Most nutritionists consent that the Paleo diet gets at least one thing right—cutting down on processed foods that have been highly modified from their raw state through various methods of preservation. Examples include white bread and other refined flour products, artificial cheese, certain cold cuts and packaged meats, potato chips, and sugary cereals. Such processed foods often offer less protein, fiber and iron than their unprocessed equivalents, and some are packed with sodium and preservatives that may increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Five roots, both bitter and sweet, are staples in the Hiwi diet, as are palm nuts and palm hearts, several different fruits, a wild legume named Campsiandra comosa, and honey produced by several bee species and sometimes by wasps. A few Hiwi families tend small, scattered and largely unproductive fields of plantains, corn and squash. At neighboring cattle ranches in a town about 30 kilometers away, some Hiwi buy rice, noodles, corn flour and sugar. Anthropologists and tourists have also given the Hiwi similar processed foods as gifts (see illustration at top).
A great question to ask is “Does the Paleo diet work?” Here we have a head to head comparison between the Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet in insulin resistant Type 2 Diabetics. The results? The Paleo diet group REVERSED the signs and symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet showed little if any improvements. It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is generally held up by our government as “the diet to emulate” despite better alternatives. You can find an abstract and the complete paper here.
Paleo is an ancestral approach that prioritizes eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. At its core, Paleo is about trying to eat real, naturally occurring ingredients that are healthful rather than harmful. Biologically, our bodies respond best to real, whole, nutrient-dense foods like plants, meat, and seafood—all of them packed with the nutrients our bodies evolved to thrive on. It was only after industrialized food production and lab-engineered edibles took over our diets that the ”diseases of civilization“ exploded. Today, wheat, soy, sugar, and highly processed foods continue to drive up rates of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. But by getting back to eating real food, we can stay healthier and happier.
Add in the cumin, salt, cinnamon, smoked paprika and allspice and stir until the potatoes are covered. Add in the tomato paste and stir it around. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are mostly tender, but still a little under cooked, about 5-7 minutes.* Transfer them to the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly in a single layer.
Healthy, delicious, and simple, the Paleo Diet is the diet we were designed to eat. If you want to lose weight-up to 75 pounds in six months-or if you want to attain optimal health, The Paleo Diet will work wonders. Dr. Loren Cordain demonstrates how, by eating your fill of satisfying and delicious lean meats and fish, fresh fruits, snacks, and non-starchy vegetables, you can lose weight and prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, and many other illnesses.
When following the Paleo diet, you will cut the trans fats and the omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in your diet and increase the healthful monounsaturated and omega-3 fats that were the mainstays of our ancestors. Recent large population studies, known as meta analyses, show that saturated fats have little or no adverse effects upon cardiovascular disease risk.
Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan has recipes for food that you can eat every day, along with easy tips to make sure it takes as little time as possible to prepare. All recipes are made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol. Calorie-dense ingredients like dried fruit and nuts show up as flavoring, instead of primary ingredients. It will also show you how to how to mix and match basic ingredients with spices and seasonings that take your taste buds on a world tour. With 115+ original recipes and variations. The author is a popular blogger at The Clothes Make The Girl. All Amazon reviews are positive. Published December 12, 2011.
For immediate weight loss, Paleo is a great and healthy solution. But after carefully reading and considering, I’m unconvinced that Paleo is optimal for long-term health. I think, in fact, it might lead to heart disease and other ills associated with heavy meat consumption. Although many of Cordain’s theories fall apart long-term, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend the book. You should read critically and decide for yourself.
Autoimmunity is a process in which our bodies own immune system attacks “us.” Normally the immune system protects us from bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. The immune system identifies a foreign invader, attacks it, and ideally clears the infection. A good analogy for autoimmunity is the case of tissue rejection after organ donation. If someone requires a new heart, lung kidney or liver due to disease or injury, a donor organ may be an option. The first step in this process is trying to find a tissue “match”. All of us have molecules in our tissues that our immune system uses to recognize self from non-self. If a donated organ is not close enough to the recipient in tissue type the immune system will attack and destroy the organ. In autoimmunity, a similar process occurs in that an individuals own tissue is confused as something foreign and the immune system attacks this “mislabeled” tissue. Common forms of autoimmunity include Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Vitiligo to name only a tiny fraction of autoimmune diseases. Elements of autoimmunity are likely at play in conditions as seemingly unrelated as Schizophrenia, infertility, and various forms of cancer.
The final benefit we’ll discuss is a balanced dietary alkaline load. While this concept sounds complex, it’s actually quite simple: after digestion, all foods present either a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys. Meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt all produce acids, while Paleo-approved fruits and vegetables yield alkalines. A lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, an increased risk for kidney stones, and may aggravate asthma and exercise-induced asthma. The Paleo diet seeks to reduce the risk of chronic disease by emphasising a balanced alkaline load.
One larger randomized controlled trial followed 70 post-menopausal Swedish women with obesity for two years, who were placed on either a Paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) diet.  The Paleo diet provided 30% of total calories from protein, 40% fat (from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and 30% carbohydrates. It included lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. The NNR diet provided less protein and fat but more carbohydrate with 15% protein, 25-30% fat, and 55-60% carbohydrates, including foods similar to the Paleo diet but also low-fat dairy products and high-fiber grains. Both groups significantly decreased fat mass and weight circumference at 6 and 24 months, with the Paleo diet producing greater fat loss at 6 months but not at 24 months. Triglyceride levels decreased more significantly with the Paleo diet at 6 and 24 months than the NNR diet.