What is Paleo? My Point of View
Around 2.6 million years ago homo habilis (distant relatives of yours and mine) lived in a time referred to as the Paleolithic era. An era that is very significant to the human race as this was the time when we really started to put our grey matter to the test and discovered tools. These tools were rudimentary to say the least but effective nonetheless (and most likely led to such kitchen marvels as the Ginsu knife and the spiralizer) . It was also during this time that humans started to band together forming small societies (neighbourhoods of sorts) who spent their days hunting wild game and fish, gathering plants, nuts and seeds.
Fast forward 2.5 million years (give or take several thousand years) and voila we are at present day and this blog which is about eating a diet similar to those of our ancestors; meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds and a little local fruit now and then.
To many it may seem as though the Paleo diet is “new” and another one of those fad diets. The reality of it is that many of us have been following this diet for years. Some of you may know it as “what my grandparents used to eat”. However, somewhere along the line we decided that other people knew what was best for us and allowed them to tell us what we should be eating and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately many of those decisions, made by individuals considered to be experts in the field of health, were making them in support of certain industry groups and their agendas for promotion of certain foodstuffs that were more about being shelf stable (and cheaper to produce) and less about what we need in terms of nutrition with little consideration given to our biology and where we had evolved from. It’s important that we keep evolution in mind when talking about diet (what we eat) as it is a process which has taken millions of years to get us to where we are now. And yet studies are now showing that in a matter of decades the nutritional advice many governments around the world have been providing (Canada Food Guide and the UDSA Food Pyramid, for example) in terms of what constitutes good nutrition is actually undoing those millions of years of evolution. We are now seeing diseases like Type II diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease at their highest rates ever recorded. Our diets high in grains, refined sugars, processed oils and the other common frankenfoods (you know, the ones with the list of ingredients as long as your forearm that even Google translate can’t translate; the stuff in the middle of the grocery store) have created a society that has never felt worse in a time when we should be feeling our best based on our medical and technological advancements. Instead we are living in a time when we rely on our medical systems to fix what we’ve broke (our health) by using medications and invasive surgeries. Quick fixes for our instant world instead of taking the time to really heal our bodies by eating nutrient dense food and living a lifestyle that promotes wellness.
There are many critics out there who are quick to mention that it is impossible for modern day people to eat like the “caveman” did. This is absolutely true unless someone has actually built that time machine we keep hearing about. The thing of it is this: the Paleo diet really comes down to eating the most nutrient dense foods we can get our hands on. Foods that do not come from a box, bag, can or package. We need to get back to preparing and cooking our food and making sure we teach our kids how to do this, where their food comes from and why we want to eat it. Growing up my family always ate vegetables grown in our garden in the backyard and the beef, chicken, turkey, pork and eggs came from a local farmer who was usually family. My mom and my Grandma canned fruits and vegetables every Fall which we ate all winter long. My Grandma baked bread. My mom baked cookies (really good cookies). We ate liver and spinach. So you see, I’ve been doing this most of my life but I admit I did wander off the well worn and time tested nutritional food path, for awhile.
After being fed up with feeling crappy all the time (IBS, tired, bloated, cranky from unstable blood sugars, achy joints and muscles, fighting weight gain and debilitating migraines) I decided it was time to figure out what was wrong. Fortunately I have an excellent GP who kept telling me it was the food I was eating. He didn’t have all the answers but he pointed me in the right direction and eventually I came to realize that he was right. It all came back to food. Since my revelation I’ve made a few changes to my diet over the past five years by removing grains and processed foods and most dairy. Now I move, a lot. I sleep 7 – 8 hours a night. I have an abundance of energy all day long but fall fast asleep within moments of my head hitting the pillow. Mentally I am as sharp now as I was 20 years ago. Maybe sharper. I am getting leaner and fitter by the day.
This blog is about giving you the information, knowledge and tools you need to 1. make decisions for yourself and your family about what foods you should eat that will provide you with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy and feel great, 2. understand why your current diet is probably not providing you the nourishment you need and keeping you from feeling your best and 3. realizing that this is not actually a “diet” but a way of life and is not a “one size fits all” approach and will require you to make decisions for yourself. My goal is to help everyone who wants to, feel GREAT!
I have spent many years researching the topic of nutritious food, watching videos and listening to podcasts of many people who have spent even more years than I have researching the science of nutrition and I truly believe they are onto something. And after eating and living Paleo for five years I know it. I’m living the life. I’m living my best life. I’m living a Paleo life. That is my Paleo Perspective.
Care to join me?