Paleo Diet

The Authentic Paleo Lifestyle – Part 2 – A Suitable Diet

This is the second (and final) part of an in-depth article on ‘Paleo’ Lifestyle and specifically ‘Paleo Diet’ provided by Geoff Bond. In part one Geoff outlined how considerable changes in our typical modern diet compared to Paleo times are considered important factors in a dramatic rise in ‘modern’ ailments from obesity and diabetes to heart disease.

Geoff also explained what modern foods we should avoid and below he explains what foods are ideal to eat as part of the Paleo diet, and the reasons why. Having detailed in part one what foods we should avoid the article below picks up straight from the end of part one by asking ‘What is Left?’ (to eat) – For those who missed the first article please look at our previous post (January 8th 2014).

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What is Left?

A surprising amount actually. Let’s think of a blank food pyramid.
Paleo Diet PyramidDown at the bottom layer, instead of all the breads, starches, pastas and breakfast cereals that the authorities want us to consume, we have low-starch raw plant food. It is quite easy to do really:

One big salad every day, using all the usual ingredients we think of as salad vegetables. See short list below – Table 1:

Table 1
Salad vegetables:
See full list ref [ 23]
alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, coleslaw, cress, cucumber, lettuce, mushroom, onion, spring onion, radish, sugar snap peas, watercress, celery, leeks, tomato.

Next layer up we have low-starch vegetables. They are the usual things we call vegetables with the exception of potato of course. We should also go easy on sweet potato, carrots and peas. Short list below – Table 2.

Table 2
Vegetables:
See full list ref [23]
artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bell pepper, aubergine, garlic, green, beans, leeks, onion, spinach, summer squash, sweet corn, baby turnip, water chestnut, courgette, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.

Next layer up we have low glycemic fruits. Fruits in our ancestral homeland were much less sugary than most of the fruits we have today so we have to navigate that. However, most berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.) are low glycemic and conforming. They are also micronutrient powerhouses. We should go easy on sugary fruits like pineapple, mango, melons, and so on. Short list below – Table 3.

Table 3. See full list ref [23]
Fruits – Good:
blackberry, blackcurrants, blueberry, cherry, gooseberry, grapefruit, nectarine, raspberry, redcurrants, wild strawberry.
Fruits – Caution:
apple, green-tipped banana, dates, fresh guava, orange, peach, pear, plum, cultivated strawberry.

Next layer up we have good proteins. All tree nuts are OK; all seafood is fine, particularly the oily fish; omega-3 rich eggs are fine – but the most conforming eggs come from hens that have been scratching around a farmyard.

Most poultry is fine: wild game of course like pheasant and grouse but also duck, goose, and even turkey. Do avoid battery chickens – their fatty acid profile is terrible.

Exotic meats like venison, goat, crocodile, ostrich, and caribou are good too. In fact most animal matter is acceptable so long as it isn’t beef, lamb or, especially, pork. These red meats, as they are currently farmed, have high levels of saturated fats like palmitic acid and myristic acid. These fats were rare in our ancestral homeland and our bodies never learned to deal with them. Result: disrupted biochemistry, cardiovascular disease, cancers and more. For a short list see Table 4 below.
Paleo Diet Table 4

At the peak of the pyramid we have the good fatty acid profile. Basically balance the omega see-saw and avoid palmitic and myristic acids. For a short summary, see Table 5 below.
Paleo Diet Table 5

Food Preparation

It is not difficult to prepare simple meals using these basic ingredients. However, if you wish to have recipes that are simple to prepare, try our cookbook, Paleo Harvest [24]

Celebrations

What about celebrations? Even foragers had times of plenty when there would be a gathering of the clans and over-indulgence. A healthy body can tolerate the occasional overindulgence, but do save it for a special occasion like a birthday or Christmas.

Sunshine is Human Food

When we think of our evolutionary history, humans spent 365 days a year, stark naked, under a tropical sun. If that was the case for millions of years, we can be sure that our bodies came to depend on it. Yet now, because of a totally misplaced fear of melanoma, westerners are suffering from chronic sunshine deficiency!

Sunshine starvation is a factor in obesity, osteoporosis, dementia, depression, MS, diabetes, and many more [25]. Quite separately from vitamin D, sunshine has vital effects on mood and even fat metabolism [26].

Getting enough sunshine is essential. Just be sensible about sun exposure, especially if you are not accustomed to it or have particularly sensitive skin. The important thing is to build up exposure gradually and avoid burning.

Physical Activity and Obesity Control, Muscle Tone and More

The women back then walked some 3 to 4 miles a day, carrying loads and with the toddler on their backs. The men walked and ran sometimes 8 miles a day and more.

If this was the physical activity for eons, we can be sure our bodies came to depend on it. Without it, things start to go wrong: obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many more.

So our Pleistocene ancestors were physically fit. Even to our eyes today, physical fitness looks ‘right’, even beautiful. Our brains are recognizing ‘fitness for purpose’.

But the physical activity doesn’t have to be intense. One study finds that regular golfers on average live 5 years longer than non-golfers. But apart from sports and recreation, think about other changes – like working at the computer standing up.

Stress, Obesity and more

The mismatch between our savanna-bred mentality and the way of life today triggers stresses several times a day that were only designed to be invoked but rarely.

Constant pressure, frustrations and demands on our time trigger the release of stress hormones several times a day that were only designed to be invoked rarely [27]. These hormones are not only a factor in many diseases but also increase appetite, sugar cravings and fat deposition [28].

It is within your power to adjust some of your life choices to be more in harmony with the savanna lifestyle. Some highly effective changes can be trivial. Foragers wake up slowly with the dawn. Try a sunrise simulator to wake you up instead of a stressful alarm clock.

Some changes can be drastic. For example, foragers worked for themselves, they were IN CONTROL of their livelihoods. It is unnatural and stressful having to hustle for a job, not being in control of your livelihood, being an employee.

*****

Let’s not forget, we have the same genome as foragers – so we should be able to live just as long as they do and, just like they do, in good shape to the end.

Indeed, we can have the best of both worlds! Live in comfort AND live long lives, fully functioning to the end. But to win this prize, we have to go back to our roots. We have to align the way we live today with the way nature intended. But no one can do it for you; YOU have to take control. We have shown you the way – so just go out and do it – oh yes you can!

Geoff Bond
The website for Geoff Bond

*****

Thank you so much to Geoff for these two in-depth and informative articles he has provided. We also have a number of articles on the Paleo Diet on this blog including recipes, useful links and feedback from people who have been on the diet. Simply look in the category ‘The Paleo Diet’ in the right-hand column of this blog.

If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.

Amanda Williams
Cytoplan
amanda@cytoplan.co.uk
01684 310099

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