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.[4]:114 On this basis Zuk dismisses Cordain's claim that the paleo diet is "the one and only diet that fits our genetic makeup".[4]
Several examples of recent and relatively speedy human evolution underscore that our anatomy and genetics have not been set in stone since the stone age. Within a span of 7,000 years, for instance, people adapted to eating dairy by developing lactose tolerance. Usually, the gene encoding an enzyme named lactase—which breaks down lactose sugars in milk—shuts down after infancy; when dairy became prevalent, many people evolved a mutation that kept the gene turned on throughout life. Likewise, the genetic mutation responsible for blue eyes likely arose between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. And in regions where malaria is common, natural selection has modified people's immune systems and red blood cells in ways that help them resist the mosquito-borne disease; some of these genetic mutations appeared within the last 10,000 or even 5,000 years. The organisms with which we share our bodies have evolved even faster, particularly the billions of bacteria living in our intestines. Our gut bacteria interact with our food in many ways, helping us break down tough plant fibers, but also competing for calories. We do not have direct evidence of which bacterial species thrived in Paleolithic intestines, but we can be sure that their microbial communities do not exactly match our own.
You’d think vegan and paleo sort of cancel each other out, with paleo diet recipes emphasizing grass-fed meats and free-range eggs and vegans avoiding all animal products. But when you think about what our “ancestors” probably really ate, it must have been a very plant-based diet. So, what does an ancestral vegan diet look like? Abundant fruits and veggies are something both eating philosophies have in common. Grains and legumes — go-tos for many vegans — are out, but paleo-friendly starches like sweet potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are in, and they’re both tasty and filling. So are all the good fats, like nuts, avocados and olive oil. And we can sweeten things up when we need to with fruit juices, honey, molasses, pure maple syrup and dried fruits. This is starting to sound not only healthy, but also deliciously doable. Here are 18 tempting recipes that’ll have you saying: “Let’s do this!”
Overall, the diet is high in protein, moderate in fat (mainly from unsaturated fats), low-moderate in carbohydrate (specifically restricting high glycemic index carbohydrates), high in fiber, and low in sodium and refined sugars. [2] The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA) come from marine fish, avocado, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.

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By latest count, about 800 Hiwi live in palm thatched huts in Colombia and Venezuela. In 1990 Ana Magdalena Hurtado and Kim Hill—now both at Arizona State University in Tempe—published a thorough study (pdf) of the Hiwi diet in the neotropical savannas of the Orinoco River basin in Southwestern Venezuela. Vast grasslands with belts of forest, these savannas receive plenty of rain between May and November. From January through March, however, precipitation is rare: the grasses shrivel, while lakes and lagoons evaporate. Fish trapped in shrinking pools of water are easy targets for caiman, capybaras and turtles. In turn, the desiccating lakes become prime hunting territory for the Hiwi. During the wet season, however, the Hiwi mainly hunt for animals in the forest, using bows and arrows.
Exercise is a vital part of the live-by-your-genetic-code equation. Surviving in the Stone Age meant a constant on-the-go lifestyle that probably required 4,000-plus calories a day, according to David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Even most people who hit the gym regularly won't need to eat that many calories, but the principle of using food as fuel to exercise still stands.
For example, although white potatoes were recorded as being available during the Paleolithic era, they are usually avoided on the Paleo diet because of their high glycemic index. Processed foods are also technically off limits due to an emphasis on fresh foods, but some Paleo diets allow frozen fruits and vegetables because the freezing process preserves most nutrients.
You’ll stay pretty full on the Paleo diet. Nutrition experts emphasize the importance of satiety, the satisfied feeling that you’ve had enough. You shouldn’t feel hungry on this diet – protein and fiber are filling, and you’ll get plenty of both. One small study of 29 participants published in Nutrition & Metabolism in 2010 found Paleo dieters felt just as full but consumed fewer calories than their Mediterranean counterparts.
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.”
By latest count, about 800 Hiwi live in palm thatched huts in Colombia and Venezuela. In 1990 Ana Magdalena Hurtado and Kim Hill—now both at Arizona State University in Tempe—published a thorough study (pdf) of the Hiwi diet in the neotropical savannas of the Orinoco River basin in Southwestern Venezuela. Vast grasslands with belts of forest, these savannas receive plenty of rain between May and November. From January through March, however, precipitation is rare: the grasses shrivel, while lakes and lagoons evaporate. Fish trapped in shrinking pools of water are easy targets for caiman, capybaras and turtles. In turn, the desiccating lakes become prime hunting territory for the Hiwi. During the wet season, however, the Hiwi mainly hunt for animals in the forest, using bows and arrows.
The Paleo diet includes nutrient-dense whole fresh foods and encourages participants to steer away from highly processed foods containing added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. However, the omission of whole grains, dairy, and legumes could lead to suboptimal intake of important nutrients. The restrictive nature of the diet may also make it difficult for people to adhere to such a diet in the long run.  More high-quality studies including randomized controlled trials with follow-up of greater than one year that compare the Paleo diet with other weight-reducing diets are needed to show a direct health benefit of the Paleo diet. Strong recommendations for the Paleo diet for weight loss cannot be made at this time.
My blog, cookbooks, cooking app, and podcast, are intended to help you translate the “rules of the road” into delicious, easy-to-prepare meals for you and your family. Here, you’ll see the way I eat on an everyday basis, and my recipes, too. In case you’re wondering, I cook entirely gluten- and soy-free, and steer clear of legumes and refined vegetable and seed oils.
You’ll lose weight because any time you restrict entire food groups, your calorie intake tends to be lower, Sandon says. And whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you'll have weight loss, she says. (2) The focus on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables over calorie- and sodium-rich processed foods can also contribute to weight loss, though she also points out that the paleo diet wasn’t created to be a weight loss diet. (3) 

