Eating Like a Caveman – An Introduction to Paleo

Eating Like a Caveman – Because We Evolved For It

Paleo - Eat Like a CavemanAccording to scientists, human anatomy evolved over millions of years. However, the latest round of evolutionary changes to the human body haven’t really progressed since approximately 15,000 years ago in the Paleolithic era. Basically, according to this scientific school of thought, modern human diets which developed after humans discovered agriculture don’t really match a human being’s physiology.

There is a mismatch between what we choose to eat and how our bodies are built. One of the side effects of this mismatch is the fact that the modern post-industrial American diet can easily lead to obesity, which is a gateway to all sorts of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a long list of other health problems.

According to advocates of the Paleolithic (or ‘Paleo’) diet, by going back to our ‘roots’ in the Paleolithic era, so to speak, we can reap many of the health benefits of such a simpler diet: leaner, fitter, and healthier bodies.

If you would like to adopt a Paleo diet, it isn’t as hard as you think. No – you don’t have to deck yourself out in Flintstones duds or eat bugs and grunt a lot. Instead, you need to change your diet based on the following.

A Paleo Diet Can Be Delicious

Eat ‘Simpler’ Protein

Modern farming produces meat that is shot through with antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemical ‘growth boosters.’ The animals producing this meat are fed grains and feedstock made from genetically-modified (GMO) plants. The Paleo diet is all about eating wild or simpler forms of animal protein as much as possible.

Eat more fish, meat or eggs sourced from animals which were fed a grass diet on a pasture. Most Paleo diet plans recommend that organic, free-range animal-based protein form around 60% of a Paleo daily meal plan.

Eat a More Basic ‘Back to the Earth’ Diet

The Paleo diet emphasizes ‘simple’ foods that cavemen or Paleolithic era folk could have gathered. This means you should eat more nuts, roots, seeds, mushrooms, fruit, and vegetables. Be on the lookout for foods with high levels of dietary fiber. These are important to the Paleo diet.

Avoid Highly-Refined or Highly-Processed Foods

Don’t eat commercial hotdogs or other highly refined foods with additives, preservatives, colorants or fillers. Stay away from highly-processed starchy foods that are so stripped of nutrients that they have to be ‘enriched’ with vitamins.

In fact, Paleo advocates suggest you should stay off any grains. Completely. After all, grains only became a mainstay in the human diet after humans discovered agriculture. Part of this restriction involves avoiding sugar, oil, and other foods that are the result of processing or refining.

Simple Drinks

By ‘going back to nature,’ the Paleo diet rules out modern beverages like sugar-rich soft drinks or caffeine-heavy coffee. Instead, Paleo dieters rediscover the refreshing power of plain water and some herb-based all natural teas.

Of course, you must round out the Paleo lifestyle and diet with moderate amounts of exercise. Back in humanity’s caveman days, cavemen didn’t exactly just lounge around the cave. They hunted, foraged, tracked, and otherwise lived active lifestyles. Adopt as much of this diet and lifestyle as you can in your modern schedule, to reap the key benefit of a Paleo diet and lifestyle: a leaner and healthier body.

A Very Basic Introduction to Paleo

Of course, this is a very basic introduction to Paleo, but if you start choosing more natural, less-processed foods, focused on quality meat and vegetables, with little or no grain, you’re on the right track. Throw in a bit of exercise, or at least a walk. It can only benefit your health and weight.

About DrBruce

Dr Bruce Katsura believes that weight loss can be fast, safe and sustainable, if it is supported and supervised by a physician, and involves certain lifestyle changes. Those include learning about healthy eating and making small changes in daily habits. Our clients lose up to 30 pounds in 30 days, and most keep the weight off. Sign up for your free initial consultation today.

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14 Responses to Eating Like a Caveman – An Introduction to Paleo

  1. JGPangi May 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    First of all, aww grains? I suppose that’s just the Filipino in me though; I personally don’t eat a lot of rice, and usually I prefer brown over white anyway. I am a huge bread fan though, and that’s where the bulk of my carbs come from.

    I agree though about watching out where our protein comes from. Especially during times like these, we can’t really say that the bulk of our livestock are really healthy. I read a study somewhere about the correlation between genetically-enhanced chickens and the risks to the mental development of unborn human fetuses.

