Categorized | Nutrition

The Paleo Diet

Posted on 25 May 2011 by Doctor_L

I teach my patients the Paleo Diet (aka The Cave Man Diet) It is
based on nutritional values existing in Paleolithic times. The primary
reason for this is that humans evolved genetically as a successful species
in Paleolithic times. This was about 100,000 years ago. Our genetics
have not changed significantly since then. We are genetically the same
as Paleolithic Man, yet we live in a drastically different environment.
The biggest differences revolve around food, toxic exposure and stress.

If we compare our food to that of Paleolithic times, the most significant
difference is the volume of “man made” food we ingest compared to
our forefathers. Every food that comes in a bag or a box is usually man
made. This includes all bakery products and dairy products. So that
means these foods did not exist in Paleolithic times. We have created
them.

There are many reasons for this food evolution. And the history
of food is fascinating. But all that aside, what has happened to our
nutritional foundation is that we eat far more dense starchy carbs than
ever before. The big problem with this is that it causes our blood sugar
to go up. Our “Paleolithic bodies” were never designed to metabolize
the large amount of carbohydrates we are now ingesting. So therefore
when we do, these excess carbohydrates are converted into sugar by
our body and since we are not physically active enough to utilize the
sugar, it doesn’t get burned off as fuel resulting in it being converted
into fat.

It gets worse than this. A high sugar load (glycemic load) in our
bodies also triggers an inflammatory cascade through the interaction
between insulin (the hormone that lowers sugar levels) and cortisol
(our primary stress hormone). So the result of eating too many carbs
and sugar is inflammation which is responsible for virtually every
disease including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
stroke, autoimmune disease and arthritis.

According to Wikipedia, “Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise
that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic

ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn
of agriculture, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-
being is one that resembles this ancestral diet. Furthermore, Centered
on commonly available modern foods, the ‘contemporary’ Paleolithic
diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts;
and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and
processed oils.”

Wheat, grains and dairy based foods are considered “ modern” foods.
They came into being about 7,000-10,000 years ago when man learned
how to cultivate land, harvest crops, mill wheat into flour, bake bread, and
domesticate cattle, goats and sheep. Wheat berries in their natural state
are inedible. Paleolithic man never ate wheat or dairy. Milk is a food that
supports mammals only during infancy. No mammalian species drinks milk
or eats milk products after infancy. And no animal drinks milk from another
animal, except man. Dairy was unobtainable until man learned how to
make an animal stand still long enough to milk it (domesticated farm
animals). Paleolithic man was never capable of obtaining milk from a wild
animal.

So we were already a successful species for over 70,000 years
before we began to ingest wheat and dairy products. The prevalence and
frequency of many diseases of modern man can be directly linked to the
development of “modern“ food, or “foods of affluence”. It is interesting to
note that there are cultures that eat a plant based ‘paleostyle’ diet where
heart attacks are so rare, that they are reported in the local newspaper
when they occur. Now think about that! We have become so accustomed
to people having heart attacks it is considered “normal” or acceptable.
Likewise with the numbers of cancers we see.

We have become accepting of the diseases we are afflicted with, just as we have become accepting of the “artificial diet” we are eating. Can you imagine what would happen to our economy if we shut down the dairy and wheat industries in this country? Our government subsidizes these industries when they are not doing well. In other words, our tax dollars are used to support a food industry that is making us sick! Unfortunately the very same tax dollars that will now also be used to pay our health care bills. (Don’t get me going with the politics of food).

It is the same with beef and the cattle industry. Paleolithic man never had
the opportunity to eat the massive volume of meat and animal products we
consume today. Think about how abundant meat is in the grocery stores.
Paleolithic man was lucky if he could track and kill an animal once every
few weeks. It was a lean, wild, grass fed animal with very little body fat.
And, he had to expend a tremendous amount of his physical energy to get
it. Our meat today comes from animals that do nothing all day but stand
still eating artificial feedstock, loaded with hormones and antibiotics. Some
of these unfortunate animals(like veal) are prevented from walking their entire lives. Our meat is heavily laden with the unhealthiest type of fat. And
we eat it frequently. Additional modern foods to avoid that are critically linked to disease are
refined sugar and alcohol. It is no surprise that our food is making us sick.

When we change our eating habits to follow the diet that we are genetically
designed to eat, all health parameters improve. Cholesterol comes down
without having to take toxic drugs. Blood sugar comes down. Weight
comes down. Blood pressure comes down. And most importantly,
inflammation goes away. We feel better, have more energy, have better
libido and our brain function improves.

You will see that this diet is based mostly on plant material, roots, nuts,
seeds,fruit and a small amount of lean animal protein. Simply put, when
you consider eating something, first think to yourself “was this food
available 100,000 years ago?” If your answer is “No”, Don’t eat it !
It is not complicated. It is not “Rocket Science”. It is simply getting back
to our Paleolithic Genetic foundation, and eating food our bodies were
designed to function optimally on. I call this ‘Functional Nutrition”.
By eating this style of diet virtually every disease known to man can be
avoided. Let’s really enjoy our food; food designed to give us abundant energy and
radiant health.

EAT INTELLIGENTLY !

EAT HEALTHILY !

EAT PALEOLITHICALLY !

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