The above is the diet that was consumed by the ‘cavemen’ or ‘hunter gatherers’ of the Paleolithic era. They never ate anything that couldn’t be killed or gathered from the land. The people of this era lived free of many of the diseases that plague the society of today, including cancer, depression, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. I know many of you are probably saying, “Hey, most of those people didn’t live past 40 years of age.” This is true for the most part, but they lived in a much harsher world than we do, where other elements of their environment (like a bear) usually caused their demise. There are other secluded Native societies throughout the world today that eat this type of diet and thrive on it.
Essentially, what this diet consists of is a natural food diet that excludes processed foods, grains, gluten, lentils and beans, and dairy. You may be wondering what is left to eat, but if you start to get a little creative by travelling around the perimeter of your grocery store, you will find a boat load of nutritious and delicious foods. Consume carbohydrates through fruits (bananas, berries, kiwis, oranges, lemons, apples, mango, pineapple, melons, etc.) and veggies (spinach, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, herbs and spices to name a few), lean meats (beef, buffalo, fish, seafood, eggs, wild game meats, chicken and other birds, and eggs), and quality fats, particularly those high in omega-3 fats (coconut, organic coconut oil, avocado, and avocado oil, walnuts, macadamia nuts, fatty fish like salmon, fish oil, olive oil, organic butter). Whenever possible, choose food from organic or grass-fed sources, as these foods typically contain more quality nutrients in them.
When most people think of a carbohydrate, they think of a starchy food like rice, oatmeal, pasta, or bread, and though these are definitely carbohydrates full of energy, they are NOT A GOOD SOURCE. These foods are all derived from grains of some sort, which are all very nutrient deficient, causing manufacturers to enrich the foods with vitamins and minerals. Grains (including wheat, oatmeal, rice, barley, quinoa, corn, etc.), beans (soy, kidney, chick peas, etc.) and lentils all need to be cooked or processed before eating because they are inedible before this point because mother nature did not intend on us consuming them. These plants have protective devices to protect themselves, which include chemicals or anti-nutrients of sorts that make a food poisonous, or taste bad or unappealing to us, or a texture that we can’t ingest. These anti-nutrients can be severe gut irritants for some or most people, and are sometimes referred to as food allergens or sensitivities. When the intestines become irritated by these foods, an autoimmune response occurs, and they are no longer able to absorb nutrients and the person can become very sick. Gluten, an anti-nutrient that is found in wheat and just about every processed food available, is linked to many of the autoimmune diseases of today including celiac disease.
Carbohydrates from starch and sugar cause an immediate insulin response in the blood as the body tries to regulate itself and achieve balance again. The insulin drastically reduces the blood sugar, causing it to become too low, thus causing us to crave sugar once again very soon after. This can be a wicked roller coaster ride that can be very tough to get off. Not only does insulin cause us to crave sugar and starch, but it also tends to cause us to store most of the energy we consume, causing us to get FAT. So what should we do? Avoid these foods of convenience at all costs and enjoy healthy, natural fruits and vegetables, and eat them until you’re full.
Protein or meat should be consumed at every meal and snack to support all of our tissues and lean muscle growth (lean muscle requires more calories/energy to sustain than fat). Protein helps us to feel full, and satiated — very rarely does somebody ever overeat meat. Feel free to eat until you feel satisfied, particularly if you are choosing good-quality meats (grass-fed is best). Avoid canned, processed or deli meats if possible.
Fats are not the enemy they are portrayed to be. Good-quality fats are essential to our survival, as we need fat for absorption of some of our vitamins and nutrients — without it, we will suffer nutrient deficiencies. Fat is also an excellent source for energy, which is great since we should be eliminating a lot of the high-calorie nasty starch and sugar consumption as discussed earlier, right! The other great thing about fat is that it tastes great, adds flavour to any dish and also makes you feel satiated.
Why can’t I eat dairy, and how am I going to get enough calcium? Babies need milk (from their mother), not adults. We human beings are the only mammals to continue consuming milk beyond infancy. Adult lions, for example, don’t drink milk and they seem to be strong, fast and powerful creatures, not to mention, I don’t believe there have been a lot of cases reported of osteoporosis among wild animals of today. That should tell you something: ‘we don’t need milk.’ It is believed that dairy products cause our blood chemistry to become very acidic once digested. When our bodies become acidic, we do not absorb nutrients such as calcium into our bodies, so our body leaches it directly from our bones, thus causing osteoporosis. Calcium is consumed through fruits and vegetables (alkaline producing, which is good) nuts, canned salmon with bones, sardines, etc. We don’t necessarily need the high doses of calcium recommended if we can maintain an alkaline state in our bodies. This is achieved by supplying our bodies with large quantities of fruits and veggies, the only alkalizing foods available. Fuel your body with high-quality foods of fruit, veggies, meat, nuts, seeds and good fats, and give your body the best chance possible to function at its optimal potential.
I am not a dietician, nutritionist, or a doctor, but a coach who is not consumed by mainstream media, one that has questioned and researched the very diet that I now preach. What harm could consuming a variety of high-quality, tasty foods cause? Quality is the objective, not quantity, so eat until you are satisfied, be creative in the kitchen, and search the Web for other delicious and healthy ‘paleo recipes.’ This is a diet/lifestyle we promote within our gym and have seen some very positive results, but don’t take my word for it, research and try it yourself. Give these grain-free, dairy free, nutrient-dense recipes a try. Good luck!
PALEO GRANOLA LIME CHICKEN AND MANGO SALSA
|5 cups nuts (1/2 slivered almonds, remainder of crushed pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or other||4 chicken breasts|
|½ cup organic coconut oil heated to a liquid||Juice of 1 lime|
|1–2 TBS organic cocoa||3 garlic cloves|
|1 TBS organic honey||¼ cup olive oil|
|Cinnamon||1 ripe mango|
|Salt||2 cups fresh pineapple chunked|
|Shredded unsweetened coconut||1 chopped red pepper|
|Note: coconut burns easily; add to mix at the end of baking||1 lime|
|Cilantro or mint chopped to your taste,|
|Heat oven to 350 F||3 cups spinach|
|Place nuts (except coconut) in parchment-lined cake pan|
|Mix coconut oil, cocoa, and honey together, stir into nuts until coated||Marinate chicken in lime juice, garlic and oil in fridge at least 2 hours|
|Sprinkle with lots and lots of cinnamon and a dash of salt||Remove chicken from marinade and bake at 375 F to cooked|
|Bake for about 30 mins||For salsa: combine mango, pineapple, pepper, (optional red onion, cilantro or mint and lime juice)|
|Stir regularly and continue to add cinnamon as needed (lots)||Make a bed of spinach, layer with chicken, and salsa|
|Divide into about 15 servings in premeasured snack bags|
|Serve over berries, sliced banana and a little coconut milk|
By Natalie Mark, CuJo Conditioning