Looking to switch up your diet or workout routine this year? Instead of following the latest craze, get prehistoric and follow in the footsteps of our ancestors.
Cavemen and women may have missed the mark on style and eloquence, but their hunter-gatherer way of life has got people talking. The Paleo diet focuses on consuming only that which was available to humans 2.5 million years ago. No, you don’t have to eat grasshoppers and dinosaur dung. But the current American diet, consisting of heavily processed and refined junk, combined with our mainly sedentary lifestyle, would cause even Fred Flintstone to say “Yabba dabba ew.”
Cavemen ate real food. They ate real meat, not beef jerky. 99.9% of our genes were created before the development of agriculture, according to Dr. S. Boyd Eaton, MD, Medical Anthropologist. Modern day cavemen, also known as Paleos, believe our bodies were meant to process only the foods which were available to our ancient ancestors of the Paleolithic Era, or the Stone Age; a time when diet-related diseases were practically non-existent.
With a heavy emphasis placed on eating organ meats and root veggies, the Paleo diet goes against the grain (literally- you can’t eat grains) of government guidelines and the advice of most nutritionists. Forget potatoes, beans, dairy products, sugar, and salt- these were not available to our ancestors therefore our genes aren’t coded to digest them.
“If improving lifelong health is the primary goal of one’s diet, then everyone should adopt the diet that shaped the human genome,” says Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet.
If you’d rather hack off your left foot than trade your coveted plate of pasta for a juicy cow liver, a strict Paleo lifestyle may not be right for you. You can always go part Paleo, though, and aim to eat mainly unprocessed, raw foods. If it’s in a package and you can’t pronounce the ingredients, toss it out.
By Brittany Fuino