What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. – Robb Wolf
For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.
With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet..
Building A Healthy Paleo Diet
Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.
Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat
Scientific research and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline.
Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective this questions can be nearly impossible to answer. In this paper Prof. Cordain looks at the amounts and types of saturated fats found in the ancestral diet: Saturated fat consumption in ancestral human diets: implications for contemporary intakes.
One of the greatest deviations away from our ancestral diet is the amounts and types of fat found in modern grain feed animals vs. the amounts and types of fats found in grass fed or wild meat, fowl and fish. What we observe is wild meat is remarkably lean, and has relatively low amounts of saturated fats, while supplying significant amounts of beneficial omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. In this paper Prof. Cordain and his team analyze the complete fatty acid profile from several species of wild deer and elk. The take home message is that free range meat is far healthier than conventional meat: Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease.
Which foods do you avoid?
All Grains, Pasteurized dairy, Soy, Legumes, Refined Sugar, and Alcohol
Why do you avoid healthy, whole grains?
Contrary to popular belief, whole grains are not so healthy to human beings. We simply have not adapted to be able to digest grains. Grains contain toxic anti-nutrients, lectins, gluten, and phytates, and we as human beings are not wired to be able to properly digest these anti-nutrients. To quote Mark Sisson:
“Lectins are bad. They bind to insulin receptors, attack the stomach lining of insects, bind to human intestinal lining, and they seemingly cause leptin resistance. And leptin resistance predicts a “worsening of the features of the metabolic syndrome independently of obesity”. Fun stuff, huh?
Gluten might be even worse. Gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley, is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Around 1% of the population are celiacs, people who are completely and utterly intolerant of any gluten. In celiacs, any gluten in the diet can be disastrous. We’re talking compromised calcium and vitamin D3 levels, hyperparathyroidism, bone defects. Really terrible stuff. And it gets worse: just because you’re not celiac doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to the ravages of gluten. As Stephan highlights, one study showed that 29% of asymptomatic (read: not celiac) people nonetheless tested positive for anti-gliadin IgA in their stool. Anti-gliadin IgA is an antibody produced by the gut, and it remains there until it’s dispatched to ward off gliadin – a primary component of gluten. Basically, the only reason anti-gliadin IgA ends up in your stool is because your body sensed an impending threat – gluten. If gluten poses no threat, the anti-gliadin IgA stays in your gut. And to think, most Americans eat this stuff on a daily basis.Phytates are a problem, too, because they make minerals bio-unavailable (so much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we need from whole grains!), thus rendering null and void the last, remaining argument for cereal grain consumption.” Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/#ixzz1nc1L5iGT
Aren’t you worried about cholesterol?
The idea that eating foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol will cause heart disease is a myth. You’re body cannot function properly without adequate levels of cholesterol (this does not mean low cholesterol), not to mention your brain needs fat. Your brain is mostly fat and needs fat to really thrive. People at risk for heart disease often are on a low fat, high carb diet, and statins not only do not save lives, but come packaged with many harmful side effects. Just more reason to ditch the grains, and up the fat!For more information on cholesterol in a Paleo Diet context, check out these links:
What’s the deal with dairy?
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