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The Paleo Diet: Eating like a Caveman

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our All About Organics page.

The Paleo Diet is one of the hottest diet trends around. With celebrity followers and even high-end restaurants taking notice of Paleo principles, some might even say Paleo has gone mainstream. As the diet has grown in popularity, so too have its vocal supporters  and critics.

There's now a growing debate over whether the Paleo Diet is truly healthful or not, so I want to take a moment and shed some light on this method of eating. I thought I should comment, as many in the media describe my recommendations as Paleo, which they aren't.    

The Paleo Diet: What Is It?

While we may consider ourselves to be at the pinnacle of human development, our modern food manufacturing processes have not created a race of super-humans in possession of greater health and longevity.

Quite the contrary... Humans today suffer more chronic and debilitating diseases than ever before. And there can be little doubt that our food choices play a major role in this development.

During the Paleolithic period, many thousands of years ago, people ate primarily vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots, and meat, which varied depending on season and availability.

Based upon scientific research examining the types and quantities of foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, the foundation of "The Paleo Diet" is lean meat, including ostrich and bison as well as organ meats, seafood, fresh fruit, and non-starchy vegetables -- a far cry from the standard American diet.

Today, these staples have been largely replaced with refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cereal, bread, potatoes, and pasteurized milk products. Most Americans eat a much narrower selection of fruits, vegetables, roots, and nuts, and in lesser quantities than our "cavemen" ancestors.

"Normalizing" your system is the true strength of the so-called caveman diet. By eating foods that are concordant with your genetic ancestry, you can avoid many of the diseases associated with our modern diet, and which far too many still believe is predetermined by "bad genes." As Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet and one of the world's leading experts on Paleolithic nutrition, stated:

"The nutritional qualities of modern processed foods and foods introduced during the Neolithic period are discordant with our ancient and conservative genome. This genetic discordance ultimately manifests itself as various chronic illnesses, which have been dubbed "diseases of civilization.'

By severely reducing or eliminating these foods and replacing them with a more healthful cuisine, possessing nutrient qualities more in line with the foods our ancestors consumed, it is possible to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease."


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