What is Paleo?

Since the release of Robb Wolf’s 2010 New York Times Best Seller Paleo Solution, the Paleo Diet appears to be an overnight sensation and one of the “newest” diet fads. We hear terms like the Caveman Diet and Stone Age Diet tossed around with an unfair emphasis on meat and meat consumption; much like the stigma that the Atkins Diet received in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Is this true? What differentiates the Paleo Diet? Is it a fad? What can you eat? What foods are eliminated? Why the outrageous personal testimonials?

Loren Cordain, an exercise physiologist at Colorado State University, published the article Paleolithic Nutrition in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985 which laid down the framework of the diet. “Paleo” comes from word Paleolithic and the Paleolithic Era which began about 2.6 million years ago and ended approximately 10,000 years ago with a transition into the Neolithic Era. During this time of human evolution we were all hunter gatherers. We hunted deer and ate seasonal fruit, wild edible plants, tubers, and nuts. We fished, and if we were lucky enough to find a bee hive, we indulged in the delicious sweet sticky substance we know today to be honey. Our genes through evolution were coded to eat this way. Around 10,000 years ago we began to band together in societies and created communities. We cultivated cereals and grains like wheat, barley, corn, and rice to name a few. We raised and domesticated cattle, sheep, goat and pigs for their meat, and we consumed their milk and made cheese from the excess. Herein lies the genetic mismatch. For over 2.5 million years we ate only vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs and poultry. In the last 10,000 years we introduced grains and excessive dairy consumption. If we were to look at a football field, it’s only the last ½ yard that we have been eating this way. The other 99 ½ yards have been paleo or hunter gatherer.

Furthering the problem exponentially in the last 75 years with the introduction of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, excessive sugar consumption, homogenization and pasteurization of dairy, seed oils, and a dizzyingly array of packaged and processed foods. In most cases our genes have not caught up with the changes. The Paleo Diet is the most effective way to nourish your body that works within the framework of our genetics. Yes, epigenetic changes have occurred and continue to occur allowing certain people and cultures to digest and assimilate grains and dairy, but it is our belief this is the exception and not the rule. This matching of our genes with our food choices differentiates the Paleo Diet from all other diets and clearly eliminates the “fad” tag because it has been with us for over 2.5 million years.

The Paleo Diet or Blueprint/Template is a diet rich in vegetables, tubers, fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry. It excludes dairy, all grains, legumes, no refined sugars, low salt, vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, and packaged and processed foods.

What would a typical Paleo diet look like?

  • Eggs, bacon and fruit for breakfast.
  • Salad with chicken, fish or beef for lunch.
  • A handful of almonds, macadamia nuts or walnuts for a snack.
  • Chicken, beef or fish with carrots and broccoli sautéed in butter or coconut oil for dinner.

Why the claims of sustainably weight loss, improved blood chemistry, more energy, better sugar regulation, and the reduction or elimination of many disease processes?

The Paleo Diet combines all the best ideas in nutrition into one neat package; high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrates resulting in a low glycemic load, high antioxidant levels due to the emphasis on fresh vegetables, tubers, and fruits. It also favors an ideal Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio keeping inflammation levels low, and virtually eliminating all processed and packaged foods.


Dr. Michael Acanfora

Dr. Michael Acanfora has been a chiropractor serving the Bayonne community for the last 16 years. He received his Doctor of Chiropractic from Life University in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Acanfora is a paleo advocate, published author and noted public speaker. Dr Acanfora is an ANJC member, SHINE doctor and cofounder of EPOC NJ. For more information he can be reached at or 201-858-0444.

Dr. Noah

Dr. Noah is a lifelong Chiropractic patient and Paleo Diet enthusiast. At a very early age Dr. Noah suffered from chronic strep throat and earaches. His health was restored from specific Chiropractic adjusting. Dr. Noah graduated in December 2000 from Life University. He is a member of the ANJC since its inception, an avid runner, a Toastmaster, a Rotarian, Board Member of the Ahern Scholarship Foundation, SHINE Doctor, and co-founder of EPOC NJ. He has been married to his beautiful wife Kerri for 20 years and has two incredible children. Dr. Noah can be reached at 201-437-0033, on Facebook, at my blog, at my app in the IPhone app store, or at