    The Paleo diet sounds like something I’d like to try after my pregnancy. I wonder if there are any tweaks that could be made in deference to our Polynesian culture?

    • DrBruce May 8, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      There are quite a few “versions” of Paleo out there, so I’m sure some tweakning is viable. I’ll be putting up an article on the Mediterranean Diet soon – some find it a bit less restrictive than Paleo.

      You might want to consider dropping wheat only, initially. Keep some grains, but get rid of the ones that are most associated with blood sugar surges. Bread really can be made without wheat.

  2. mrsbrodt June 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    I really like the idea of eating more simple foods. I think that Hawaii is a great place to try to live this lifestyle with all of the fresh fruit and veggies that are available on the islands. I enjoy smoothies as a good way to get some more fruit into my diet. However, I have found that you really have to be careful about the added sugar in most of the store bought brands.

    I think that I am going to work on some homemade Paleo smoothies and see what I can do.

    • DrBruce June 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Smoothies are a great choice for a healthier lifestyle, and you don’t need any store-bought mixes at all. Experiment with our beautiful Hawaiian fresh fruit, perhaps some yogurt or sherbet, and try adding some green in the form of spinach, parsley and/or celery. You can boost the nutrition with hemp hulls, ground flax, or many other choices. Chia seed is probably the ideal one if you’re trying to lose weight, as it’s excellent for reducing hunger. There are no shortage of recipes out there if you search the web – good luck with incorporating more smoothies and simple foods. You’ll notice the difference.

      • nicho August 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

        I have found that smoothies are also a great way to eat/drink foods that are less palatable on their own. I have a friend who didn’t used to eat any vegetables at all. He now starts his day with a smoothie and manages to hide everything from avocado to cabbage in it!

        • DrBruce August 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

          You’re right! Smoothies can be both delicious and healthy, Nicho. The US Department of Health recommends “Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.” It’s pretty easy to pack most of that into one smoothie if you’re having trouble taking in enough.

          • nicho September 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

            Sorry for the slow reply on this (I’ve been away!)

            I always woory about these RDA recommendations, simply because it just seems like a small amout to me. However we would all be alot healthier if everybody hit these amounts, so I guess it is a good starting point at least.

            Nicho

  3. Michelle July 16, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Thank you! I’ve been hearing a lot about Paleo diets and have really been wanting to start setting an example for my family by eating healthier meals. I wasn’t quite sure where to start though. This article has been very helpful to me!

  4. SaraQ July 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    I have heard people having great results from Paleo diet. I exercise regularly but its about time that i clean up my diet. I will definitely give paleo diet a try and see what kind of results it brings about.

  5. nicho August 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Although I don’t do a completely paleo diet, I do find that the closer I get, the better I feel. This always makes me wonder what exactly is it in ‘modern’ packaged foods that is so bad? Is it the things that are added to keep them edible for longer or test better?
    It just doesn’t seem right to me at least when I see a huge list of ingredients on even the simplest packaged products.

    • DrBruce August 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

      I suspect it’s a combination of those chemicals you mention, plus, in some cases, cheap but unhealthy ingredients. As you mentioned, reading the ingredients can be pretty eye-opening. I’ve written an article on how to read nutrition facts labels if you’re interested in more information.

      • nicho September 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        Thanks for the link Dr Bruce-I’ll take a look now. It is certainly a little bit scary (at least for me) when I read some of the things that we regularly eat in many packaged foodstuffs.

        Nicho

        • DrBruce September 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

          It IS scary. I’ve read that 70% of the SAD (Standard American Diet) consists of processed foods. This makes adding more fresh, natural foodstuffs fairly logical, since the health of the average American isn’t trending in a way we’d want to go.

  6. FreiFreiFrei December 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Everyone i’ve seen on the paleo diet longterm seems to have enjoyed it. I think the hardest part of going paleo is the first 2 weeks. After that it gets MUCH easier after you swap out your regular mainstays for paleo alternatives. Sweet potatoes will become your best friend if you have a sugar craving for example.

    Also if there’s something that you don’t like, there are quite a few versions of paleo out there. So don’t feel restricted. The most useful part of the paleo diet is learning how to appreciate greens again. :)

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