People in the Stone Age or Paleolithic era are generally depicted as being healthier and more nimble than today’s humans, and rarely suffered from the diseases that afflict most of us. The secret to the cavemen’s athletic physique: their bare-bones diet called the Paleo diet. Also called the Hunter-Gatherer diet, it consisted of foods that were available at the dawn of civilization.
The healthier Paleo diet was all but forgotten when, going into a new era, humans discovered the delights of cooking. Cooking foodstuff to make them tender yielded many benefits, such as making storage and transport of foods easier. But cooking what was previously eaten raw or lightly cooked by the cavemen increased the foods’ calorie content two-fold or more.
Cooking also gave rise to many unnatural and thus unhealthy practices of preparing foods. Humans learned to eat potatoes, beans and grains which the cavemen found hard to bite into when raw. Preservation and processing deprive foods a lot of their minerals and vitamin contents, as well as add harmful additives into them.
It has been ascertained time and again that the modern diet makes us prone to such “diseases of civilization” as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart ailments. This happens because our immune system does not benefit from fried and processed foods that have no or very little nutritional value. Foods under this category as those cooked in oils and fats, sweetened with sugar and salted generously.
Back to nature
As the universal craze for health and fitness raged, people came to realize that the most effective way is to return to nature which in turn means going back to the caveman’s diet.
In a Paleo diet, the foods of choice are those available for hunting and gathering during the Stone Age. These include meat, fish, fowls, eggs, vegetables, roots and berries. Foods that came in use after the agriculture revolution such as grains, dairy, sugar and salt are out. For drinking, try to find water from natural springs or at least water that has not been chlorinated or added fluoride. You can have coconut water or organic green tea but not any other beverages. For example, coffee was not yet grown during the Stone Age.
The foods in the Paleo diet are naturally high in fiber, which is essential in combating cholesterol, diabetes and in preventing constipation and other bowel problems. Those who want to lose weight needs lots of fiber in their diet, the same way they need less carbohydrates. The reason is a low-carbohydrate diet is also associated with reduction of risks for heart disease.
The Paleo diet is also noted for the control of allergies because of the absence of the proteins casein and gluten in the foods under it. Gluten is derived from dairy and casein comes from wheat but both disrupt the immune system when consumed. These two proteins are among the primary causes of allergic reactions to foods. The other foods that are capable of producing allergic reactions are peanuts, soy and certain types of seafood such as crabs and prawns.