If you were going to identify the diet that most suited the human being it would be the diet that they call ‘The Paleo Diet’. Simply put it means that the foods contained in the diet are the ones that best suit your body and the ones that your DNA is programmed for.
The diet started with our ancestors who were hunter gatherers. It comprises of the types of foods that have been consumed by humans since we first appeared on the planet over 1,000,000 years ago. That diet remained much the same until agriculture was invented and – only ten thousand years ago. Now, many foods early man would have eaten are no longer in existence. The Diet has been designed to mimic our ancestors diet but did not rely on animal husbandry, agricultural production or processing of foods, all of which have been relatively recent additions to the history of what we eat.
Lauren Cordain is considered to be the original creator of the diet, although he is at pains to point out that he did not create the diet but rather adapted it from its original creator – nature! He and other experts in this field have, he maintains, merely revealed the scientific basis of this diet.
Compare our modern Western diet to this diet and the differences between the two are vast. The food contained within our typical Western diet our food said have only existed for the last one to two hundred years. The Western diet relies a lot on:
- refined sugars
- vegetable oils
- refined flour (introduced in the latter part of the 1800s)
The fact is that probably 70% of the food that we eat in a typical Western diet has been introduced only in the few centuries gone by.
Those who have followed the diet report that they feel empowered as they eat lots of foods that are nutrient rich such as fruits, vegetables, seafood and lean meat. Part of the benefit comes from eliminating foods that are inflammatory such as refined sugars and oils, grains, processed food and dairy.
Anyone who has been a serial dieter will be able to attest to the fact that diets come and go with one fad rapidly replacing another. However, there is one diet that always remains and has stood the test of time and that is this diet. That is because this diet isn’t simply another a diet it’s an entire lifestyle change. It is a commitment that offers significant rewards in the way that you feel and in the motivation it gives, as you notice the improvement in your general health. Medical professionals also support the data of those who have followed and benefited from this diet. This is a lifestyle choice, not a fad.
There is also evidence that is increasing and that strongly supports the fact that the diet offers broader emotional, physical and metabolic effects, helping with mental health problems and autoimmune disorders. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties there will be few chronic conditions that will not respond favourably.
Let’s check out the benefits on the principles of this diet
Food to nourish your DNA
Your body will always crave food that the human being has evolved to nourish itself with.
Improving the density of nutrients
This diet features an abundance of foods that are nutrient dense including salmon and blueberries and fresh leafy green vegetables. In contrast to this, typically a Western diet contains bulky foods such as dairy products, grains and cereals as well as high fat content meat, none of which has any real nutritional depth. They also contain a lot of calories so when they are cut out of your diet it means replacing them. The diet offers foods that are packed and dense in phytochemicals and minerals and as well as essential vitamins.
Focus on eating healthy foods and don’t concentrate on macronutrients
When you follow this diet, then focusing on ratios of macronutrients which is a measurement of how much carbohydrate compared to protein you’re eating, becomes redundant. This is a diet that’s based on what our ancestors fed themselves. Societies of hunter gatherers who lived nearer the equator tended to eat more carbohydrates while populations living north ate more fat and protein. The ancestral diet was also subject to seasonal change so that meant that the ratios of macronutrients would fluctuate at various times during the year. In fact, to concentrate on macronutrient ratios goes against a main tenet of the diet; to eat healthy foodstuffs rather than concerning oneself about the relative intake of protein and fat compared to carbohydrates. Eating a healthy diet that features natural foods will lead to high protein intake and lower carbohydrate reliance then we see in a Western diet.
Stop those diet sabotaging cravings
Giving your body what it needs with regard to food will help to reduce those hunger pangs significantly. This is done by stabilising insulin fluctuation and as a result glycaemic control is improved, a great boost for anyone suffering from diabetes. Even although simple sugars, as we all know, are very calorie rich, they have the ability to induce hunger pangs which then puts you into a sugar craving vicious cycle.
When you follow this diet the overall calories that you consume will be much less but at the same time your body will get the nutrients that it needs and you will avoid dips and spikes in your levels of energy. There are three major benefits from this:
- energy that is consistent
- elimination of your cravings
- better control of your weight
Reducing those energy dips
On this diet you will be eating foods that carry a lower glycaemic load. This actually is a measurement of how your food is going to impact your insulin and blood sugar. With this diet you will always be eating foods that have a lower glycaemic load.
Eating more natural plant foods
Following this diet means that you will be eating more raw foods, and much less processed food. That means reliance on greater amounts of fruits, lean meats, vegetables, seeds, eggs coma fish and a small portions of nuts. Another common myth about this diet is it relies on meat as it the main source of nutrition. This is not the case. Although this is not a vegetarian diet, it is plant based in the main.
By the very nature of the diet, you will eat more foods in their raw form, and fewer processed foods. That means large amounts of vegetables, fruits, seeds and lean meat.
Improving your ratios of key nutrients
Some ratios are very crucial to our health and this diet will balance those ratios, according to how our bodies are designed.
Let’s take the example of the potassium sodium ratio which, if you follow a typical Western diet, will be at around 10:1. The problem is however, that for optimum healthy operation of our bodies this ratio should be more like 1:2. The fact is that neither sea salt nor any type of added salt feature in this diet. Where sodium consumption is high the result is an elevated acid loading in our bodies. High acid loading can lead to many negative effects on health. One effect that has been researched is that having too much sodium in the diet can result in the development of osteoporosis. Another ratio that is key is the calcium-magnesium ratio that can also have a major effect on health. This is a diet that will help to maintain the balance between these essential nutrients.
Eating the correct fatty acid ratios
For many years it was thought that a diet low in fat the healthiest diet. It was thought that if fat of any kind was eaten cholesterol would be elevated and heart disease would follow. Nowadays this way of thinking has been debunked, in the main. Rather than fat in general, it is the type of fat that determines whether it is good for you or not. Ratios of Omega three fatty acids to Omega six are particularly important and as this diet is based on fresh lean meat, fish, healthy vegetables and fruits, it offers the best possible ratio.
Improving the balance of acid-base
The Western diet will be acidic. Higher potassium to sodium ratios contribute strongly to the imbalance. This kind of diet is high in acid and induces inflammation and will contribute to osteoporosis. It is interesting that there is no calcium supplementation that is recommended to aid osteoporosis, however increasing consumption of potassium through eating vegetables, definitely can.
Anti-nutrients – eliminated
Grains like quinoa and wheat have many antinutrients that include lectins and saponins. The tiny molecules that they are made-up of are very skilled at side stepping intestinal defence mechanisms and at opening the junction’s within your gut. Indeed, they can make you extremely ill if you each then raw. Cooking these grains will get rid of most but certainly not all these antinutrients and here is where they cause a more serious problem because over time they can the onset of inflammatory diseases caused by chronic inflammation can occur, like cancer and autoimmune illnesses. Following this diet means that any food that have high levels of antinutrients are eliminated.
Finally, feel free and invigorated, every day!
As you progress with you lifechanging diet, the whole process and become enlightened an informed the food you eat and the health you gain from great food choices will give you a real sense of peace and joy. That is because the diet will stabilise you not only physically but emotionally as well. Once again you will feel playful and confident as the results of this amazing new way of life give you more rewards every day. This is not a fad diet and you can embrace it fully because it is realistic powerful and has longevity. At first you will need to be patient because the Rome wasn’t built in a day, but as you notice the small improvements that come day on day and week on week you’ll be hooked and liberated, for life!