Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking. “He’s changed his mind AGAIN!” or “so this is his latest fad?” or “so what can we cook for him now?” And yes I understand, but look I’m still trying to figure this nutrition, digestion and energy equation out too!
How did this come about? Well, in a slightly unrelated fashion…
Two days ago I was browsing in one of my local charity bookshops (there are many) and I sort of knew I shouldn’t have done this, in the sense that I’m always going to find more books to add to my increasingly creaky bookshelves.
So I picked up a book on language learning (note this is unrelated as I’m not planning on speaking ‘Caveman’ just yet) as well as ‘Wheat Belly’ by William Davis MD. I was familiar with this book in that I’d visited the author’s website before and noted he had strong opinions on wheat. He’s the anti-wheat! He hates it!
So I started reading and the gist I’ve got from the first chapter is that the wheat crops have been genetically modified over the latter half of the twentieth century for the benefit of farmers. In Dr Davis’s words “modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human”.
He talks from the perspective of a cardiologist who has transformed his patients’ lives by putting them on no-wheat diets and seen them lose weight (maybe there is a magic bullet for weight loss after all?) and most remarkably seen diabetics transform in to non-diabetics! Note: “whole wheat bread (glycemic index 72) increases blood sugar as much as or more than table sugar or sucrose (glycemic index 59). Glucose increases blood sugar to 100, hence a glycemic index of 100.” So he figured the most efficient way to reduce his diabetic patients’ blood sugar was to remove wheat from their diet.
So food for thought (yeah pun intended!) and fast forward 24 hours later, I find a website called Nerd Fitness. I ventured over as I heard it’s for skinny people like me who don’t love the idea of training with Muscle Marys at the gym. However, I discovered it’s more than that, it’s aimed at ALL people wanting to get fit, lose weight, build muscle and it’s written in a really, quirky, funny and yes nerdy way! It’s run by a guy called Steve and he’s a big advocate of the Paleo diet. So my natural curiosity kicked in, I read a few of the articles on his site, signed up for his newsletter and downloaded his ‘Beginners Guide to the Paleo Diet’.
So this is what I know about the Paleo diet
It’s had plenty of mainstream coverage but as a quick recap, the name comes from the Paleolithic period aka The Stone Age when humans were hunter-gatherers and Friday night takeaway consisted of wild boar, asparagus tips, walnuts and blueberries. So on this diet you can eat meat (preferably grass-fed rather than grain-fed), fish (preferably wild rather than farmed), vegetables, fruits and nuts.
This cuts out grains such as wheat and oats and limits sugar to those found in fruits.
So why might this be a good idea?
Well the average caveman back then was lean, agile, muscular and athletic (I’m willing to take the word of scientists and historians on this), whilst the Average Joe now is overweight (I believe my own eyes for this!), stressed-out, sleep-deprived and suffering a myriad of health issues (think diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome to name three).
The cavemen didn’t farm, so didn’t grow crops such as rice and wheat and instead hunted animals and gathered up plants, fruits and nuts.
Gluten in wheat, barley and rye appears to cause various problems for people . Intolerances may be born out of the fact that these grains are relatively new additions to our diet (don’t shoot the messenger here but it’s worth thinking about).
Interestingly, natural toxins called lectins are produced in grains in order to prevent consumption. The grains are trying to stop us from eating them! These lectins may be causing issues for us in our gastrointestinal tract. Yikes!
If you are looking to lose weight then it may be worth your while considering going paleo. As you will be eating less grain-based carbohydrates it means you will produce less glucose and therefore your body will burn more fat to create energy whilst also meaning you won’t store excess glucose as fat.
I need to gain weight rather than lose it but I’m going to give this a go for 30 days to see if I feel more energetic and to see if it has any benefits for my digestive health and my skin.
Why not join me in the experiment for 30 days?
P.s. see image below for my first paleo-inspired meal!