What is the Paleo Diet?
What is the Paleo diet?
Paleo Nutrition - The Hunter-Gatherer Diet
The next collection of words will spark questions that most of us have probably never asked ourselves.
Our modern day nutritional therapists, dieticians etc. all seem to tell us an atrocious amount of different diets we should eat. They differ highly on what percentage of proteins, carbohydrates and fats we should have, leaving us all confused about what we are supposed to be eating. Why so diverse? The reason is that we have forgotten who we are as a species and what we genetically require to express health.
What are we designed to eat? This is a question we have seldom asked ourselves but one that could prevent the chronic illnesses that humans are suffering from today. We are now the sickest species in existence and yet we promote ourselves as being the most advanced. How can this be?
One answer is the way we eat. In order to understand this we must remember that humans are and have always been hunter-gatherers. This means in order to eat, we would hunt around the land to eat whatever food the land could provide us. Consequently, Meat, Fish, Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds would have made the natural human diet for all of time. That is until around 500 years ago when the agricultural revolution changed everything. With this came the ability to create "man-made" foods, and decrease the use of naturally occurring, genetically required foods. Humans have now been exposed to foods such as milk, cheese, pasta, bread, processed foods etc. And guess what, the rate of illness has increased as the natural human diet has been forgotten.
If our genes are virtually unchanged over the past millennia, then why are we now eating and living a completely different way to how we have always done? Ask yourself a simple question. Do you think humans would naturally have gone around sucking the teet of a cow to obtain the milk that is genetically designed for a baby calf? What other species in the world does anything similar to that?
Virtually all these "new foods" are high in omega-6 fatty acids of which the vast majority are pro-inflammatory and therefore promote diseases such as diabetes, Cancer, heart disease, bowel disease etc. Anthropologists can actually tell whether the skeletons they examine are from pre or post agricultural revolution based on how diseased the skeletons are. The healthier skeletons are the ones that ate the natural diet.
I know many of you will be saying, "I've had milk, cheese, bread etc. my whole life and I've had no problems". "The human species lives longer now than it has ever done right?” Intelligent questions. Unfortunately whether you express symptoms or not, the damaging metabolism sparked by these "new foods" is happening regardless.
Let's use an example to explain this. You take a drug such as beta-blockers (drugs for problems such as those of the heart). This drug has a host of side-effects, such as problems breathing. Why? The drug effects "Beta receptors" found in the heart. But guess what, these receptors are also found in the lungs. So although your lungs are fine, when you take this drug, the drug will have to affect your lungs as it cannot distinguish between the receptors on the heart and lung. Now not everyone who takes beta-blockers has lung problems, but everyone who takes the beta-blocker has to have some involvement within the lungs whether they notice it or not. The same goes for food. You eat something that can be bad for you, it doesn't mean you're going to die, but you will be accumulating the "bad" effects in you at some level.
In terms of us living longer, let's stop and question that statement. What is making us live longer?
Answers would be, clean water, better sanitation, decreased threat from predators, ability to survive trauma with the work of surgery. These would all have had a massive effect on the length we lived in the past. As these threats have decreased in the modern world, we undoubtedly have the ability to live longer. Think about it, babies being born in conditions of poor water and sanitation would and did make mortality rate in the young much greater. When that happens, the average life expectancy of a species drops considerably. Regardless of whether most people are living into their 90s, the average life expectancy will drop into the 60s and 70s for example, with a child dying. So if we think we live longer now based on average populations of before and now, are we really? If we have advanced that much, why are we sicker than we have ever been before? Another part of this is, "if" we are living longer, are we actually living a longer quality of life? Go to some hospital wards and make that decision yourself.
... "Is nutrition everything? Of course not. Can people get problems such as chronic illnesses even with eating a great diet? Of course they can" ...
Chronic illness is in essence a result of stress, be it stress from thinking negatively, exercising poorly, or yes eating badly. There is not enough word space to motivate/confuse/anger you further but simply try this. Try a natural human diet for 30 days and see how you feel. If you notice no change, then go back to the way you ate before. If you choose not to do this, then simply just try to make sure the natural diet is your core diet even if you do have pizza with it. You will already be healthier in doing so. I recommend "The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain", "The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain" and "The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolfe" for recipe ideas and answers to your questions.
As always, the choice is ours, but we must make sure we direct our questions well and not just accept what we are told. In doing so, we are more able to understand what choices we should make.
Credits: Ben Scott & Nicole Scott (pictures) As featured in Superstoked Surfing Magazine #2.
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