The Paleo diet has been getting a lot of attention in the media and popular culture lately. Is this just another fad or is there more to this?
To begin with, this is not a “diet” per se but more of a way of life with a different way of looking at food.
Believe it or not we did not evolve eating McDonalds, Corn Flakes and Red Bull. Imagine feeding some the foods we eat regularly to your dog or cat, how surprised would you be if they started experiencing digestive issues, obesity, arthritis, cancer etc. However when we get sick we rarely want to admit or think it might be the food we are consuming. It is no more absurd to give your dog coca-cola as a “special treat” as it is to give that to your child. The Paleo diet looks back to what foods have we as a species eaten for the largest part of our existence.
The Paleolithic era, where this type of eating derives its name, was the period of time from about 2.5 million years ago to 11,000 years ago. During this period of time is where most of the human genome (our genes) was shaped. This was the time of hunting and gathering.
Modern chronic illnesses were more or less non-existent during the Paleolithic period. Since the agricultural revolution, but more importantly the industrial revolution, and even more recently the chemical revolution, chronic illness rates have sky rocketed and continue to rise each year in all western countries.
The research is very clear…“Humans living today inherited a genome that was programmed for daily physical activity and a high fibre diet.” Effects of exercise and diet on chronic disease. J Appl Physiol 2005; 98:3-30
There are modern Hunter-gatherers living traditionally in various parts of the world today. They exist in parts of South America, Australia, Greenland, Alaska, Africa and multiple smaller islands throughout the oceans. These people all experience excellent health when compared to people living in the western world.
They have better heart function, lung function, bone health, and dental health. Diabetes, cancer, arthritis, acne and fertility issues are non-existent and body composition perfect. How can this be the case without the help of “modern medicine” to keep them healthy? The paradox here is that when you take away modern foods, modern lifestyle and modern medicine, the human race thrives.
The health of these people isn’t just superior to the “average” western person but superior to even our top athletes. When American marathon runners were tested for fasting plasma leptin levels and compared to the Ache Indian tribe, the hunter gatherers were far more superior, in fact their levels were half of that of the athletes.
The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Res Rep Clin Cardiol 2011; 2: 215-235
Even though there have been huge differences in the environments between different hunter gatherer tribes throughout the world e.g the Inuit populations of Greenland compared to traditional Australian aborigines they have all shown exceptional health. How can this be? There have been some similarities between all groups. These are…
- Regular sun exposure (The Inuit are the exception but consume high levels of Vitamin D3 in fish)
- Sleep patterns in synch with the daily variation in light exposure
- No chronic stress only acute stress in times of danger etc.
- Regular physical activity,
- Lack of exposure to man-made environmental pollutants,
- Universal fresh food sources.
J Appl Physiol 2005; 98:3-30
The Paleo diet has by far the most scientific backing behind it when compared to any other diet; it also makes a lot of sense. We recommend adopting some of these changes into your life as soon as possible.
Simple strategies for EPIC PALEO.
We have put a few tweaks on the traditional Paleo diet based on our extensive research…
Add in more real vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits into your diet.
Always buy meats from healthy happy animals (preferably organic)
Replace all seed oil (Canola, vegetable, margarine etc) with Coconut oil, Real Butter (EPIC), macadamia oil, and olive oil (not for cooking).
Avoid all processed grains, cut out all wheat and sugar from your diet.
Eat more fermented foods like Kefir, komboucha, saurkraut etc.
Supplement with Vitamin D, Fish oil and a probiotic.
Have fun getting healthy,
Dr. Trent is a Sports and wellness Chiropractor at LIFE CHIROPRACTIC OXENFORD. He is a dad, surfer, paleoer, crossfitter, Blogger, wellness speaker and Co-Founder of EPIC HEALTHSTYLE. He is a sought after speaker and has taught thousands of people in business’s, schools and community groups where health really comes from.