WTF is the Paleo Diet?!

     Lately everyone seems to be talking about the Paleo Diet, and there is enough varying information out there to make you completely mental. If you’ve searched the Internet, then by now you’ve probably already realized that no one really agrees to it’s specifics. This is because no one who was around 10,000 years ago left us a food journal to evaluate, and; most likely, our Paleolithic Ancestors living on the equator probably ate differently from our Ancestors living at the North pole. One thing that everyone can agree upon is that they weren’t eating McDonalds or Chips Ahoy!  The truth of the matter is that “Paleo” is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. This is because it only considers the types of foods consumed and their effects on health and performance, without prescribing specific quantities. Barry Sears’ Zone Diet, by contrast, prescribes a specific macronutrient quantity for each individual based on lean body mass and activity level. In theory, the Zone Diet does not restrict any particular food types, and there have been reports of people doing the Zone with beer and steak (not recommended).

What everyone should be able to agree upon is that we are not eating the same way that our parents, or even grandparents did. About 50 years ago we began consuming radically more sugar and saturated fat while at the same time replacing our daily activities from survival and hard labor to watching T.V. and using the computer, and this has had a devastating effect on our health. The premise is that for the vast majority of our evolutionary history mankind was hunter/gatherers. The recent invention of agriculture introduced an easy to produce, high calorie, low nutrient food source permitting a dramatic rise in the human population; foods that provide enough energy to live but, not to thrive optimally.

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The “PaleoDiet”, is a nutrition strategy based on the concept of adapting our food choices as closely as possible to those of our ancestors.  At it’s foundation is the types of foods that we put into our bodies. The theory goes that our genes were carefully selected to survive in a primitive environment and to do so on natural food sources only. These are the foods that our body was designed to survive and thrive on. However, apart from Sabre-tooth Tigers, our ancestors had another problem to contend with-famine. Since we have a radically different problem, surplus, we must be more conscious of our intake. This is why we have adapted The Zone guidelines to the Paleo Principles for optimum results.