The second half of my post title today is there quite deliberately to grab your attention and little else.
Turns out that, although the popular shortening of the term describing a prehistoric period is Paleo when it is applied to a diet, it does not translate to the full dictionary correct word which is Palaeolithic .
No one uses the correct spelling when they are referring to the Paleolithic diet! (Note the missing a)
In other posts I have explained from where, in history, the Paleo diet can trace its origins (also called the caveman diet) but I have never explored more fully the root word and the context that it gives. I thought that for our wider education and a wee bit of fun it might be quite interesting to do that today, and give just a wee bit of a deeper insight into the Palaoelithic period!
Our Tribe and Genus
The Palaeolithic Period relates to the time in history when the genus Homo, of the tribe Homonina, started to exhibit signs of using stone tools. This used to be thought to be only about 2.8 million years ago. But in 2015, fossil evidence was discovered in Africa which has since extended this significantly to 3.3million years ago.
Modern Humans – Homosapiens
Around 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago the species Homo Erectus (the first bipedal species to develop within genus Homo) started to leave and spread out from Africa into Eurasia. But one sub species, sometimes called Homo Ergaster, stayed in Africa. By 200,000 years ago they had developed into the species we know today as Homo Sapiens. They had gone beyond earlier use, to more sophisticated and more plentiful use, of stone tools, as well as utilising fire, primitive clothing and developing primitive methods of cooking.
Hunter Gatherer to Farmer
From 3.3 million years ago until the origin of Homosapiens, around 200,000 years ago, and then for about another 190,000 years, these branches of the tribe Hominina were all hunter-gatherers.
About 10,000 years ago the species Homosapiens started to show early signs of cultivation or farming. The first signs of food processing (grains ground between stones to produce a rudimentary flour) appear only about 6,000 years ago and even later, around 3-4,000 years ago in what is now Western Europe and the British Isles.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is inspired by the hunter-gatherer period of human development pre cultivation and early food processing and it is often, for obvious reasons called the Caveman Diet.
Its basic premise is that man’s digestive system was developed through eating natural foods for about 3.1 million years. Its thesis is that to expect that the human digestive system could adjust over this relatively rapid period (in evolutionary terms) of 6-10,000 years, taking into account the significant adaptations that cultivation, processing and genetic modification have brought in that time, is highly unrealistic. Hence, the foods which are removed from the menu are those which appeared in the lat 10,000 years.
Paleo avoids, anything which does not fit this thesis. In the main this means that grains, pulses, legumes, tubers, processed carbohydrates and dairy are off the menu.
The reason that this all works for me is that I have discovered that my gut and bowel are largely intolerant of these things (perhaps giving truth to the premise stated above?) I feel healthier and considerably less irritated and bloated when I avoid these foodstuffs.
While I am an advocate of the Paleo Diet (it works for me) I am in no way an evangelist for the Paleo Diet. I believe that the main thing we need to think about is that we are getting enough nutrition, that we are eating as much as possible, healthy and fresh food and that we should always avoid where possible anything that is processed or at least over processed.
The latter means also that when sourcing proteins (fish, poultry, beef, pork and lamb) it is necessary to avoid anything but grass fed or free-range meats or non farmed fish (farm fish is lower in healthy omega 3 oils and higher in unhealthy omega 6 oils because of the way that they are bred in captivity and fed on processed meal).
Why Dieting Doesn’t Work
While I happily subscribe to dietary regimes as healthy eating plans, I am not an advocate of dieting per se.
The reason for this is that I do not believe that dieting works in terms of sustaining results. This why on my Blog I rarely discuss the Paleo Diet, but rather will talk about the Paleo Lifestyle.
To me, and I believe to others subconsciously, a diet infers deprivation and many diets leave people feeling hungry and frustrated hence they rarely sustain any early results.
Healthy Habits Are Key
While I choose Paleo, because it has a healthy base and it fits my physiology and metabolism, the key is healthy fresh ingredients, in whatever diet, along with balance in eating, sleeping and regular appropriate exercise.
Each person should research and find out what works for them and before making drastic changes to any of the items listed in the last paragraph, consult with a doctor (particularly anyone with a significant pre-existing health condition or in the stages of pregnancy).
For me this probably the most important word on the page!
Lifestyle choices can and do sustain and maintain weight loss and generally better health if they are approached on the basis of well-thought-out balance.
This means adjusting those key components listed in healthy factors above until the balance is achieved by the individual. In my view if you are not happy with the formula you arrive at then this is a strong clue that it is not the right formula.
It is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy that if you don’t like what you are doing then at sometime you are highly likely to stop doing it. This does not mean that everything you do to achieve a healthier lifestyle will always be pleasant; there is some necessary pain for gain. But happiness is usually achieved through the results of that short term pain.
A Common Sense Approach
I suspect that here, as in most of my posts on this site, I will have told you very little that you do not know. What I hope to have done is to have repackaged some information to remind your and give you the confidence to go and work out what is right for you.
If the Paleo lifestyle is one that you choose to follow, then you will find a head start here with the Paleo Food List For Beginners
I hope that you have found this useful whatever your choice of dietary regime.
P.S. If this post has inspired you to become a Blogger yourself, you can find out how to do just that, by clicking here.
This includes an easy FREE method to get started and FREE hosting of a website upon which to base your Blog.