There was a time when there was almost no diabetes. Morbid obesity simply did not exist and no-one had heard of heart disease or cancer. This time was the Paleolithic period which ended some 12,000 years ago. Our ancestors from this time were taller, stronger, more muscular and less fat than modern man. However we are genetically almost identical to these Paleolithic people. So what has caused this huge difference? The answer is diet.
The Paleolithic period ended with the discovery of farming. Up until that time man had lived as hunter gatherers. They found their food by foraging for berries and nuts in the forest, hunting game on the plains and catching fish in the sea. Food came from natural sources and was always seasonal. With the discovery of farming everything changed. The domestication of animals and plants led to a diet based around grains and an increase of dairy. Nowadays, wheat and rice tend to dominate modern mankind’s’ diet. Many of the diseases of civilization we suffer today can be traced back to diet changes. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic acne and obesity all started to become more prevalent with the huge diet changes that have occurred since humans started farming. Mankind is facing a crisis. Millions of people are obese and suffering from diseases caused by a poor diet and lifestyle. Now more and more people are looking to our Paleolithic past for answers to our modern day problems.
The Paleo diet is extremely good for weight loss. Those who follow it tend to shed excess weight quickly and if they stick to it can develop hard lean bodies. The Paleo diet is a low carbohydrate diet, but unlike the Atkins diet, large amounts of fruit and vegetables are encouraged. In fact the Paleo diet is extremely healthy and has been encouraged by many health professionals and nutritionists.
So what exactly is the Paleo diet? What foods are allowed and what foods are banned?
· Meat (preferably organic and lean cuts)
· Nuts (not all)
Non Paleo foods;
· Grains (rice, wheat, oats, barley, corn)
· Processed foods
· Legumes (beans and lentils)
· Potatoes and other starchy root vegetables
One of the best things about the Paleo diet is that you can eat a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods. There is no need to deprive your body of essential nutrients and unlike some diets there is no need to take vitamin or mineral supplements. The Paleo diet is fantastic for weight loss. However some people find the diet difficult to stick to. The main reason for people failing on this diet is that they do not have enough ideas for recipes. Modern humans are so used to our meals being based around some sort of starch; rice, potatoes or pasta that it does take some fairly large adjustments. Personally I would recommend investing in a good quality Paleo cookbook. The chance of succeeding on this diet will be substantially increased if you have a wealth of tasty and simple meal ideas at your fingertips. This is especially important in the early stages of the diet when you may not be used to cooking in this style. Please see the resource box below for recommended cookbooks.
So what are the benefits of the Paleo diet?
· Dramatic weight loss
· Increased energy levels
· Optimum health
The Paleo diet is suitable for everyone. It can help you achieve your weight goals in a safe and healthy way. It is a gluten free diet so as such is suitable for people with celiac disease.