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Why Following the Paleo Diet Can Improve Your Health by Eating Real, Honest, Nutritious Food?
What does paleo mean?
Paleolithic (or paleo) diet means imitating the diet of cavemen from the Old Stone Age. To understand what people ate at that time, we need to take an imaginary trip to the Paleolithic era (~ 2.5 million – 10 thousand years ago). This was the time when humanity slowly evolved into Homo sapiens (Latin for knowing man), almost modern humans as we know them today anatomically, socially and behaviorally. This period covers over 99% of human prehistory.
How did people live during the Paleolithic era?
Although researchers don’t always agree on exactly how people lived and what they ate or when major changes occurred, there is considerable overlap. During this time people gathered what was available and hunted wild animals. They lived in small groups in a nomadic lifestyle following the herds. They used simple tools made of stone, wood, bone and leather.
Different sources cite different timelines, but scientists assume that human ancestors also hunted animals with wooden spears over 5 million years ago, began making stone tools 2.5 million years ago, and began using fire perhaps 1.9 million years ago. .
What did the cavemen eat?
As previously mentioned, cavemen lived in a hunter-gatherer society. Their diet varied by geographic area and climate and varied by season, but the main sources were lean meat from game, fish, insects, fruits (mainly berries), all kinds of greens, seeds, nuts, and water. Most food was eaten fresh, raw and raw. Humans are omnivores, meaning we are able to digest a diet mixed with plant and animal sources.
When did everything change and what was the impact on our diet?
AROUND 10 thousand years ago the beginning of agriculture enabled mankind to create a more settled way of life. This period is called Neolithic. Around this time, people began to grow grains, and with the development of pottery they could store and transport food easily.
approximately 5-6 thousand years ago humans began to domesticate animals and as a result consume milk and milk products. Living in a country was certainly less physically demanding than the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. On the other hand, it also had its disadvantages. This era has seen the onset of several diseases (especially heart disease and allergies) as we began to consume lower and less nutritious foods.
With the introduction of new types of food, the source of fat has also changed. We started eating more saturated fats from dairy and farmed animals (grains and corn) versus the omega-3-rich fats from fish and game before. Being able to store staples also meant consuming less fresh food.
This process has been accelerating ever since The industrial revolution refined grains, sugars and shelf life foods have become commonplace. Tall The last 50 years with the advent of fast food restaurants, our diet has changed even more dramatically as processed food is replacing fresh produce.
What’s wrong with change?
The human body does not always handle newly introduced foods well. Most researchers argue that the developments described above had a significant impact on the human diet to the detriment of our health.
The point is that even though we are genetically and anthropologically 99% identical to our ancestors, we are eating a completely different diet and our bodies cannot adequately catch up in less than 10 thousand (or 50!) years. Experts argue that this may be the root cause of a number of digestive and general health problems.
When you think about the impact the diet our ancestors followed for millions of years had on our anatomical development, the way our digestive system evolved cannot be an accident. If you imagine that the last 2.5 million years happened in one day, then the Paleolithic era lasted 23 hours and 54 minutes. The diet that the human body has been accustomed to during this time has changed dramatically in the last six minutes.
So what foods are allowed and what are forbidden on a paleo diet?
As a rule, think about what was and what was not available to cavemen. If the specific food existed over 10 thousand years ago, go for it. These foods are: game, fish, eggs, most vegetables, roots and many greens, nuts, seeds and most fruits. When you think of meat, farmed animals should ideally be fed a natural diet ie: grass instead of corn or grain and not raised. Also, most foods should be eaten raw or fresh in their natural state.
On the other hand, people during the Stone Age certainly did not eat processed foods, refined sugar, any food with added sugar or salt, additives, food colors, sweeteners or anything artificial. Cereals, dairy products, pulses were also not available or widely consumed as they are indigestible without cooking. Starchy tubers such as potatoes are also on the list of forbidden foods according to most authors.
How long did the cavemen live?
It may seem a contradiction to say that by following the above diet, today’s men can live longer. The lifespan of Stone Age men was no more than 25-30 years; however they were more exposed to extremes of weather and wildlife than we are today. They had no access to health care or medicine and many died from simple injuries or disease. Moreover, they did not enjoy the convenience of having a refrigerator or a grocery store next door, they had to search and fight for every meal. However, what proponents of the paleo diet say is that if you eat what our ancestors ate and live an active lifestyle, you have the best chance of achieving optimal body function, improved well-being and health.
How realistic is it to follow a caveman diet today?
According to some researchers approximately 60-70% of the food we eat today was not available during the Stone Age. This means that if you try to switch to the paleo diet, you should be determined and consider it a lifestyle change. Some people are better at adapting gradually or having a ‘day off’ each week when getting used to a new diet. Some are better off completely removing all restricted foods from day one. I myself support moderation. I say know yourself, watch your body, learn and adapt accordingly. Good luck!
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