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

Origins and Evolution of Human Diet was an academic web site at the University of Arkansas devoted to discussion of evolution and the human diet. They had good articles on the conferences link. Here is one from the archives: Boyd Eaton's Evolution, Diet and Health which argues that current w-6 : w-3 imbalance together with absolute dietary DHA intake quite low in human evolutionary perspective may be relevant to the frequency of unipolar depression.


In making the case for meat, Cordain presents anecdotal evidence of Eskimos who lived their full life without a heart attack. The Eskimo diet consists of 97% meat, which he concedes causes all Eskimos to develop atherosclerosis—a common precursor to heart disease. But Cordain says Eskimos never die of heart disease. He discusses one Eskimo who lived 45 years and another who lived 53 years, both without heart disease! He then jumps to the conclusion that because these Eskimos didn’t get heart attacks, even with severe atherosclerosis, meat must have protected them from heart disease. So Cordain’s best case for lots of meat is that you can live to the ripe age of 45 or even 53 without a heart attack. But do people—even unhealthy smokers or the obese—generally get heart attacks before age 53?
Hidden danger: Past and current research suggests that a heightened level of high fat meat and saturated fat can increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and the risk of bowel cancer. Per the American Heart Association, an adult should consume a total of ~13 grams of saturated fat per day. On a Paleo diet, saturated fat intake can approach upwards of 50 grams per day.
Hey Amanda, I’d love to try this as well. I’m not sure if they will freeze well, but I don’t see why not. I think freezing the chicken salad would be smarter, and taking that out on a Sunday and just packing those up for the week and storing in the fridge may be better. The wraps probably don’t freeze well. But for most of my once a month cooking, it always requires a bit of assembling the week of! Does that make sense?

An Interview with Ward Nicholson now has three parts on the web. Good overview of man's diet over the past 65 million years. Long but highly recommended reading. First published in Chet Day's "Health & Beyond" newsletter. Now part of a very comprehensive Beyond Vegetarianism site. Every argument that your vegetarian friends use to avoid meat for health reasons is debunked here.
The Lazy Paleo Enthusiast's Cookbook: A Collection of Practical Recipes and Advice on How to Eat Healthy, Tasty Food While Spending as Little Time in the Kitchen as Possible by Sean Robertson. The author is a recovering vegan and in the first half of the book recounts his dietary experiences using some paleo foods to restore his health. You learn that the author's main strategy is to make food in large batches which can be reheated to provide dinners for several days running. The second half of the book contains 28 recipes. Some borderline or nonpaleo ingredients do appear, but most of the recipes are more paleo than not. Published November 15, 2011.
A large percentage of individuals with Celiac disease still have persistent symptoms after eliminating gluten from the diet. Other factors that may be at play, including proteins and starches in dairy, other gluten free grains and legumes as well as gut microbial balance. We can think of no better principles than The Paleo Way for individuals with Celiac disease. However, despite the possible benefits of a Paleo based diet, again we strongly recommend you seek advice and support from a suitable health professional both before making any changes to your diet or physical routine.
Advocates of the diet argue that the increase in diseases of affluence after the dawn of agriculture was caused by changes in diet, but others have countered that it may be that pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers did not suffer from the diseases of affluence because they did not live long enough to develop them.[30] Based on the data from hunter-gatherer populations still in existence, it is estimated that at age 15, life expectancy was an additional 39 years, for a total age of 54.[31] At age 45, it is estimated that average life expectancy was an additional 19 years, for a total age of 64 years.[32][33] That is to say, in such societies, most deaths occurred in childhood or young adulthood; thus, the population of elderly – and the prevalence of diseases of affluence – was much reduced. Excessive food energy intake relative to energy expended, rather than the consumption of specific foods, is more likely to underlie the diseases of affluence. "The health concerns of the industrial world, where calorie-packed foods are readily available, stem not from deviations from a specific diet but from an imbalance between the energy humans consume and the energy humans spend."[34]
"Loren Cordain's extensive research demonstrates how modern westernized diets drastically depart from the original diet humans consumed for millions of years. In The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, Dr. Cordain shows how diets high in grains, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, and refined sugars are at odds with our genetic legacy and then shares his uncomplicated strategy for losing weight and getting healthy."
The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young by Loren Cordain. The author shows you how to supercharge the Paleo diet for optimal lifelong health and weight loss. Featuring a new prescriptive 7-day plan and surprising revelations from the author's original research, it's the most powerful Paleo guide yet. Published December 20, 2011.
The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living by S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., Marjorie Shostak and Melvin Konner. This book, published in 1988, was the start of the Paleolithic diet movement. Its recommendations are not in line with what today is considered a paleo diet, as whole grain breads and pastas, legumes and some low fat dairy products are allowed. However, it is still a profoundly important book. Used books are available for a reasonable price.

