What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet (abbreviation for Paleolithic diet) is a diet which is inspired by the manner in which our ancestors ate. More specifically, it is inspired by our ancestors from the Paleolithic age (approximately 2,600,000 to 10,000 years ago).
Scientific research shows that the human genome has only evolved 0.01% in the most recent 10,000 years.
Our eating habits have however changed multiple times, now including many products that our 99.99% still Paleolithic genetic build-up was never supposed to eat! The basic assumption of the Paleo diet is that the by eating the foods that our body is supposed to eat, healthyness and quality of life increases.
Research shows that 70% of the average caloric intake of an American family is from products that were never around for our Paleolithic ancestors.
In a nutshell: we are eating the wrong foods and we suffering the consequence. Obesity, lack of energy and many other diseases of our time are a likely result.
It makes sense that in order to have an optimal diet, the foods must be optimally suited to our genetically determined needs.
An example of how people on paleolithic foods thrive can be seen from numerous encounters between western settlers and native peoples who still eat according to diets very similar to the diet of our ancestors. Here is an example from Captain Cook’s encounter with the Maori:
1772; Captain Cook speaking of the New Zealand Maori:
“ ... strange that these people enjoy perfect and uninterrupted... health...we never saw a single person who appeared to have any bodily complaint...the great number of old men that we saw. . . . appeared to be very ancient , yet none of them were decrepit; and though not equal to the young in muscular strength, were not a whit behind them in cheerfulness and vivacity..."
Off course it is true that our Paleolithic ancestors were widespread, who all ate foods from within a range of available resources. There are however universal characteristics that scientists agree upon.
Basic foods of the Paleo Diet
- Wild, lean, animal foods rich in protein and fats (not to be confused with todays fats) such as Fish and seafood, eggs, fowl
- Nonstarchy vegetables with low carbouhydrates like nuts, roots & berries
The paleolitic people were hunter gatherers, meaning that products like grain were missing. Modern man eats much more grain than our genetic profile was adapted to.
It is also clear that the paleolithic people did not have salt. Our current diets are filled with salt.
Results of the Paleo Diet:
Huge increase in vitamins & huge decrease in toxins!