Going Paleo means giving up processed foods

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The Paleo or Caveman diet means sticking mostly to natural proteins and produce. (KABC)

Whether it's for health or weight loss, the Paleo Diet remains in America's top 10 diet plans.

But what does 'going Paleo' really mean?

"You're trying to eat like your ancestors did in the prehistoric era," said chef Pamela Salzman.

Nothing processed in those days.

"Everything should be wild or pastured or free range. And that included fruits and vegetables as well," she continued.

Plenty of protein and produce, but what's missing? Complex carbohydrates like quinoa and pulses: Beans, nuts and legumes that some nutritionists say are a missed opportunity.

"They're actually a powerhouse of nutrients. They've got protein, fiber, vitamins minerals, antioxidants. They've been shown to up calorie fat burning, reduce belly fat and really control cravings and hunger," said dietitian Cynthia Sass, author of 'Slim Down NOW.'

"It can be difficult to give up bread and rice, and lentils and beans. And dairy too," said Salzman.

Those are off the menu. Other than sweet potatoes, starches are out.

The other Paleo challenge is preparation.

A typical day: An egg and veggie omelet, wild salmon avocado salad for lunch, and vegetable cashew curry with cauliflower made from rice for dinner.

"I think what's difficult is giving up foods that people are used to having. Especially if you are used to eating a lot of processed foods. It's completely devoid of any processed foods," said Salzman.

But on the plus side...

"What is slower to digest are your good proteins and your good fats," said Salzman.

Coconut, avocado, nuts, seeds - all plant protein with fat and fiber to keep you satisfied.

Salzman cautions to watch portions.

"I think what is the misconception with Paleo is that you can eat as much meat as you want and that's not really what it's about," said Salzman.

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