Kurt Harris, MD, writes about paleolithic nutrition at his highly recommended blog, www.paleonu.com.
"Eating like a caveman" has become a bit of a fad, with all the down sides that comes with fads. But behind the fad lies a large amount of research that can be and is used as evidence for the high protein and fat, low carb diet that constituted the macro-nutrient distribution of our pre-agriculture ancestor's meals. Kurt Harris is a professional, working scientist whose many skills include an ability to read the nutrition literature and research with a close eye to metabolic fact and fiction. He joins the list of many notable scientists and writers who challenge the Lipid Hypothesis first advanced by Ancel Keys in the 50s and 60s, which holds that cholesterol present in the diet constitutes a mortal threat to our cardiovascular health. From that one premise flowed the low-fat, highly-processed food craze that continues with us to this day.
One of the common mistakes that many would-be cavemen in today's world make is the desire to throw out the baby with the bathwater. That is to say, the advantages of our modern post-industrial world (at least that's what it is here in North America, for the most part) get slighted by the would-be Paleo People, who sometimes appear to believe that things were better in every way "back in the day"; no pesticides, no pollution in general, no nasty oil volcanoes in the Gulf of Mexico tainting the pristine world. Kurt Harris debunks that contention in his many posts and points the interested public in the direction of a very simple and rational approach to eating in today's world. It may seem extreme to those of us who are products of the "Low fat" 70s and 80s (and those of us who have children), but the changes are easily enough made and the benefits are, from my personal experience, well worth the adjustments.
Here is Mr. Harris' 12- step list of what to do. His advice is to go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The farther down the list you get, the healthier you will be. There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. You are not required to purchase anything specific from him or anyone else. There are no special supplements, drugs or testing required.*
1. Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks) and all foods that contain flour.
3. Eliminate gluten grains.
4. Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with Ghee, butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.
5. Favor ruminants like beef, lamb and bison for your red meat. Eat some fish.
6. Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily.
7. Try intermittent fasting or infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best). Don't graze like a herbivore.
8. Most modern fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation.
9. Eliminate legumes.
10. Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison minimizes excess Omega-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0mega-3 supplements. A teaspoon or two of Cod Liver oil is good compensatory supplementation if you stick with supermarket beef.
11. Proper exercise - emphasizing hi-intensity resistance and interval training over long, low-intensity aerobic sessions.
12. Eliminate all remaining dairy including cheese.
Now you are "Orthodox paleolithic". Good luck and happy hunting!
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