Why I Eat Like A Caveman

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No one would
argue that actually living in conditions similar to a caveman’s
would be beneficial for health, since lack of shelter, illness,
injuries and predators led to relatively short life spans (approximately
30 years) for early man. What the cavemen ate, however, known today
as the Paleolithic diet, was very beneficial for health. It was,
in fact, exactly what the human body was designed to eat. The Paleolithic
diet can provide anyone with a healthful eating plan, and holds
special promise for diabetics. I have type 1 diabetes, and for several
years I’ve been experiencing its benefits.

What is
the Paleolithic diet?

The Paleolithic
categorizes food into two groups, in and out.

In foods
are foods that humans ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry
(meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit,
berries, mushrooms, etc). Out, or Neolithic Era foods, are
foods that resulted from agriculture or animal husbandry.

This sweeping
cut removes a vast quantity of the foods we eat on a daily basis,
most notably grains (including pasta and bread), dairy and refined

The question
you are probably asking is why would someone eat this way?

The answer
is multi-fold. Many who eat in this manner extol the virtue of “removing
the toxins” from their highly processed diets. Others speak
of truly “getting back to their roots” in a way unlike
any other. The most fundamental reason to consider eating a Paleolithic
diet has to due with evolution.

Early man was
limited in his ability to eat many of the items in the aforementioned
out list because they are inedible in their raw state. Then a wondrous
discovery took place – fire. And with fire, previously inedible
foods became palatable. Then, about 10,000 years ago, the agricultural
revolution took place. At this juncture, our current grain-based
diet came to be. And with time came the modern staples such as flour,
bread, noodles and pasta, but the human body was unprepared for
such things.

The human genome
has been relatively stable for the past 40,000 years, requiring
little variation in diet. The breakthrough of nutrition attainability
that came with cooking and agriculture ran counter to our needs,
but was so enjoyable that it rapidly replaced our “natural”

The argument
from the Paleolithic camp centers on the rise in health issues,
disease and disabilities that some attribute to the consumption
of the formerly inedible food choices. If we simply ate like our
ancestors, instead of subsisting on the grain-based diet of today,
various ailments might be significantly reduced or non-existent
in the population.

This idea turns
the traditional food pyramid on its head, considering its foundation
is carbohydrate rich foods. And there is increasing evidence
that indicates the type of diet recommended in the USDA’s food
pyramid is discordant with the type of diet with which humans evolved.

The Paleolithic
Diet and Diabetes

Whether or
not you are on board with the notion of the Paleolithic diet being
superior to our modern Western diet, one point that cannot be dismissed
is that the diet can have very positive implications for those with
type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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24, 2010

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