In the last several months there has been much buzz about this “new” diet, called the Caveman Diet or the Paleolithic diet.
I’m not sure how “new” it really is, given that it refers to the timeframe during the Paleolithic period from about two million years ago up to about 10,000 years ago.
As you can imagine, two million years ago, the food options available were more limited than what we have available today. The basics of the diet are lean meats, wild-grown vegetables, fruit, and nuts.
The diet doesn’t include anything that was not around during that time including grains, legumes or dairy as part of the diet. It should go without saying but I will mention it here no cookies, candy, pastries, pastas, processed foods or meats.
The research on the Paleolithic diet is quite interesting, showing comparisons between the vitamins and minerals content in food, as well as the amount and type of food that was eaten during cavemen times and today.
The basic conclusion was the food that was eaten during the Paleolithic period was more nutrient-dense and created better overall health then the Standard American Diet of today, which generally consists of highly processed foods, grains, junk food, meats and a few vegetables or fruits.
It is also important to note that the lifestyle of the caveman was much more physical, so the amount of food they took in during the day was more, because they using more energy everyday than today’s activities.
On this diet people are eating meats that are raised on grass and natural food sources instead of grain feed, with hormone-injected meat. This type of meat tends to be leaner, less saturated fats, and have more balanced essential fatty acids.
Vegetable and fruits are in season, locally grown with no wax or pesticides. Nuts are eaten raw, no salt or roasting. The amount of fiber from plant foods creates better heart health, lower risks for certain cancers. If anyone is overweight the changes in the diet will cause weight loss as well.
One study took a group of generally healthy people and put them on the caveman diet for 10 days. The results were incredible.
The participants experienced improved blood pressure and better ability to manage blood sugar in the body.
This happened without any weight loss. It happened with changing the types of food the person puts into their body. It's a wonderful example of how even “healthy” people, people without any diagnosed disease can improve their bodies ability to operate better, by focusing on more nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis.
The take-home message is that the more high quality food you can eat the more you are investing in your own great health.
Dr. Daemon Jones is a naturopathic physician who treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients. She is the author of "Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living." Visit Dr. Dae's website at www.healthydaes.com.