There is a lot of talk about primal and paleo, each have a number of differences between them. Bringing your daily nutrition in line with eating whole organic natural food sources, you no longer need diets and your health will improve.
When it comes to understanding a natural nutrition plan that we as humans evolved on, we need to look at our hunter/gatherer history. This period of time, also known as the Paleolithic era, spanned a couple of million years until about 10,000 years ago. During this time, it is speculated that our ancient ancestors lived off what they could find growing in the wild or they hunted regional animals as a food source. It is hard to know for sure what their exact nutrition was, but science and paleontology gives us a pretty good idea.
So what are the differences between primal eating and paleo eating? Both primal and paleo limit carbohydrates especially grains. Both nutrition plans include a higher protein intake and a very high percentage of raw veggies. The differences are small; paleo purists avoid starchy foods like potatoes, saturated fats and dairy. Primal folks are not so restrictive, so yogurt, sweet potatoes and fats can be found on the menu.
Now why is it important for you to know about and consider eating like our ancestors? Our modern diet of processed foods and our heavy reliance on corn and grains is a relatively new development. We have only been eating this more modern diet for a few hundred years. When we get back to eating the basics of our pre-agricultural time, we are more in step with how we have evolved. Remember the Paleolithic period was more than two million years long. That is a very long time to establish some serious and healthy hunting and gathering skills.
Keeping with the intent of this short nutrition series, we need to look at the three key areas that can make or break good nutrition again. Then match these key areas to the advantages of a stone-age nutrition plan.
Firstly, your eating habits are a pretty big factor in health nutrition. If you can find healthy, tasty, natural and easy to eat foods, it becomes very simple to create good eating habits.
Secondly, if it is simple, tastes good and is healthy, eating whole natural food is less of a problem when it comes to discipline. The days of killing a quart of Chunky Monkey at one sitting is over if you replace that with berries and coconut milk.
Thirdly, natural whole foods do a better job of meeting your nutritional requirements based on the fact they are more nutritionally dense. Even if you're not very active, it takes less whole foods to keep you feeling full. This makes these hunter/gather food sources more forgiving when it comes to weight gain and feeling less hungry.
It is interesting to talk to people about eating natural healthy foods and one of the first things you hear is the complaint that whole natural foods are tasteless. Here is a short list of foods that taste great and meet all the requirements of stone-age nutrition.
As you shift your nutrition from processed foods or modern corn and grain based foods, your body starts to change. You will not only see reduction in inches and weight, your digestive system becomes more efficient, energy levels increase and skin tone improves. When we think about dieting or restrictive food intake as a solution to health problems or weight concerns, these approaches tend to come with their own set of risks and issues.
Eating a basic natural set of foods that our bodies have evolved around for thousands of years makes a lot of sense. Introduction of hybridized or modified foods loaded with man-made chemicals leads your body into uncharted territory, so to speak. It is no wonder we struggle with digestive problems, metabolic disease and develop autoimmune responses.
Stone-age eating is so simple and yes it can be successfully argued our ancestors ate forms of chocolate paste, fermented dairy and various natural oils, so it is not too far fetched to wrap your mind around a Paleolithic nutrition plan.
There is at least one upside to stone-age eating in our modern culture. We are not required to hunt down a mammoth, beat it to death, and eat it raw with a selection of random veggies and nuts. Most of the foods listed above are easily found in your local supermarket or health food store. Here is a link to some great primal/paleo recipes: http://bit.ly/1K9L7Rj.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.