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What is a 80/20 Paleo Lifestyle?

What is a 80/20 Paleo Lifestyle?

We all know paleo diet is based on fresh fruits, vegetables, roots, herbs, seeds, nuts, game-meat. It places restrictions on processed foods, packaged foods, milk, and oil.

While the exact food choices of  our paleolithic ancestors is not known, most of the paleo food recommendations are based on the archeological and scientific study findings. Research on paleo nutrition has confirmed the fact that there was no standardized or universal way of food consumption and availability of certain fruits and vegetables varied depending on climate, geographical factors and ecological conditions. Th studies encourages to consume foods as close to nature as possible in order to enjoy the same health our ancestors had millions of years ago.

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For an individual who does not possess thorough knowledge on paleolithic nutrition, these facts could be confusing, misleading and make adopting the paleo lifestyle to be very stressful. In addition to this, modern day lifestyle is surrounded by unhealthy food choices and sedentary living options, which forces even the healthiest and determined individuals to indulge once a while. Thus adopting a 80/20 paleo lifestyle becomes an ideal choice for pursuing paleo way of living without hitting a road block.

Definition of 80/20 paleo lifestyle

Simply put, 80/20 paleo lifestyle means conforming to the norms of paleo diet and adhering to it 80% of the time and  enjoy the flexibility to deviate from it by about 20%, and yet stay in track. 80/20 paleo lifestyle applies both to the dietary choice as well as lifestyle habits.

Our paleolithic ancestors not only ate healthy but also had a healthy lifestyle. Their lifestyle involved plenty of physical activity such as walking, running, climbing, gathering food, hunting, carrying heavy loads etc. The stress levels were acute to mild which ranged from  protecting themselves from wild animals to weather changes.

Table below shows the permitted and restricted foods in 80/20 Paleo diet

Most of the time: 20 % of the time:
  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Water
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Dairy & Milk products
  • Salt
  • Legumes
  • Flours
  • Processed / packaged foods
  • Beverages, soda, fruit juices
Benefits of 80/20 paleo lifestyle
  • Best suited for those with occasional food cravings.
  • Perfect for beginners, who want to go easy on paleo diet.
  • Aids in easier transition from unhealthy eating patterns and non-paleo foods to paleo diet.
  • Helps to stay motivated and on track with paleo path for life long.
  • Gives room for socializing with non-paleo friend and family members without being left out.
  • There is a likelihood of more satisfaction in indulging for 20%, after maintaining healthy eating habits 80 % of the time.
  • Nurtures self discipline in terms of not cheating or too much indulgence while following a paleo diet.
  • Makes adhering to paleo diet less intimidating for beginners as well as veterans alike.
  • Helps weaning off from unhealthy food habits in a better fashion without pressure.
  • Aids to draw a conscious line between paleo foods and non-paleo, unhealthy foods.
  • Allows for trial and error approach to paleo diet and lifestyle without being too hard on self and feel guilty.

With the present day stress, lifestyle and dietary choices, it becomes increasingly difficult to mimic the dietary habits of our paleolithic ancestors. Current agricultural techniques, nutrient depleted soil, over use of pesticides, fertilizers, availability of  genetically modified foods, hormone induced food products etc also add on to the task of eating as close to nature as possible. Thus, given the present day scenario, it becomes imperative to follow a 80/20 paleo lifestyle that shows promising future and long term benefits.

Although, the idea of restricting to  only 20% of personal food choices may seem bothersome,  a look at the bigger picture shows that 80/20 paleo lifestyle is not a rule. It should rather be looked upon as a mutual agreement that provides potential health benefits as well as satisfies the desires of personal choices. To sum it all, it is no doubt, that 80/20 paleo rule will aid in transitioning to paleo living and aid in the path to impeccable health.

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