I am certified in addiction counseling, public health, health education, mental health
How Our Healthy Way of Life Went Wrong
The Agricultural Revolution began 10,000 years ago—just a drop in the bucket compared to the 2.5 million years that human beings have lived on Earth.
Until that time—just 333 generations ago—everyone on the planet ate lean meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables. For most of us, it’s been fewer than 200 generations since our ancestors abandoned the old lifestyle and turned to agriculture.
If you happen to be an Eskimo or a Native American, it’s been barely four to six generations. Except for perhaps a half-dozen tiny tribes in South America and a few on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, pure hunter-gatherers have vanished from the face of the Earth.
When these few remaining tribes become Westernized during the next decade or so, this ancient way of life—which allowed our species to thrive, grow, and mature—will come to an end.
Health Secrets of Our Ancestors
What do Paleolithic people have to do with us? Actually, quite a lot: DNA evidence shows that basic human physiology has changed little in 40,000 years.
Literally, we are Stone Agers living in the Space Age; our dietary needs are the same as theirs. Our genes are well adapted to a world in which all the food eaten daily had to be hunted, fished, or gathered from the natural environment—a world that no longer exists.
Nature determined what our bodies needed thousands of years before civilization developed, before people started farming and raising domesticated livestock.
The Problems with Most Low-Carb Diets
The Paleo Diet is a low-carbohydrate diet—but that’s where any resemblance to the glut of low-carbohydrate fad diets ends. Remember, the Paleo Diet is the only diet based on millions of years of nutritional facts—the one ideally suited to our biological needs and makeup and the one that most closely resembles hunter-gatherer diets.
With the Paleo Diet, you’ll be restoring the diet you are genetically programmed to eat. You’ll be following the diet that every single person on the planet ate only 333 generations ago. It is the diet the modern world has completely forgotten.
Paleo diet rules
The Paleo Diet is simplicity itself. Here are the ground rules:
All the lean meats,
fish, and seafood you can eat
All the fruits and nonstarchy vegetables you can eat
No cereals No legumes
No dairy products
No processed foods
The Paleo Diet is not a fat-free diet, it’s a “bad fat”–free diet. It has few of the artery-clogging fats found in the typical Western diet, but there is plenty of low-fat protein and good fats—such as those found in salmon and other cold-water fish, as well as in nuts and olive oil. It is not a fanatically strict diet, either.
The Keys of the Paleo Diet
Eat a relatively high amount of animal protein compared to that in the typical American diet.
Eat fewer carbohydrates than most modern diets recommend, but eat lots of good carbohydrates—from fruits and vegetables, not from grains, starchy tubers, and refined sugars.
Eat a large amount of fiber from nonstarchy fruits and vegetables. Eat a moderate amount of fat, with more good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats than bad (trans and certain saturated) fats, and nearly equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.
Eat foods with a high potassium content and a low sodium content. Eat a diet with a net alkaline load.
Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The Paleo Diet: A Nutritional Bonanza
The Paleo Diet provides 100 percent of our nutrient requirements. My research team has analyzed the nutrient composition of hundreds of varying combinations of the Paleo Diet, in which we’ve altered the percentage as well as the types of plant and animal foods it contains. In virtually every dietary permutation, the levels of vitamins and minerals exceed governmental recommended daily allowances (RDAs).
The Paleo Diet even surpasses modern cereal- and dairy-based diets in many nutritional elements that protect against heart disease and cancer, including:
Omega 3 and monounsaturated fats
Beta-carotene and other plant phytochemicals