Food trends seem to be about as common as fashion trends. There always seems to be some diet out there that is in the limelight. Low-fat, low-carb, high-fat, high protein, vegan, Atkins, Sears, the list goes on and on. What seems to be topping the ‘food charts’ these days is the Paleo or Ansestral Diet.
This is not so much a diet but more a way of eating.
The basic premise is that we as humans have been on this planet for a very short time on an evolutionary scale, and our Paleolithic ancestors were hunters and gatherers for thousands of years. The advent of agriculture however, changed all of that and has probably been one of the major driving forces that has led to what we call modern civilization. So the amount of time that we have been ‘farmers’ has been relatively short on an evolutionary scale, and our bodies are less adept at being grain-consumers than we are hunter gatherers.
For most of our existence, we apparently thrived on vegetation and whatever source of meat protein that was available to hunt or fish. There were no bagels or raisin bran muffins to be had anywhere. The theory goes that by adopting a way of eating that is like our ‘caveman’ ancestors, we will be much more healthy. This boils down a diet consisting of mainly vegetables, fish, meat (preferably wild), some nuts and a sparing amount of fruit. In its strictest form: No grains, no sugar, no dairy, and no legumes.
This seems to work for many people, in terms of weight loss, and overall well-being. Whether or not you believe that we should eat like cavemen, the reason that this diet probably works for many people is that there is no processed food in this diet. It is essentially a clean, whole-food diet so it makes sense for those reasons alone. Having said that, I personally believe that in the 10,000 or so years since the advent of agriculture, we as humans have adapted to the many changes in our environment, and that it is impossible and impractical to eat exactly the same diet as our Paleo cousins.
Eating a whole-food diet is good and perhaps some cheese, and legumes and even some whole grains (sparingly) are not necessarily too bad. The only caveat with regards to grains may be wheat. (Read this about the Gluten Free Craze)
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