As paleo guru Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
We’ve spent most of our time adapting to the food we ate before the Agricultural Revolution: animal foods, wild vegetables, fruits in season, along with limited amounts of nuts & seeds. Our bodies are built to consume these foods, but this is not what our diets look like today. Paleo is based on the idea that this mismatch between our bodies and our diet might be the reason for modern health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Just like any other animal, humans suffer when we stray from our natural diet, but when we return to it, everything changes. Food stops making us sick, and starts making us strong, energetic, and vibrant with health. More than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
Jan Engvald has studied food and health thoroughly in the literature. In Unexpected facts on... food he shows that today's health advice (more or less unchanged for more than 30 years) is a direct cause to the increase in national diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, allergy, eye diseases, etc. His findings are low-carb and high-fat, close to paleo, though he allows high fat dairy.
Evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk writes that the idea that our genetic makeup today matches that of our ancestors is misconceived, and that in debate Cordain was "taken aback" when told that 10,000 years was "plenty of time" for an evolutionary change in human digestive abilities to have taken place.:114 On this basis Zuk dismisses Cordain's claim that the paleo diet is "the one and only diet that fits our genetic makeup".
Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat; carbs do (and the Standard American Diet contains a ton of them!). Natural oils and fats are your body’s preferred sources of creating energy, so it’s best to give your body what it’s asking for. The following are some of the best types of paleo diet oils and fats that you can give your body if you’re in need of some additional energy.
Hi Janice, thank you for your comment! Certainly, many people who try the Paleo diet are able to do so while making sure that they are aqequately fueling their bodies, but I think that you’re right in saying that any type of diet can be a societally accepted way to restrict certain types of food deemed “bad” or “unhealthy” Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. Take care, Natalie
Cordain argues that chimpanzees and horses avoid meat, and they have big bellies that we would have if we didn’t ditch plants for meat. He also says meat increased human brain size, and decreased stomach size so we can have the six-pack abs that chimps can’t. But I looked at his endnotes with citations to research and couldn’t find the source for these theories. I also couldn’t find research showing that legumes and grains were invented by humans.
At its simplest, paleo is an eating style emphasizing whole, nutrient-rich foods like fruits and veggies, meat, seafood, nuts and seeds. The goal is to maximize health and well-being by eating more of the foods our ancient ancestors knew, the kind of foods paleo fans believe our bodies evolved to thrive on. Although there are no absolute guidelines, ingredients to avoid include grains, refined sugar, legumes, dairy, artificial additives and highly processed foods.
The data for Cordain's book only came from six contemporary hunter-gatherer groups, mainly living in marginal habitats. One of the studies was on the !Kung, whose diet was recorded for a single month, and one was on the Inuit. Due to these limitations, the book has been criticized as painting an incomplete picture of the diets of Paleolithic humans. It has been noted that the rationale for the diet does not adequately account for the fact that, due to the pressures of artificial selection, most modern domesticated plants and animals differ drastically from their Paleolithic ancestors; likewise, their nutritional profiles are very different from their ancient counterparts. For example, wild almonds produce potentially fatal levels of cyanide, but this trait has been bred out of domesticated varieties using artificial selection. Many vegetables, such as broccoli, did not exist in the Paleolithic period; broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are modern cultivars of the ancient species Brassica oleracea.
Ketogenic diets are one of the hottest trends in wellness right now. This past year, I even wrote a keto cookbook. In fact, they have become so popular, that many variations of low carb diets are currently spearheading their way into the mainstream. While any focus on a healthier way of eating should be viewed as a positive, rather than a negative - the question remains: are carbohydrates really so bad? There is, of course - a complex scientific...
All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith is against industrial farming. She spent 20 years as a vegan, and now reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms. And as all the neolithic foods we avoid are produced on industrial farms, she is against the foods we avoid. Here's a well thought out review by Eric Wargo: Clubbing Vegetarians Over the Head With the Truth.
Cooking becomes an overwhelming chore when we get too wrapped up in complicated, time-consuming recipes. To be practical and sustainable, ancestral nutrition has to be easy. As a working mom, I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts in the kitchen, and often rely on modern conveniences that cavemen never enjoyed, like pressure cookers, slow cookers, and food processors. (I also appreciate indoor plumbing, for what it’s worth.)
A strict paleo diet does not allow dairy products because hunter-gatherers did not milk cows. Some paleo dieters say dairy is OK, especially if it is grass-fed because grass-fed butter, for example, has more omega-3s. Fermented dairy products are also OK for some paleo eaters because they have a lower content of lactose and casein, the two concerns paleo dieters have with dairy.
Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Early Peoples (Expanded Edition) by Don R. Brothwell and Patricia Brothwell is a survey of what is known archaeologically about food and drink in pre-modern times. The chapter on insects includes their food value. In beverages it covers what happens to a neglected jar of fruit juice. Under cannibalism it shows evidence of this being done in paleo times, thought most of the work focuses on the classical and near-eastern civilizations, but occasional mention is made of the mesoamerican cultures as well. There is taxonomic and anatomical information.
Citrus Steak Marinade Paprika-Lemon Chicken marinade Alabama-Style White Barbecue Sauce Avocado Vegetable Dip Orange And Cranberry Relish Blueberry-Peach Salsa Chunky Apple Ketchup Fire-Roasted Salsa Mayonnaise, Revisited Melon Salsa Cranberry Relish Sardine and roasted garlic spread Asparagus pesto Strawberry balsamic vinaigrette Red Pepper Dip Homemade Paleo condiments Salad dressing and vinaigrettes Homemade Pesto Baba Ghanoush Paleo Mayonnaise Mexican Salsa verde Quick and Easy Guacamole Sriracha Sauce