In case you’ve missed it, there’s been a huge amount of talk recently about the ‘Paleo Diet’. But what is a ‘Paleo Diet’ and what are the benefits? This is not some faddish diet that will last 5 seconds, although some principles of the Paleo Diet were part of the famous Atkins diet. The name ‘Paleo’ comes from the word ‘Paleolithic’. A ‘Paleo Diet’ is one based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit and excluding dairy or cereal products and (of course) processed food. In this diet, if a cave man couldn’t eat it, neither can you.
Despite the amazing advances in medicine in the last hundred years, we are just beginning to understand how our bodies really work. As with anything, everything old is new again, and I suppose this thinking is yet another example.
As discussed in my article ‘You’re Only 10% Human‘ I discussed the relationship between our health and the microbes in our microbiomes, which comprise 90% of the entire genetic material in our bodies. Microbes were the first life to appear on Earth in our primordial oceans (believed by some to be about 2.5 to 3 billion years ago). To this day, humans (and surely all life on this planet) have a symbiotic relationship with these creatures that affects our health in ways that we are only beginning to understand.
In recent years, the practice of industrial food production has created all kinds of shelf-stable foods that allow businesses to ships ‘food’ (using the term loosely) to people all over the world. This has been a fine example of a ‘better living through chemistry’ experiment that makes all those globalists out there giddy with excitement. Problem is, the experiment has been on you and me and the price that has been paid is our health.
As discussed at ‘PaleoLeap‘, before the Agricultural Revolution, humans would have eaten “animal foods, wild vegetables (things that could have been found regionally), fruits in season, along with limited amounts of nuts and 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.”
PaleoLeap compiled a succinct roadmap for adopting a Paleo-centric diet (which they refer to as ‘Paleo Diet 101‘). Below I have highlighted each of the 15 guidelines recommended for adopting a Paleo-centric diet and added additional thoughts on why these things are good for you.
- A PALEO DIET should be:
- High in fat. I know this sounds a little bit crazy and contradictory to everything we’ve been told in recent years, but in fact your body thrives on healthy fat. Of course you want to be eating the right kinds of fat, which we talk about more below.
- Moderate in animal protein. xx
- Low to moderate in carbohydrates. Personally I feel that low is better than moderate, and you just need a strategy for how to eat without carbs.
- Calorie counting is not encouraged.
- Portion control is not encouraged. Eat when you’re hungry. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry.
- Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet may seem counter-intuitive to someone wanting to lose weight (well, particularly the high-fat part). It also flies in the face of everything we’ve ever been told or taught, but there are a few reasons why. First, fat is satiating (it fills you up), and far more than say crusty bread. As a result, eating a diet that is high on good fat and low in carbs makes it difficult to over-eat. Second, eating dietary fat while staying away from carbohydrates allows your body to access fat for energy (essentially your body starts consuming the fat on your body for energy, which is why it is there in the first place). It should be noted that eating fat with carbohydrates does not allow you to benefit from this fat-burning and will just make you fatter, so be careful not to cheat. In fact, it is apparently easy to over-eat when eating fat with carbs (haven’t tried it so I can’t give you any personal insight here).
- In case you’re scratching your head over this one, eating a high-fat low-carb diet will not clog your arteries and give you a heart attack. Clogged arteries that lead to heart attacks (or ‘Atherosclerosis’) are caused by ‘Oxidized LDL’ particles penetrating the arterial wall, inciting inflammation, and damaging the arterial tissue.
- Benefits of this diet include “a loss of weight, a gain in muscle, an increase in energy levels and just generally looking and feeling healthier” (according to the article titled “Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond)” from Mark’s Daily Apple). Now, I am not just parroting this view. I am living it firsthand right now as I have adopted a high-fat, low-carb diet and can attest to the fact that these benefits do result and quite quickly.
- EAT GENEROUS AMOUNTS OF SATURATED FATS. These include:
- Coconut oil. Cocount is a magical food, as I discussed in this past article.
- Butter or clarified butter. You really want to get butter from grass-fed cows. Otherwise they are likely to come from CAFOs and the rubbish they feed those poor animals, including antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals, will seep into your body through butter made from sick cows.
- Beef tallow, lard and duck fat are also good, but only if they come from healthy and well-treated animals.
- Olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil are also good fats to use in salads and to drizzle over food, but not for cooking.
- EAT GOOD AMOUNTS OF ANIMAL PROTEIN. Don’t be afraid to eat the fatty cuts. All meals with proteins
- Red Meat. xxx
- Poultry. xxx
- Pork. xxx
- Eggs. xxx
- Organs (liver, kidney, heart, …). xxx
- Wild Caught Fish.