Paleo. Short for Paleolithic. Webster's definition of Paleolithic-
: of or relating to the earliest period of the Stone Age characterized by rough or chipped stone implements
When people speak of the "Paleo" Diet, it becomes synonomous with "hunter/gather diet," "caveman diet," "original human DNA diet," etc., etc. The problem with the "Paleo" label is that 1) Anthropological Scientists (and others) take it too literally, 2) No one can agree on what persons in the paleolithic era ate (most likely whatever they could get their mitts on, and this probably varied immensly from region to region based on availability, duh) 3) The argument that our DNA has changed little relatively to how much our food sources has changed is not entirely accurate.
So, is the term Paleo a misnomer? Absolutely. Is the Paleo Diet what we are "supposed" to be eating? Who could possible know that? Only you. Everyone is different. Does this change the fact that the general principles that fall under the "paleo" diet label are good guidelines? No. I don't think the historical inaccuracy (or any other inaccuracy) of the name should take away from the legitimate elements of what the diet is intended to stand for.
In all honesty, I think the term Paleo is just kind of catchy. It's not meant to be taken literally (nor could it possibly be with so many of the creature comforts we have). Anything successful needs a good name brand, and well, whoever came up with this one ("Paleo") was FAR ahead of their time. Paleo is so much easier to say then "Processed food free- low sugar- find out if gluten/dariy/legumes bother you (by giving all up for 30 days), and if after isolating each one and introducing slowly they don't affect you, eat as you wish" Diet.
Just looking at my own experience with "paleo" eating, there has been tremendous evolution over the past 1.5 years. I have put the work in to find out the things that affect me- raise my blood sugar, cause me to retain water, make me sneeze, etc. Yes, I classify my diet as "Paleo" just because that covers most of the important bases. I don't eat grains, I rarely eat legumes (hummus is just too powerful), if I eat dairy, it's grass-fed butter, or cream, I have to limit my sugar to next to nothing (occasional fruit and small amounts of honey are ok), and the majority of my eats are meat and vegetables.
Some "paleo" die-hards would look at my rendition of the Paleo Diet and scoff. Others that claim to be "paleo" would find my choices overly strict. I don't give a shit, because I'm doing what works for me. That is THE. WHOLE. POINT. Find out what works for you by whatever means necessary, and do it. If you find that you stall out, or something isn't working, keep experimenting until you find your groove. When you find it, you'll know. This life is about what works for you, not about what works for someone else.
Further reading on the topic can be found here:
And here (thanks L):