They may have been hulking, hirsute and horrible, but you can’t deny that the Cavemen of our prehistoric past were eating more healthily than any of us today.
Without access to convenient, processed meals, our troglodyte ancestors were forced to eat anything they could hunt or find – meats, fish, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and vegies. Instead of counting calories, they were counting their abdominal muscles.
In essence, the Paleo diet (referring to the diet of the Palaeolithic era) means eating like a Neanderthal. If you can’t grow it or kill it, then you can’t eat it. Simple stuff. Nothing from a can or a packet. “Oh Lord”, I hear you mutter, “not another diet plan”. Although it may sound like another fad marketing ploy, it’s actually quite legit. Think about it:
Average Palaeolithic Homo-sapien: Muscular, lean, athletic, versatile (in other words, a verifiable bronzed Adonis).
Average Modern-day Homo-sapien: Overweight, out of shape, stressed out, unhappy, sleep-deprived and toddling off the coil from myriad preventable diseases.
The central point of the Paleo diet is that human beings still have not adapted to eating so much grain-based foods. Until only a few thousand years ago (some evolutionary biologists have surmised that humans have been around for about 100,000 years) we were hunter-gatherers, and we adapted to that lifestyle. We were not farmers. But since the agricultural revolution our eating habits have changed dramatically, but our genes have not. This diet is designed as an effort to retrograde our eating habits to how we’re biologically designed to eat – tapping into our genetic potential and instigating an instant health-kick.
To simplify: no grains and no dairy. “But I just LOVE bread and I love ICE CREAM even more!” Well, so do I, but they call it a cheat meal for a reason. In the meantime, you can gorge yourself on steak, whole BBQ chickens, fish and eggs, any vegetable you want (as long it’s not tempura or deep-fried), all the fruits in paradise, and bags of nuts (you can even go salted on these).
These foods are so nutritious, it’s almost impossible to overeat. I’m giving it a go for a few weeks in the lead up to summer so I can look like a Greek statue when running along the beach.