The Paleo Diet: Does the Caveman Lifestyle Work?
Over the last few years, whenever I have questioned top personal trainers, nutritionists or athletes on how they eat, most of them have responded not with the 5:2, the Dukan or the Blood Group Diet, but with one word: “paleo”. I figured that since many of these people are often ambassadors for optimum health, they were onto something. Since then, I have done a fair bit of research, asked a lot of questions and more recently tried the paleo lifestyle for myself. Here’s what I found out…
WHAT IS PALEO?
Paleo is short for paleolithic which means of the Stone Age - the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago. Paleolithic people or cavemen and women were considered hunter gatherers, and the bulk of their diet consisted of animals and wild plants. Existing before the dawn of agriculture, they didn’t eat any processed grains or dairy. They certainly didn’t know about Mars bars, bagels, Innocent Smoothies, Diet Coke, low fat yoghurts or Special K. Imagine you were on a desert island with a club and a stick and not a Tesco Metro in sight, what would you eat? Nuts, berries, green leaves, fish, meat, birds. That is paleo. One of the most commonly used phrases to describe the diet is ‘If it doesn’t fly, swim, walk or isn’t green, then don’t eat it.”
So first things first: eating the paleo way isn’t new. In fact it’s probably the earliest form of eating known to man, which is why it feels very wrong in a way to call paleo a ‘diet’. I associate the word diet with weight loss, and I’m pretty sure that cavemen and women didn’t have love handles hanging over their loincloths. What paleo is however, is all about simple, fresh, unprocessed, real food, and it is a way of eating that is considered by many experts to work optimally with our genetics to the point where it has the power to act as a medicine.
Decades of research has shown that hunter gatherers typically were free from chronic illnesses and diseases that are epidemic in Western populations.
More from Get The Gloss: