When in doubt think, "What would cave people eat?"
If our cave dwelling ancestors could only see the people and pantries of today, they would for sure think we were aliens. The obesity epidemic can be blamed on many things, but a major factor is technology interfering with foods. People consume foods that stain their clothes, and beverages that dissolve teeth (not kidding). Boxes contain ingredients that pretty much constitute a foreign language. You may not even be aware that science has allowed for the manipulation and creation of foods that make our brains fiend for more, causing overindulgence and weight gain. I won’t even get into cancer causing preservatives.
While studying nutrition in college, I realized most healthy guidelinesessentially boiled down to eating like a cave person. So what does this mean? Simply put, did cave people:
- mill and bleach grains including rice and wheat, or even make bread for that matter?
- store things in cans or boxes for months to years?
- dye things neon because it might be more appealing for their kids to eat?
- have sugar factories?
- deep fry foods in vats of grease?
- make carbonated drinks to enjoy on a warm summer day?
- have a cow in the cave and make dairy products?
I believe a second grader could tell you, “no way!” I know it seems outrageous to cut bread, rice/grains, dairy, sweets, and anything in a box, bottle or can with preservatives out of your life, but I just want you to think for a minute the next time you order a meal or go food shopping.
Choices that aren’t that extreme but can bring you closer to the idolized cave person include, but are not limited to:
- Obviously whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices
- Yes, they ate meat and probably eggs too, but it’s likely not every meal
- If you can’t live without rice, choose brown
- If you can’t live without bread, choose whole wheat or multigrain
- Alternative non-dairy milk/products like almond
- Drink nature’s good ol’ water, or freshly squeezed juices or tea
- Replace creamy salad dressings (even the nonfat ones) with a splash oflemon/lime/vinegar and olive oil
- If you must buy a can, box, or bottle please read the label for the fewest ingredients with the least amount of Greek words.
The Paleo Diet is based on this concept, but I don’t want to call this a diet. Yes, if you make these changes you will no doubt shed pounds, but the concept of a diet is short lived, and this should be a lifestyle choice in order to reap all the antioxidant, cancer fighting, life long benefits. We are only human, so it’s about moderation and healthy choices. I’m not the food nazi, I do enjoy foodie restaurants and dessert too, if its worth it, it’s worth it, I’m human! In turn, I do opt to make my meals at home, as well as most breakfasts and lunches with the guidelines above in mind. I understand life can be hectic and if you dine out every meal, you should be able to make a cave person proud with at least one meal a day.
Here are some great paleo recipes, with very few ingredients that keep things as close to Nature as possible: https://athleticmuscle.net/paleo-diet-recipes/. Enjoy!