Guess what!? You’re a remnant from the paleo era of humanity. You’re little more than a super-intelligent ape.
Have you tried eating like one?
The human animal is an amazing omnivore, it can eat almost anything and survive. Does this mean it should eat anything and everything? Certainly not. I believe your body is “programmed” to use certain forms of energy. Some forms of energy are better than others.
How do we know what the optimal forms of energy are? Look to the early humans, the idea of the prehistorical caveman. If you paid attention in school, you should already have an idea what cavemen would have access to:
- Stuff growing on trees
- Stuff you find growing on/in the ground.
- Creatures that fly in the air
- Creatures that swim in the water
- Creatures that run/crawl/scurry on the ground.
The idea is that you need to stick to foods that were available to humans long before humans began farming. Our bodies are well adapted to consume natural foods found in nature. A big mac and a large side of fries? The body isn’t meant to consume that. If you do it over and over, the body is going to start having problems. Seems simple, right?
The good news is that a lot of the stuff you’ve heard is “bad for you” is in fact GOOD! (within reason). Namely dietary fat. Poor fat… it gets such a bad rap. It is severely misunderstood. Surely you’ve heard: “EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT!!”
No. Shut up. That’s Bullshyt. The best you can say is OVEREATING fat makes you fat. That applies to carbohydrates too. (And don’t call me Shirley).
Getting more fat in your diet is a good thing. It keeps you feeling full and you need it to properly absorb many essential vitamins like A, D, E, and K. If you’re thinking fat is bad for you, look at the Inuits (AKA Eskimos). They eat mostly fat and they’re pretty damn healthy. Healthier than most Americans!
One of the biggest revelations that Paleo revealed to me was the nature of Grains. Grains are something that are largely misunderstood by the average person. Grains have only been around in human history for a relatively short time (10,000 years or so). Human evolution has gone on far longer than that. We’re talking about a fraction of time for the body to adapt. The human body has a lot of mechanisms for processing food, but grains are something that it has not had much “exposure” to.
We have some forms of adaptation but the grains themselves are able to “fight back.” I’ll go into more detail on another post, but the thing you need to understand is that grains are plant seedlings. They don’t want to become some creature’s dinner. They have evolved mechanisms to defend themselves against being eaten as well as stealing nutrients from said creature. I’m talking about ripping your stomach open and/or making it attack your own cells. They do some nasty stuff to your insides, despite being processed and refined. There are ways to de-activate those mechanisms, but I’ll go into that another time. I would say just avoid them for optimal health, the body doesn’t need them and it can live without them.
However, due to rampant bullschyt and various organizations telling us that grains are healthy, most people believe it. After everything I’ve read and experimented with, I can’t say I agree. I’d say they’re akin to smoking. What about whole grains, you ask? Well when you hear “whole grains are healthier than bleached white flour” is like saying “a filtered cigarette is better than a cigar.” Either way, they body absorbs the glucose quickly (High GI) and shoots up your blood sugar levels. If you’re sitting around for most of the day, that energy is eventually stored as fat.
One real world example I’ve found is that eating Paleo can treat acid reflux. My mother used to spend a ton of money on those damn little purple pills for her stomach. She would end up taking about 5 a day or so. I got her to give up grains for a month and guess what? No longer needed the pills. The grains were no longer wreaking havoc on her stomach and she no longer had digestive issues. Now if she does slip up and eat grains, she ends up paying the price for it later…
Although I follow a mostly Paleo lifestyle as of now, I do disagree with some aspects of the Paleo principles, such as being anti-dairy. Pasteurized skim milk from the store? I’ll never drink that. There are some very healthy alternatives out there and I’ll write about them soon. One thing to also consider is living a more Paleo lifestyle just by not watching so much TV, going outside more, and trying to get some exercise. Being “Paleo” is more of a mind frame and lifestyle than a “diet.”
One big bit of craziness going around the Paleo groups right now is this stuff about whether or not Paleo can prevent/treat clogged arteries based on x-rays of 10,000 year old mummies. It’s basically caused by age. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Paleo can go back and forth on what to eat, but it ultimately leads to eating real foods and less processed crap.
Every diet/nutrition plan I’ve researched (that WORKS) involves the elimination of processed foods. It’s really simple. If you want to feel good and be in good health, eat Paleo. If you want to lose weight, Paleo is certainly a good starting point. It has the side effect of getting your body to clear out all the (for lack of a better word) “gunk” that processed man-made foods seem to leave behind. For the chronically obese, give it a try and see what happens. It was my first step in the right direction.
Here’s the most basic guide to the Paleolithic diet: eat real food that occurs in nature. In other words: if it’s man-made or if it was severely altered by man, don’t eat it. Very simple.
As for the fine print, I’ll direct you to Mark’s Daily Apple, one my favorite Paleo sources. He’ll have more than I could ever write about Paleo. Just don’t go crazy asking yourself if something is “Paleo” or not. Just knock it off with the processed foods and the grains for a month, it will make you feel 10x better. Give it a try!
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