Why Eat What Our Ancestors Ate?

picture of organic fruits and vegatables on a white background

At some point you’ve probably heard someone you know, say: “That’s it. I’m going on the Paleo diet!”

But, most people don’t eat a full Paleo diet: they ‘mix and match’ depending on what foods they’re eating. A true Paleo diet is eating with the seasons and going out to hunt and kill your own food!

That’s if you wanted to go true Paleo.

So, the next time you hear someone say that they’re going on a Paleo diet, tell them to shut up and read this first. What most people consider to be Paleo is actually Neo-Paleo.

What they mean when they say they’re “going Paleo” is that they’re going to only eat food that our ancestors supposedly ate. This means removing any processed and other foods that they didn’t eat.

Think cave man diet or Paleolithic.

So, what did our ancestors actually eat?

Well, it depends on how far back you go. If we go back to the Primal Era (caveman time), it’ll be things like:

  • Berries
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables

Sounds pretty healthy, right? And looking at the above list you can understand why people try to eat “Paleo”.

So, what’s missing?

Grains

(bread, cakes, pizza, pasta, etc)

Why no grains? That’s simple. We didn’t eat them as cave men (or cave women).

Grains are from farming and people didn’t actually farm in those times.

We were hunter gatherers and would travel with the seasons, following the meat around, much as animals do now.

Think about it: if your food supply is on the move then you’d move with it. Similarly, if your job moves away and you want to keep it then you might need to move with it!

  • Why go through this though?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Why cut out things like grains from your diet?
  • And, what is so bad about cereals, bread, rice and pasta?

Well, there are a lot. First, grains fall into the carb category. Some people choose to cut them out not because they are going Paleo, but because they are cutting down on the carbs and the Paleo plan follows that pattern.

Others choose to reduce them due to allergies. The number of people suffering with food allergies is on the rise – and grains seem to see most of the blame. Although people are showing allergies to these foods, what many forget is that if you eat bread, for example, and you become bloated it might not be the wheat (gluten), it could be:

  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Fibre

Or, it can even be pesticides that have been sprayed on the crops and it’s the  residues of those that you’re reacting too.

So, by cutting out the food that the residues are in you solve your problem.

Another issue for grain-based foods – especially those of modern living: cakes, biscuits, bread and pasta – is that they are some of the most heavily processed foods on the planet. And, it’s well documented that the more you process a food, the more you damage and devalue the nutrients inside it.

Let’s take cooking as an example. Cooking is a form of food processing. If you over cook your food, you lower not only the flavours of the food but also the macro and micro nutrients inside it (fats, proteins, carbs and vitamins & minerals). This means you’re getting less quality nutrients for your body to repair cells and add to the body shape you want in life.

This is one of the reasons why raw food diets have become popular.

If you’re going ultra-Paleo then that means everything you eat should be organic, or if you want to go ultra-organic then bio dynamic is even better.

Now, caveman Dan didn’t search for organic meat and berries – organic has only become a term used in the last few decades. Why? Because everything was organic back then and there were no pesticides or toxins sprayed on food.

Another reason for thinking Paleo is based on what our digestion is designed to handle. We, as humans, evolved on a varied diet of meat, fish, nuts and seeds, and of course fruit and vegetables. But, we didn’t evolve on a diet of grains in large proportions and they’ve only been a staple part of our diet for the last 10,000 years.

Also, the Paleo diet has a higher amount of fat in it. Fats gets so much bad press and it’s undeserved.

In fact, it’s been well written about and many trials have been carried out by swapping different nutrients from the diet: the low fat or zero fat diet groups always come off worse.

And animals are available all year round, yet carbs (fruit and vegetables) were only available seasonally in caveman times. You wouldn’t be finding berries in winter time when caveman bob was about, like you do nowadays on supermarket shelves in the UK!

There is also the additional thought in the nutritional world that if you eat seasonally (food that’s available in certain seasons) then it’s healthier than eating the same foods all through the year.

I agree with this, especially when it comes to fruit.

It’s far healthier to eat a fruit that’s just been picked than one that was picked six months ago and has been put in cold storage.

So, there you have it. All of the above is why we advise you to eat like cavemen (and women) did in ancient times. Your body will be soaking up fewer pesticides (mainly by eating organic instead of non-organic foods) and you’ll feel a lot healthier (and have more energy!) in no time.

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