[This is part of the Paleo Diet Series]
So I know, I’ve been going on and on about the Paleo diet and how it transformed my body, energy, and well being. I realized as much as I talk about it that I haven’t blogged about the nuts and bolts of what it is. So this is the start of my new series: “The Paleo Diet”.
I’m currently reading The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf (If you didn’t know but Robb Wolf is the one that popularized the Paleo Diet recently). And everything I say or explain about the diet is based on this book.
What Paleo Diet?
Paleo Diet stands for paleolithic diet. Which is also known as the caveman diet, hunter and gatherer diet, or stone age diet. This diet is thought that during the Paleolithic Era that humans ate a diet based on eating wild plants and animals.
But if you adapt the paleo diet to modern times, it consists of grass-fed meats, wild fish, vegetables, fruit, tubers (root foods) and nuts. It excludes consuming grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.
The person that was responsible to bringing this diet to light was a gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin in the 1970s.
What’s the Big Hubbub About Paleo Diet?
According to Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution”, You can talk to any anthropologist and ask them “What is the single most important event in all of human history? What changed things, for good or ill, more than any other event or occurence?”
They will say it is the agricultural revolution.
It’s the result of over-consuming refined carbohydrates (which the agricultural revolution allows) that gives us health problems. Anthropologist will say that our ancient ancestors were taller than today’s people, free of any cavities, bone malformations, and degenerative diseases like cancer and diabetes. If you give an ancient skeleton to any forensic scientist or medical anthropologist, they can tell you within minutes if they were a hunter/gatherer or agriculturalist based on their dental cavities, bone malformations, and general poor health of early farmers.
They believe the hunters/gatherers were generally healthier based on their diet, fitness based on foraging, and having a lot of downtime and relaxation.
The proven examples it mentions was the case study in Nutritional Anthropology: Contemporary Approaches to Diet and Culture on the Native American tribes that lived in the Ohio River valley. One tribe were farmers (Hardin Village) and the other was hunter-gatherers (Indian Knoll). The Hardin Village Indians subsisted on corn, beans, and squash while the Indian Knolls subsisted on a diet of wild meat, wild fruits, fish, and shell fish. The differences in health between the two groups are:
- Indian Knolls showed almost no cavities, where as the farmers showed almost 7 cavities on an average person.
- Indian Knolls show significantly less bone malformations consistent with malnutrition. That is the Indian Knolls were much better fed.
- The Indian Knolls showed a remarkably lower rate of infant mortality relative to farmers. The most significant difference was between the ages two and four when malnutrition is particularly damaging to children.
- The Indian Knolls were, on average, healthier, as evidenced by decreased rates of bone malformations typical of infectious disease.
- The Indian Knolls on average lived longer than the farmers.
- The Indian Knolls showed little to no sign of iron, calcium, and protein deficiencies, whereas this was common in the farmers.
Anthropologist reasoning is that for 120,000 years humans were hunters and gatherers. It was only in the last 10,000 years that we turned more into agriculture. Our genetics is virtually identical to our ancient human ancestors and biologically we were not meant to consume grains.
This is it for part one. Do you like what you read so far? Then watch out for the continuation of “The Paleo Diet” series.