Paleo/Caveman and Ancestral eating for health and weight loss


The Paleolithic diet (paleo), commonly referred to as the caveman diet is one of the most popular diets in the world today.  And with good reason, it works!

In the last 100 years human nutrition has changed more than at any other time in history and the results of this change has been dramatic…increases in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis to name a few….

Going back to a Caveman diet makes a lot of sense, it eliminates many of today’s food allergens and essentially involves eating only fruit vegetables, and meat – no grains or milk.  On the assumption that cavemen were not farmers or had domesticated animals.

I am essentially a fan of the Paleo diet, for anyone eating a western food diet it would be a dramatic improvement in nutrition.  However, I also have a number of issues with it….

 

Firstly, the elimination of whole grains and raw milk.  Both grains (when correctly prepared) and raw milk are two of the best sources of nutrition available to humans on the planet.  For example, wheat germ, has been shown to reduce cancer tumours in size by over half in 2 weeks.  Raw milk is natures best source of glutathione, an antioxidant and detoxifier that helps keep us young and healthy.  The health benefits of these two major nutritional players are well documented and should not be over looked providing intolerance’s don’t exist.

Please let me reiterate, milk needs to be raw milk, as pasteurisation destroys much of the B vitamin content, enzymes and significantly reduces glutathione content. And grains, need to be in their whole form (not flour) and soaked prior to cooking or sprouting.

 

Do we really need to take our diets as far back as to the caveman?

I don’t think so.  We don’t all look like cavemen do we?  You’ve only got to look around the world to see that our genetics have adapted to our environments.  Just take skin colour for example, there is a full spectrum of colours depending on where your ancestors lived.

 

Have we not learned anything about nutrition in the last 20,000 years?

I think we have.  I also believe we should integrate the nutritional knowledge of eons into this base system of fruit, vegetables and meat.  Thereby maximising macro and micro nutrients into our diets and cells for a joyful, purpose led life.

 

Secondly, the Paleolithic diet makes no allowances for genetic individuality.

We now know our gene expression actually changes quite quickly – this is the field of epigentics.  For example, using nutrition you can change the gene expression of an animal within one generation.

Our body’s adapt to our environments and have adapted to our nutritional environment. Inuits are better suited to high fat/protein diets as their body’s adapted to living off seals.  African tribesmen are better suited to complex carbohydrates as the predominant calories in their diet came in the form of millet.

Therefore, we need to be eating right for our genetics and establish the right macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) for us!  It can be as simple as thinking about where your genetics come from and mimic the dietary ratios of your ancestors.  Therefore, I have termed, it ‘Ancestral Eating’ – meaning you predominately eat what your ancestors have eaten.

 

At BePure I like to help people fine tune this process even further, so by joining the BePure site for free you’ll get access to my special Macronutrient test which will help you establish where you sit on the genetic continuum. Click here to join for FREE.

In health and happiness
Ben Warren


 

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  1. #1 by Nick Lo on August 10, 2011 - 10:00 am

    Since I’m about to throw rocks at your article I should start with a bit of a suck up and mention that I found out about your work via the trial in Flaxmere and have pointed other people to it as a really inspiring story. Also I should say that I’m not one that defines himself as paleo/primal/caveman or any of the other terms that are used for the diet you are referring to, so my intention here isn’t to defend the flag or anything. That out the way, I’ll now pick up my rocks…

    You refer to the paleo or caveman diet as always eliminating raw milk. Is that really still the case? If we pick Mark Sisson [1] or Robb Wolf as examples, I’ve read/listened to current discussions (in fact the very latest paleo solution podcast [3] ) where they displayed quite an open mind to raw milk (and milk products) but not necessarily for consumption by all people. In fact Mark Sisson jokingly asks, on that podcast, whether our ancestors never ate mammary glands?

    Next you refer to “grains” but all grains are not equal, nor are they seen as such by the paleo community. Rice for example is one that is discussed as being much less of an anti-nutrient than say wheat is. Then your chosen example of why grains are one of “the best sources of nutrition available to humans on the planet” is based on wheat germ being “shown to reduce cancer tumours”. I’m curious though if that study (there is no reference to this study so I couldn’t check for myself) showed that it was anything specific to wheat germ or just a micronutrient that wheat germ is rich in? If so, isn’t that more indicative of the power of the micronutrient than anything exclusive to grains?

