The third most Googled diet in 2015 was the Paleolithic diet, most commonly called the Paleo diet and often referred to as the Caveman diet and sometimes Stone Age diet.
The staggeringly popular way of eating has caught on with celebrities (reportedly Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey are fans) as well as Toronto chefs (Chef Anthony Rose of Rose & Sons, Fat Pasha and the new Bar Begonia follows a "paleo-friendly diet.").
This primal way of eating omits cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, potatoes, refined sugar, salt, refined vegetable oils and processed foods. Instead, feast on grass-produced meats, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds, and “healthful” oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut), according to Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of The Paleo Diet.
Here are Toronto’s top 5 restaurants that offer great options should you be eating Paleo this year:
(Note: this is not an endorsement of this way of eating.)
573 King St. E.
The "minimally processed/nutrient-rich" dishes here were made for Paleo followers. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can eat like a Caveman:
The Power Breakfast Bowl ($9.95) for brekkie comes with spinach, chorizo, scrambled eggs, salsa fresca, sweet potato and squash mash, avocado and green onions. No afternoon dozies here.
For dinner, select from mains of Spiced Flank Steak ($8.95), Roasted Chicken ($8.95), Bison Meatballs ($8.95) and Char-Grilled Salmon ($8.95).
1170 Queen St W
This healthy spot on Queen West has fascinating selections, everything from Antioxidant Salad ($10.50 - spinach, goji berry, shredded beet, tomato, shredded carrot, shredded butternut squash, cauliflower, shaved red cabbage, pepita, goji berry dressing) to Soups ($6), Stews ($6) and antioxident-packed Acai Parfaits ($8).
To keep you warm, forget the usually caffeinated fare and try their mushroom coffee ($3) and herbal super mushroom tea ($3) for an added boost of energy.
1454 Dundas St W
If it’s meat you’re after, head to Antler, one of the city’s best restaurants.
Their dinnerentrees provide meat and seafood offerings – Spice Ash Crusted Rack of Deer ($39), Crispy Roasted Chicken ($24), Rainbow Trout ($28) - without the usual side of potatoes, a no-no for Caveman eaters.
1118 Finch Ave W Unit #2
North York, ON
It’s a little out of the way (Finch and Dufferin) and the large fancy banquet hall dining room might not be quite what you’re used to (take out is also available), but many of the dishes here are uber paleo-friendly. Insanely fresh, zesty fare, you’ll soon discover why Georgian food is your new favourite cuisine once you’ve tried dishes such as:
Chashushuli - veal stew with georgian spiced sauce with paprika, onions and herbs ($15)
Chanakhi- tender stewed lamb stew with vegetables in a clay pot ($12)
Chakhokhbili - stewed chicken with tomatoes and aromatic spices ($13)
Chicken Tabaka - marinated cornish hen ($16)
Salmon Shishkebob ($20) or Lamb ($16)
Rainbow Trout Fillet ($17)
Many come sided with phenomenal grilled veg and you’ve got to try the insane housemade sauces. – Ajika, a spicy hot sauce($3) and Tkemali ($3), a Georgian ketchup made with red or green sour plums.
516 Danforth Ave.
Greek food is ideal for the Paleo lifestyle as it’s filled with fresh meat, seafood and veg options with plenty of olive oil to go with it.
Pan has seven salads ($7-$13, and a whopping 17 meze (appetizers) including Thalassa Seafood ($10 - octopus, shrimps, sea scallops and calamari with chopped carrots and celeryin olive oil and vinegar) and Mussels ($11) P.E.I. mussels in wine garlic spinach, fresh herbs and tomato ouzo broth.
Forgo the roast potatoes and rice and you’ll have plenty to choose from.