Although it may seem like a no-brainer that eating a balanced diet rich in natural, fresh foods (like veggies, fruits, sustainable animal meats, some starchy plants, leaves, anti-inflammatory fatty acids and oils, nuts and seeds) improves health, research proves that “going Paleo” is one of the healthiest lifestyles and diets that modern humans can adopt.
I know that a lot of people still call this the “caveman diet,” but Paleo isn’t about slavishly and mindlessly replicating the actual diets of Paleolithic humans. Okay, a few Paleo die-hards may approach their diets this way, but that’s not the way I eat at all. In fact, there isn’t just one definitive, monolithic, one-size-fits-all “Paleo diet.” Some Paleo eaters choose to go super-low-carb, while others of us (me included!) are happy to munch on a baked potato or a bowl of white rice every now and then. There are Paleo eaters who can’t imagine life without dairy, and more orthodox folks who refuse to touch even a pat of butter with a ten-foot pole. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of ancestral eating remain the same:
We’re in a position to understand more of the benefits of the Paleo diet now that we have a basic understanding of which food sources are emphasized. One major benefit of the Paleo diet is an increased consumption of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals. Whole grains are not a good substitute for grass-produced or free-ranging meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not absorbed efficiently by the body. The Paleo diet cuts out whole grains and replaces them with unprocessed, fresh foods.
TBK Fitness Program by Tamir Katz shows how to achieve fitness through a healthy, natural hunter-gatherer diet along with a comprehensive exercise program with over 60 different bodyweight exercises of varying difficulty targeting all of the muscles in the body. Also included is a detailed discussion of nutrition and the diseases of civilization based on scientific research, information on stress management and preventive medicine, recommendations on vitamin and supplement use, tips on how to make your fitness program succeed where others have failed, tips on food shopping and preparation, sample meals, and more. The Amazon reviews average to 4+ stars.
I wrote a book called The Paleo Solution which went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. This book incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best. I am a research biochemist who traded in his lab coat and pocket protector for a whistle and a stopwatch to become one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the world. With my unique perspective as both scientist and coach you will learn how simple nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can radically change your appearance and health for the better.
It does mean that you will find most cravings — particularly sweet cravings (and the brain fog, jitters, crummy mood and energy slump that comes with them) are a thing of the past. The more sweetness we eat, the more we typically want. Your intake of sugars from all sources — even natural ones — should be reduced and ultimately avoided. Sugar, cane sugar, golden syrup, or corn syrup, and even honey, agave and maple syrup should be avoided. Once you get a handle on your blood sugar you can occasionally indulge in “nature’s candy”: fresh fruits. Most importantly, berries.
But critics argue that the unlimited amount of red meat the paleo diet allows may have an adverse effect on heart health in people with diabetes, as research links eating red meat in excess to poor heart health. (11) If you have diabetes and don’t moderate your red-meat intake, this could be a big problem, as people with diabetes are 2 times as likely to die of heart disease as people who do not have diabetes. (12)
The trouble with that view, however, is that what they’re eating is probably nothing like the diet of hunter-gatherers, says Michael Pollan, author of a number of best-selling books on food and agriculture, including Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. “I don’t think we really understand…well the proportions in the ancient diet,” argues Pollan on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast (stream below). “Most people who tell you with great confidence that this is what our ancestors ate—I think they’re kind of blowing smoke.”
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Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship by Sarah Fragoso. Piper, Phoenix and Parker are not ordinary children–they are super heroes that travel the land helping other children learn about living the healthiest, most exciting, most super lives possible. They are known as The Paleo Pals, and this is a story about how they help out Jimmy, a little boy who is not sure if eating paleo food is even one tiny bit exciting or super. Published February 7, 2012.
The Paleo Diet saved my life. It can save yours too. How? People like myself are not adapted to digest grains. Eating them can cause chronic health conditions. Why? Grains contain anti-nutrients and are not easily absorbed by the gut. These anti-nutrients protect the grain and help it survive. This evolutionary strategy is great for a kernel of wheat, but not for your belly.
Lucy is WH’s Digital Editor, Features Writer, social media guru and resident woo. A long black lover and foodie at heart, she considers peanut butter an hourly staple and believes chardonnay is the superior drop. When she's not at the beach, barre or yoga studio you'll find her coming up with new and improved ways to kill her unkillable houseplants
The evolutionary discordance is incomplete, since it is based mainly on the genetic understanding of the human diet and a unique model of human ancestral diets, without taking into account the flexibility and variability of the human dietary behaviors over time. Studies of a variety of populations around the world show that humans can live healthily with a wide variety of diets, and that in fact, humans have evolved to be flexible eaters. Lactose tolerance is an example of how some humans have adapted to the introduction of dairy into their diet. While the introduction of grains, dairy, and legumes during the Neolithic revolution may have had some adverse effects on modern humans, if humans had not been nutritionally adaptable, these technological developments would have been dropped.
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek synthesizes the science into one readable source. The book is excellent for general low-carb high-fat moderate protein diets. While they begin with the idea that we should eat like a caveman, they do not follow the conclusion to its logical end and have us avoid the classes of foods our ancestors would have found unrecognizable. They avoid the metobolic syndrome, but not the autoimmune diseases. They mention that monosaturates should be favored, though they are not emphasized in the menu example. The book's daily menu examples also all include dairy in one form or another. No tips are given tips for those who do not do dairy. Published May 19, 2011. The Amazon reviews average to 4+.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD. A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly "wheat belly" bulges, and reverse myriad health problems, like minor rashes and high blood sugar. The author contends that every single human will experience health improvement by giving up modern wheat. The book provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle. Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat. The author's blog. Published August 30, 2011.