If you're interested in the paleo plan but don't think you want to be so strict, you don't have to be all-or-nothing with your approach. Consider adopting some eating patterns from paleo and skipping the ones that don't work for you. For example, try just eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on added sugars. If you feel unsure about grains or dairy, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine what's best for your body.
As of 2016 there are limited data on the metabolic effects on humans eating a Paleo diet, but the data are based on clinical trials that have been too small to have a statistical significance sufficient to allow the drawing of generalizations.[3][6][20][not in citation given] These preliminary trials have found that participants eating a paleo nutrition pattern had better measures of cardiovascular and metabolic health than people eating a standard diet,[3][9] though the evidence is not strong enough to recommend the Paleo diet for treatment of metabolic syndrome.[9] As of 2014 there was no evidence the paleo diet is effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease.[21]
Cancer: Disease of Civilization? An anthropological and historical study by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. This classic shows what happens before and after tribes were "civilized." Covers day-to-day experience of Eskimo life. Published in 1960. Used copies are available at a steep price. To read it get it on inter-library loan. Another of his many books My Life with the Eskimo (New Edition) is available.
The paleo diet encourages you to skip weighing and measuring yourself and if at all encourages you to count nutrients as opposed to calories. So the only thing you should take into consideration when meal planning is making sure you’ll approximately cover your macronutrient needs and then simply eat as much as you feel like when it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner time.
We Want to Live: The Primal Diet (2005 Expanded Edition) is a book by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. His basic philosophy is that (a) food is to be eaten in a live, raw condition; and (b) a diet rich in raw fats and raw meats from natural sources is essential to health. However his diet includes massive amounts of raw dairy. From the Planets is a book review by Ralph W. Moss. The Live-Food Mailing List discusses the concepts of this book.
If you were to eat an unlimited amount of red meat (which the paleo diet technically allows), you may see your heart health suffer. While experts applaud the omission of packaged and processed foods like cake, cookies, chips, and candy — which are well known to be bad for your ticker — they’re not crazy about the fact that paleo doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains, legumes, and most dairy. Whole grains in particular have been linked with better cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (13) These are all comorbidities of heart disease. (14)

