The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of the Paleo Diet
With very few exceptions, most people would agree that we have come a long way since the time of our caveman ancestors. We have more knowledge, technology, and modes of transportation. We certainly have improved weapons (although it probably would have been entertaining to carry a club everywhere you went, just in case someone needed a good beating.) While these differences definitely work in our favor in the modern world, some medical experts are arguing that we have actually taken a giant step backwards in terms of food and nutrition.
Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D, has created the Paleo Diet. He named this diet after the Paleolithic Era, or the Stone Age. Cordain argues that the hunter-gatherers of the past were really onto something with their way of eating. The fact that these folks never put a Twinkie or Macaroni and Cheese past their lips helped keep them healthy and alive, while it tends to hamper our modern-day health and happiness. So what exactly is this Paleo Diet, and what is involved?
The “Do’s” of the Paleo (also known as the Caveman) Diet include fresh meats. Preferably, the meats are grass-produced. They should include free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat. The other large food groups that go into this diet are fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils. Basically, it comes down to whatever the cavemen could hunt and gather. These, Cordain argues, are the “musts” for a healthy, worthwhile lifestyle.
The “Don’ts” pretty much include everything else. And unfortunately, that “everything else” is sometimes all we Western World humans like to eat. These include dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refines sugars, and processed (usually way too much) foods. Often, we are so busy or worried about other things that we hardly realize what we are actually consuming. These foods may be the bulk of our daily diets, which Cordain argues, leads to a life filled with disease and sadness.
So why should someone give the Paleo Diet a try? It can drastically reduce a slew of diseases, which are all quite common in today’s Western society. These diseases include Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Autoimmune Diseases, Osteoporosis, Myopia, Depression, and even infertility, just to name a few. In addition, this type of healthy eating takes off those extra pounds most everyone seems to be packing around these days. With obesity on the rise, many individuals quickly turn to fad diets in order to lose the extra weight. However, the Paleo Diet helps individuals eat natural foods, or as Cordain would say, foods Mother Nature has provided. It is high in soluble fiber and several other nutrients that are imperative to good health. And finally, this type of eating increases one’s happiness and overall mood. Eating healthy in this way can create a natural “high.” Basically, the overall quality of one’s life can be improved by a healthier lifestyle like this one.
Dr. Cordain argues that this way of eating is the “world’s healthiest diet.” So if you’re looking for a nutritional change, you might want to consider giving it a try.
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Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health and fitness. She occasionally freelance writes for Six Nutrition, a men’s vitamin company. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.