The Paleo Diet Simplified
Chances are you have already heard of the Paleo diet before. The term “Paleo” may seem familiar as it is the short form for Paleolithic, more popularly known as the Old Stone Age. Paleo diet refers to a specific diet or style of eating that mimics that of the Paleolithic Age. According to books on history, the Paleolithic humans were mainly hunters and gatherers. They ate whatever animals they could hunt and fruits and vegetation they can gather. The early humans were always on the move in search for food. Essentially, these primitive humans ate whatever food from nature they could get, in its raw and natural form.
Let’s go back to history class and remember how our history books depict these old cave men – lean, muscular, and fit. There were no obese and overweight people sitting around all day during that time. The Paleolithic Age was an era of constant migrations, mainly for food purposes. Paleolithic humans were always on the move following wherever their hunting instincts could take them and wherever fruits and vegetation were abundant. It is also important to note that agriculture and farming was not yet discovered by early humans at that time. There were no permanent settlements, raising of livestock, and harvesting of root crops. Early humans ate whatever they could pick up from the ground and whatever nature could offer them.
Thanks to this laborious and nomadic lifestyle, the early humans had a healthier, more fit, and more energetic bodies than most of us now in the 21st century. The early humans did not stay in their homes and wait for their food to come to them. They did not sit around their couches eating Oreos off of golden trays waiting for the day to go by. The early humans did not have microwaveable packed lunches, cup noodles, and canned sausages that are our go-to meals whenever we have a tiring day or when we just feel lazy to cook up something. If they did, most likely their appearance would be like that of what we see in the general population today – either overweight or malnourished and mostly stagnant yet restless bodies due to a constantly changing society.
Human population has grown so much since the Paleolithic Era and this growth has been accompanied by a plethora of changes in culture, lifestyle, behavior, and every other aspect of our day to day living. History has shown that early Paleolithic humans used the most primitive tools they could come up at that time. Most of them were made of stones, rocks, and wood which were sharpened and pieced together to serve as their weapons for hunting meat and cutting vegetation. Take note that there was no concept of agriculture, farming, and livestock during that era. Paleolithic humans were nomadic in nature and had no knowledge yet on how to utilize the resources that were readily available for them. It was then during the Agricultural Revolution that humans back then were introduced to agriculture and farming. With the onset of technological and agricultural advancements, the human diet has changed significantly too. Raw meat and fruits were replaced with grains and homegrown root crops. Processed meat and vegetation has grown in abundance and so are the health risks that come with it.
So there’s got to be something about what they were doing that they were able to survive, right? Since early humans were able to survive with that kind of diet and lifestyle, perhaps there would be no harm for us to try and go back to the most primitive way of eating, right? This is the main argument that Paleo diet advocators came up as to why it works. They believe our bodies are innately programmed to be able to properly digest even the rawest and most natural form of food our ancestors ate. They believed that if prehistoric humans were able to do it, so can we. But with the incorporation of farming and agriculture, grains were now being grown in abundance and disease risks increased along with the crop. With the onset of agriculture and livestock, humans are now able to manufacture their own food for consumption. The work required to obtain has diminished greatly over the past thousands of years. Humans went from nomadic to settling down for their own living and consumption. Food can now be found within their yard, not within hundreds of miles away. This kind of diet and lifestyle has what shaped our bodies today. We forgot how to look for our own food, to look for the rawest meat, the ripest, and freshest vegetation nature could offer. Now, we prefer going to the grocery or eat in fastfood chains to save us from the hassle of searching the healthiest meal. In this modern time, we have learned to take in food with high preservative content and preprocessing which has been brought upon by technology.
This diet is not just for people who have a specific goal in mind which is to shed some weight. This diet is for the general populace who just want their bodies to operate and feel better through the primitive way. If your goal is not just to shed some weight, then you can consider this diet. Those who practice the Paleo diet see a plethora of health benefits as a result. Because this diet advocates for the natural way of eating, there is an increase in vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant consumption. Raw edible food coming directly from nature has the most number of nutrients compared to food that has undergone processing in the market. Once these nutrient-rich raw ingredients from nature are being harvested for mass production, most of these natural nutrients are being stripped away and replaced with preservatives and flavoring to enhance its taste and shelf life. Thus, the nutrients we consume are cut down by half which is a big letdown compared to natural process-free food which still retains its original nutrients.
There is also a great improvement in blood sugar control for this diet since most of the food we consume today contain excess amount of sugar than what the body needs. There are also improvements in cardiovascular functions like lower cholesterol and blood pressure. We can’t deny the fact that most of the food we consume from the market today are high in cholesterol due to the natural nutrients being stripped away and replaced with sugar, oil, and preservatives. In a way, the Paleo diet can be good way for our body to detox naturally. Being exposed in the modern and advanced world, we are constantly vulnerable to toxins and harmful substances which lead to sickness, fatigue, and stress. Practicing the Paleo diet can help preventing these toxins from entering the body by eating only natural and organic substances. Paleo diet can also improve sleep and prevent weight gain.
For those of you who are not fans of calorie counting or macro tracking, the Paleo diet has an advantage. While you certainly can track these things if you wish, they aren’t essential for weight loss. If you eat only Paleo-approved (nuts, fruits, eggs, grass-fed meats, healthy oils, vegetables), you are constantly putting healthy and nourishing foods into your body. These foods aren’t the ones causing our worldwide obesity and disease-ridden epidemic. Processed food and sugar does. If you consume only natural and healthy foods into the body, your overall system will also greatly improve. It works like a chain just like that. And if the whole system is in great condition, there is little to no chance that disease and epidemic will strike you. It can be noted that most of the deadly worldwide diseases today like obesity and heart disease are mainly caused by the processed food and sugar we consume. In this case, considering the principles of the Paleo diet, it could be a great way to prevent these deadly diseases and stay heathy and fit at the same time.
Whether you think the Paleo diet sounds great or not, it is hard to argue against eating natural, unprocessed foods. This is what our ancestors have been doing ever since civilization began. After all, our world wasn’t slowly killing itself until we started walking down supermarket aisles through barrages of processed goods. The world was already abundant with food and resources long before supermarkets and convenience stores have been constructed and at that time, human civilizations were thriving with they could get from nature. Heart diseases and obesity were a like a far-fetched dream at that time. People were healthy and diseases only came from viruses that were not yet curable at that time. There’s a saying that history repeats itself. Perhaps this time we ought to listen. Perhaps we should go back to the primitive ways for us to thrive in this harsh and toxic modern world.