The Paleolithic was the period in which we evolved from Homo Habilis, the first hominid example, to what we are now, Homo Sapiens. With the Paleo diet, or diet of the hunter / gatherer, we try to emulate the situation that our ancestors had when looking for food, so we will eat all kinds of vegetables, fruits, roots, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, seafood … and we will exclude from our menu legumes, dairy products, sugars, grain products (pasta, bread, flour, rice …) and all processed products.
Why should we eat like this?
For much of the evolutionary period of our species, more than two million years, our body has been forged with this diet; we can say that we are built based on these foods. Cereals, legumes and dairy are known only 10,000 years ago, which in the evolutionary period is not a significant time, so we do not assimilate these foods well or tolerate them (celiac or lactose intolerant). Our genetics remains practically the same as 60,000 years ago. That is why we choose this type of food, since we are prepared to eat like this, we are made in this way.
Which foods are the healthiest?
It seems a coincidence, but it is not, that since man discovered agriculture and livestock appeared diseases such as allergies, acne, cancer, diabetes, obesity, infertility, hypertension … (1) They are all a consequence of our diet and our new customs and that until then these diseases were not known. Below I will explain the most negative points of the types of foods named above:
The first question we have to ask ourselves is: Which mammal continues to drink milk after the breastfeeding period? The answer is that only humans, and only for a few thousand years. That is why it is not surprising that 65% of the world population is lactose intolerant, which is a clear indicator that something is not working as it should.
Milk is considered a “superfood” that quickly grows the offspring of mammals, develops the immune system and gives us the boost we need to start living like the rest. This magical drink, loaded with hormones and proteins, stimulates growth by raising the levels of a hormone called IGF-1, but this does not happen only with the offspring, but the same happens to adults, and high levels of this hormone are related to tumors and cancer.
In addition to drinking cow’s milk we include in the diet without giving us bovine insulin, something that our immune system recognizes as strange and creates antibodies of the same. This causes us to become resistant to insulin; we are one step away from diabetes and obesity. Also due to the immunological interaction we have talked about, milk is related to allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Cereals and pulses
The biggest problem with these two types of food is what is known as the “leaky gut syndrome”. (2) This is a problem in that our intestine is full of harmful and non-harmful bacteria, to simplify, and if we have our receptive (permeable) intestine these bacteria will enter our body freely through the walls of the intestine and circulate through the intestine. no problem.
At the time this phenomenon occurs, our defense system responds with a low-grade systemic inflammation, which leads to cardiovascular, autoimmune and cancer diseases. If you live continuously with this type of phenomena you will have a chronic systemic inflammation and also many ballots to touch one of the diseases mentioned. Anyway, the intestine has a very quick cure to this syndrome; you can have it permeable on a day in which you have eaten rice, bread, pasta, etc. And the next day have it perfectly if you remove cereals and legumes from your menu.
Another problem they have is their high glycemic index, which when consuming this type of carbohydrates the blood glucose level is triggered and we need an insulin response to regulate it. This leads to obesity, diabetes and also the fact of living between “insulin mountains” causes the energy to fluctuate constantly. However with the Paleo diet you have constant energy throughout the whole day, and you do not feel those downs, because the body is also used to using fat as an energy source.
In a Paleo style diet, that up to 10% of the daily calories come from saturated fat does not pose any risk to our health, the risk is given when combined with high glycemic index foods. And this is something that nature itself shows, there is no natural food high in fat and with a high glycemic index at the same time, it does not exist. In these times not only eat hamburgers with sugary bread but we have invented authentic bombs of sugar, flour and fat at the same time. With this I do not mean that you cannot eat veal tenderloin with fruit in the dessert, since the fruits provide carbohydrates that do not have a high glycemic index, since the fructose they contain is easily assimilated and does not need a large amount of insulin to process it.
How will I get calcium without consuming dairy products?
It seems that it is a collective fear, leaving dairy products to decalcify us, well; It turns out that dairy products, while providing us with some calcium, decalcify us, such as salt, sugar, vinegar and our friends’ processed foods. In addition to this, cereals and legumes have the so-called “anti-nutrients” that hinder the absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, etc.
However, we must remove that fear of leaving dairy products aside, since the foods that provide the most calcium are sesame, almonds, blue fish, eggs, green vegetables and algae. So if you follow the Paleo diet every day you are ingesting calcium. A good example of this are the tribes of the Amazon which are 100% Paleo and their women despite having many children, they never decalcify.
But do not you eat a lot of animal fat with Paleo?
This is true, but I have explained above that saturated fat can account for up to 10% of daily calories without health problems. But it is also important to note that the fat of an industrial farm animal is not the same as that of an animal raised in the wild with good food. With the Paleo diet when eating more fat than usual we should try to avoid as much as possible consuming meat or eggs from industrial animals, and do so from animals raised in an ecological way. As it will not always be possible to consume this type of meat as it is more expensive, we can consume lean meats such as turkey, chicken or lean cuts of beef or pork, and a couple of times a week treat us to a hamburger or more “ecological” bacon strips. As for eggs in Spain, it’s easy,
Benefits of the paleo diet
- Better physical performance
- Stable levels of blood sugar.
- Optimization of the use of grease as fuel.
- Loss of body fat.
- Increase in muscle mass.
- Allergy reduction
- Improvement in the appearance of the skin.
- Stable energy, not fluctuating.
- Improvement of sleep
- Abdominal disinflammation.
- Reduction of hunger between meals.
- Improvement of mood
- Reduction of the risk of suffering from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.
If you want to start with the paleo diet I recommend not to start all at once and do it in a way that every week you take away one of the “harmful” foods mentioned above and little by little become more Paleo. Anyway, eating 85% paleo is already considered quite strict, so allow yourself some whim weekly or include some milk in the morning. Welcome caveman!