Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Paleolithic Diet

You won't believe this but among us there are races of people who are all slim, stronger and faster than us. They have perfect vision and perfectly straight teeth. Diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer and arthritis are nonexistent for them. These people make up the last tribes of hunter-gatherers in our world. They share a commonality that is over two million years old – their diet.

This is a diet that has not changed from the very first humans some 2 million years ago. They live off a diet that man has evolved on, a diet coded for in our genes, a diet your body wants you to eat. This diet is known to as the Paleolithic Diet and refers to the Stone Age era of time.

The diet covers all major dietary components (vitamins, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants etc.) for the simple reason that this diet is coded for in our genes. The diet contains only those foods that were 'on the plate' during our long evolution. It completely discards those which were not. Yes Mc Donald's comes to mind here.

The Basics

For millions of years, humans have eaten meat, fish, fowl and the leaves, roots and fruits of plants. An obstacle to getting more calories from the environment is the fact that many plants are inedible. Beans, grains and potatoes are full of energy but eating them raw WILL make you sick. They are toxic to the body.

About 10,000 years ago someone made a breakthrough. This breakthrough was to change the course of history and our diet forever. It was the discovery that cooking made the toxic plant foods edible. The heat killed the toxins and rendered the foods edible. Grains include wheat, corn, rice and oats. Grain based foods include flour, bread, noodles and pasta. These foods are not foods we are genetically coded for.

Why was the uptake in grains so substantial?

  • Cooked grains yielded enormous amounts of quick energy

  • Grains could be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration

  • The food was also the seed of the plant and was ready for farming again

  • Grains were calorie dense i.e. a small weight contains a lot of calories for easy transport

The above advantages made it much easier to store and transport food. Food could be stored easily for winter. Man was free to pursue other activities and not worry about eating e.g. building dwellings and fighting each other. This 'convenience' food then set course for our modern day civilisation. Today man has further improved on these advances by farming plants and animals albeit for monetary gains only. Now despite these advantages, our genes are not developed with beans, grains and potatoes of any sort. Our bodies are simply not in tune with them.

The dangers of grains

  • They are toxic when raw causing sickness if ingested raw

  • Cooking does not destroy all of the toxins but insufficient cooking still causes sickness

  • They are rich sources of carbohydrate. On cooking they become rapidly digestible giving a high Glycemic Index – sugar spike

The essentials of the Paleolithic Diet

Eat NONE of the following:

  • Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles

  • Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
  • Potatoes

  • Dairy products

  • Sugar

  • Salt

Eat the following:

  • Meat, chicken and fish

  • Eggs

  • Fruit

  • Vegetables (especially root vegetables, but definitely not including potatoes or sweet potatoes)

  • Nuts, eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. Do not eat peanuts (a bean) or cashews (a family of their own)

  • Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.

Try to increase your intake of:

  • Root vegetables- carrots, turnips, parsnips, swedes

  • Organ meats- liver and kidneys (I personally won't eat them couldn't stomach it)


ricestraw said...

Thanks god!
What should be eaten are what I like! ^^

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

But I really love oatmeal!

Dr. Art Ayers said...

There are a lot of valuable points, but I think I can keep eating my favorite plants, if we include domestication. Most of the plants that we eat have been disarmed. People gradually selected variants that were healthier. The paleolith had to browse to avoid eating too much of one nasty plant. We also have a good vomit reflex, when we eat too much bitter or if the food makes us dizzy.
What about the idea that agriculture makes us inflamed to protect us against all of the contagious diseases associated with high population density? Also notice that there is little vitamin C and that leads to inflammation because of low antioxidants.
Keep the discussions going!

Alida Cornelius said...

Rosso...thanks for your comment on my blog.
I have been thinking alot about the information you post and really, a raw diet is probably the best thing for people to eat.
It's odd that orthodox Hindu's do not believe in eating root vegetables.
What do you think about people eating raw meat?
I know some who think that is the only way to eat meat.

Alida Cornelius said...

Oh, and I think you may like this website.

Nicholas said...

So I really enjoy your blog, and I love your information and cooking tips about oils, but I think the paleo diet is kind of a marketing scheme. First of all, Science has shown, that are ancestors, did not choose what they ate, but they automatically chose what they could get there hands on, as many had to deal with famine crisis, they even ate there fair share of carbohdyrates, some would search for bee hives, gorging on glucose and fructose, in one sitting, because they knew it was so rare. I think one thing that does hold true is they ate no processed foods, and always ate veggies, meats , fruits in it's natural state. In the end, to attribute some magical, mystical, muscle building, fat reducing, disease preventing powers to the diets of the ancients is an oversimplification at best, and at worst, it is purposefully misleading people in an attempt to fleece them of their money. The paleo is a great healthy alternatie to the way we eat, but following exactly to the tee is misleading, exspecially dismissing extremely beneficial foods such as beans, or grains, but that doesnt mean we shoul over stuff are faces with grains, this is where the science comes for nutrient timing, exspecially of carbohydrates. But don't take my word for it, do some reasearch - here is a great article on it by John beardi CSCS, PH.D Nutrient Biochemistry and Biology, as well as Exercise science

joshCN said...

Nicholas i totally agree with what you said but the word 'our' is not spelt 'are', e.g. "but that doesnt mean we should over stuff OUR faces with grains"