The Hiwi gather and hunt a diverse group of plants and animals from the savannas, forests, rivers and swamps. Their main sources of meat are capybara, collared peccary, deer, anteater, armadillo, and feral cattle, numerous species of fish, and at least some turtle species. Less commonly consumed animals include iguanas and savanna lizards, wild rabbits, and many birds. Not exactly the kind of meat Paleo dieters and others in urban areas can easily obtain.
The Paleo diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. Though there are numerous benefits eating a hunter-gatherer diet, there are seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets that help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and to lose weight and keep it off.
Proponents of the Paleo diet follow a nutritional plan based on the eating habits of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period, between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago. Before agriculture and industry, humans presumably lived as hunter–gatherers: picking berry after berry off of bushes; digging up tumescent tubers; chasing mammals to the point of exhaustion; scavenging meat, fat and organs from animals that larger predators had killed; and eventually learning to fish with lines and hooks and hunt with spears, nets, bows and arrows.
Bouts of high intensity training as your schedule and recovery allows. This is what people typically think of as fitness – strength training, sprinting, running, CrossFit, any type of structured fitness program falls here. Pay attention to your recovery – make sure you’re not exercising more than you can recover from. Some people can train two times a day six days per week, some manage twice a week before burning out. Respect your level and do what you can manage.
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...
Another 2014 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of the Paleo plan to those of a standard low-fat diet on 70 obese, postmenopausal women. After six months, the Paleo group lost 14 pounds on average, while the other group lost nearly 6 pounds. After a year, the Paleo group had lost 19 pounds on average, and the low-fat dieters had dropped 10 pounds. A year later, both groups had regained some weight: The Paleo group was still down 10 pounds, while the low-fat group had dropped an average of more than 6 pounds.
And now we know that microbes, such as those in our gut, play a key role in our health, as well. The microbes we eat in foods like pickles may not take up a permanent home in our innards; rather, they seem to be more akin to transient visitors, says Pollan. Still, “fermented foods provide a lot of compounds that gut microbes like,” and he says he makes sure to eat some fermented vegetables every day. 
Take 30 days and give it a shot – cut out the grains and dairy, start eating more vegetables and fruits, eat more humanely raised and non-grain fed meat, cut out the liquid calories and sugar, and see how you feel after the month is up. If you’re analytical and want numbers to use in your final verdict, get your blood work done at the beginning and end of the month.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. This book argues that the ease of digestion and the added nutritional value available in cooked food was the key behind the explosion of human intelligence. (Cooking gelatinizes starch, denatures protein, and softens all foods, permitting more complete digestion and energy extraction. As a result, the food processing apparatus shrinks, freeing energy to support a larger brain.) He then suggests that cooking led to what eventually became marriage and the sexual division of labor. The two most helpful reviews at Amazon get into great detail. The reviews average to 4+ stars.
The etiology of most eating disorders can be exceedingly complex, but nearly always involves significant key nutrient deficiencies. You may well benefit from the quality nutrition you will receive through this dietary approach. However we strongly advise that you seek help and support from a knowledgeable healthcare professional familiar with your personal circumstances before you embark upon this program, and also to have that professional closely monitor your progress throughout the program.
“I think there are a lot of positives about it,” Holley says. “It cuts out a lot of processed foods just naturally, like processed grains or added sugar through soft drinks or juice.” And because the diet promotes eating anti-inflammatory foods — like fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats in nuts and certain oils — your health could benefit, Holley explains. Cutting out processed foods and sugar will also help lower your risk of certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, she says. (6)
But human populations in different regions of the world ate a variety of diets. Some ate more; some ate less. They likely ate meat only when they could get it, and then they gorged. Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, says diets from around the world ranged greatly in the percentage of calories from meat. It’s not cooked meat that made us human, he says, but rather cooked food.
We have been lied to all our lives and told to eat plenty of whole grains and low fat. Grains have been genetically modified for so long and its effects on the human body have never been tested. Following the Paleo Diet principles have changed my life and helped me lose 37 pounds effortlessly. My health has vastly improved and I no longer have uncontrollable junk food cravings. I didn't know the cravings could be stopped, I just assumed I had no will power. My Doctor recommended this diet and I can't thank him enough! If you follow this way of living you will never regret it so buy this book and improve you health now!
For immediate weight loss, Paleo is a great and healthy solution. But after carefully reading and considering, I’m unconvinced that Paleo is optimal for long-term health. I think, in fact, it might lead to heart disease and other ills associated with heavy meat consumption. Although many of Cordain’s theories fall apart long-term, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend the book. You should read critically and decide for yourself.
Another consideration is the mother's immunity and gut health (during pregnancy) and the gut health of the baby once born. Some research is now suggesting a Paleo-based diet may help autoimmune conditions and improve the underlying imbalance of gut micro-flora. The gut micro-flora has significant effects on gut and immune function. Some research is also suggesting that babies are more resilient to infection when their mothers (and therefore themselves) have less gut/allergy issues.
But the Paleo diet bans more than just highly processed junk foods—in its most traditional form, it prohibits any kind of food unavailable to stone age hunter–gatherers, including dairy rich in calcium, grains replete with fiber, and vitamins and legumes packed with protein. The rationale for such constraint—in fact the entire premise of the Paleo diet—is, at best, only half correct. Because the human body adapted to life in the stone age, Paleo dieters argue—and because our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since then, they say—we should emulate the diets of our Paleo predecessors as closely as possible in order to be healthy. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other "modern" diseases, the reasoning goes, result primarily from the incompatibility of our stone age anatomy with our contemporary way of eating.

1. Crispy Plantains With Garlic Sauce: A staple of Caribbean cuisine, plantains are delicious fried or mashed. Ripe ones look similar to bananas and can be used in sweet dishes, while green ones mash and crisp up nicely. In this recipe, green plantains are parboiled, smashed and pan-fried, so the center remains soft while the edges provide crunch. The accompanying garlic-lime dipping sauce is sinfully delicious. (via Wellfed) 
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