most exclude starchy tubers but some do not. Some plans actually encourage up to 15% “cheating”, and exceptions for coffee or occasional alcohol are common. You’ll also see references to “primal” eating which is related but not quite the same as paleo.
Almost no one wants to copy exactly what “cave men” ate, even if that were possible. We’ve generally lost our taste for otherwise nutritious things like brains and insects, and many species of plants & animals have long since become extinct. The idea is to eat natural whole foods with the basic macronutrient profile our bodies were “designed” to thrive on. Where you choose to go with this is ultimately your own decision.