    Then “We donâ??t all look like cavemen do we?” is uncannily similar to the creationists argument that Darwin was wrong because we don’t all look like apes! It’s really a red herring in my opinion to be distracted by the “caveman” theme when there are a lot of extremely intelligent discussions going on around what, as you also mention, is better termed “ancestral health”.

    Then when you say “African tribesmen are better suited to complex carbohydrates as the predominant calories in their diet came in the form of millet” I’m left wondering what you mean by “better suited”? Better suited than if they are obligated by circumstance to eat large quantities of grain rather than meats which are clearly of higher nutritional value but a lot more scarce? Again on that note I draw your attention to another article by Mark Sisson which asks “Are Traditionally Prepared Grains Healthy?” [2]

    All in all, my concerns with this article is that it may be read as overly dismissive of a paleo diet (which I don’t think is your intention) or that all those in the paleo community are dogmatically sticking to a type of “caveman” theme which hopefully I’ve demonstrated isn’t actually the case.

    [1] http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dairy-intolerance/
    [2] http://www.marksdailyapple.com/soaked-sprouted-fermented-grains/
    [3] http://robbwolf.com/2011/08/09/the-paleo-solution-episode-92/

      

    • #2 by Ben on August 11, 2011 - 5:01 am

      Many thanks for your thoughtful comments Nick. I think we are singing from the exact same song sheet. We just have a disagreement regarding the semantics of the word Paleolithic diet. In my blog I was referring to the text book definition of the eating system – being meat, fruit and vege’s, seeds and nuts. The modern ‘branded’ Paleo diets of the Mark and Rob are a bit different again and I’m very pleased to see that both consider raw dairy and correctly processed grains as potentially beneficial foods for health. So, thank you for bringing my awareness to the fact that the main players in the paleo community are not sticking to the ‘caveman’ theme.

      Regarding grain consumption, correct preparation as you are aware is the key. When discussing African Tribesmen being ‘better suited’ to complex carbohydrates I’m referring to their autonomic nervous systems and speed of oxidisation of carbohydrates at a cellular level. I would suggest you add to your library Metabolic Typing by William Willcott and also Biochemical Individuality by Roger Williams – to learn more about this.

      The anti cancer benefits from fermented wheat germ has been isolated to be a flavone/quinone which is produced when wheat germ goes through the fermentation process with bakers yeast. It is 2,6-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone. I would recommend you jump on pubmed and search fermented wheat germ for the latest research. It is appearing that many foods that have been fermented potentially create these highly beneficial quinones.

      Thanks again Nick and keep up the great work – you are obviously very onto it! By the way, you growing your own vege’s too? Now that’s where the next step in improving nutrition is at…check out my older blog on my farm…Cheers. B

        

      • #3 by Nick Lo on August 11, 2011 - 10:04 am

        Excellent, thanks for the detailed reply Ben, I’ll add those readings to the ever increasing list. As to your question; we currently grow herbs but not vege’s, but that’s more due to space/soil quality/etc. reasons than wishes. I grew up on home grown fruit and veg so know well the benefits. Thankfully there are some excellent local farmers markets around here so we’re not left wanting for good fresh produce.

          

  2. #4 by Ben Smith on August 30, 2011 - 7:25 am

    Ha, nicely put. Really the paleolithic diet works for weight losses perfectly than other diets in recent time. You will be glad to know that I still a user of this diet and already got a lot of benefits by it. Awesome, really awesome.

      

  3. #5 by Barry Wickers on September 20, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Well i have been using diet pills because i am overweight. I am glad i landed on this article and hope to try this caveman diet. I am excited to lose weight. Thanks for the post.

      

  4. #6 by Nil jhonson on September 27, 2011 - 7:50 am

    This is an awesome diet plan which I’m still use and you will be glad to know that I got this diet strategy beneficial. Thanks dear :)

      

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