The multiple diets that exist are currently one of the most recurrent topics when writing or talking about nutrition, one very widespread in recent years is known as the evolutionary diet, or paleo diet, I already wrote about it in this post some time ago, but now I want to add other concepts.
I'm afraid the "paleo" label leaves the actual concept of this eating plan without meaning, takes it to a very superficial level, and runs the risk of being easily rejected.
And it is that our organism is human, obviously, and has developed and evolved in step with our evolution, from the first hominids to the evolved humans that we are now.
Throughout thousands and thousands of years, human beings have been adapting to changes, during the Paleolithic period, we hominids were nomads and we ate what we hunted and collected, then a major climate change occurred (last ice age) and, probably As a consequence of that, we created settlements and became sedentary, it is what we know as Neolithic, we started with agriculture and livestock and the first settlements appeared (sedentary human settlements).
Paleolithic meaning "ancient stone" goes from the appearance of the first hominids to 10.000 BC. Humans were hunter-gatherers and nomads.
Neolithic means "new stone", it was developed from 9000 BC to 3000 BC, when the appearance of writing occurred. Agriculture begins and later cattle ranch, the first population settlements appear.
During the Neolithic, thanks to the first crops, there was more food and it was easier to obtain, it was no longer necessary to hunt a bison or a wild horse to eat, although surely some continued to do so.
Changes in diet and habits brought changes for us, we began to consume foods that we had never eaten before, cereals became an important part of the diet and a little later, milk too.
All these techniques were improving and throughout the centuries they were spreading and consolidating throughout the planet.
The Neolithic revolution brought about a great change for humanity, human beings went from being hunter-gatherers to sedentary farmers.
The beginning of agriculture and livestock, marked a turning point in the history of humanity, brought good things, and some bad.
The population increased, this was a good thing, the main reason being that there was more food available.
But it is known that the type of food available changed, from eating meat, seafood, insects and plants, to consuming cereals and later dairy products.
It is important to understand that the Paleolithic was a very long period, from 2,59 million years ago, until about 10000-12000 years ago, from Hominization to the agricultural revolution (Neolithic), it is definitely the longest period of our evolution .
On the other hand, since the beginning of the Neolithic revolution until today, only 12.000 years have passed, and that is nothing, therefore, we have evolved and lived much longer as nomadic hunter-gatherers than as sedentary farmers and ranchers.
Our body of human beings has evolved within this framework and it is this lifestyle that is undoubtedly natural and most appropriate for it.
Eating real food, connecting to nature, respecting our circadian rhythm, that's the evolutionary diet.
On this the evolutionary diet or Paleolithic diet is based, on living and eating in a similar way to how our ancestors did, those who lived during the Paleolithic.
Okay, I know, it is impossible to go out in the mountains to hunt bison, obviously it is not about that, it is more about translating it into our current life.
How is our current life?
We spend many hours sitting and eat many products instead of food, something that is nothing like what our ancestors did.
Also, we eat at all hours, have you ever stopped to think that hunter-gatherers had no food at their fingertips all day?
What is this about being in the office and getting up from the chair at any time to get a snack from a vending machine? And being at home taking trips to the fridge? Do you think it is something natural and intrinsic to the human being?
The answer is more than obvious, NO.
We all have an internal clock, our biological clock permanently connected to the cycles of nature.
Another thing that our ancestors did not have was a clock, you may be wondering what is important in that, well, because not having a clock and living connected to nature is what marked the rhythm of their lives.
Today there are still those who neglect the importance of sunlight, and how it affects our biorhythm.
Exposing ourselves to sunlight and adapting to the twilight when it gets dark, avoiding screens and darkening the light in our home can help us keep our natural biorhythms working.
The human biorhythm is defined as "Periodic cycle of physiological phenomena that in people can be translated into feelings, attitudes or states of mind repeated from time to time".
In the same way that adapting to solar cycles will make us feel better, taking those natural cycles into account when eating will also improve our health.
Our body is connected and adapted to follow these cycles, day and night, but also the seasonal changes caused by the rotation of the earth and its journey around the sun.
These cycles are decisive in the production of certain hormones, the functioning of our digestive system or the regulation of body temperature.
In an evolutionary diet, adapting your diet to your internal clock is basic.
We already have the ingredients for our evolutionary diet, eat real food eliminating all kinds of industrial processes, respect circadian rhythms, eat a maximum of 3 times a day, and do not eat if you are not hungry.
On the other hand, eliminate cereals and legumes, the reason for this is that they favor intestinal permeability, although as I told you here!, there are techniques to reduce its harmful effects.
If we talk about an evolutionary or paleo diet, legumes and cereals are excluded, as well as dairy products, since they are foods that were not consumed in that period of our history.
The option is to consume vegetable drinks and prepare products derived from them, there are those who make an exception in this regard and consume whole grass-fed dairy products, ghee and raw milk cheeses.
One of the keys to the evolutionary diet is to eliminate industrial processed products and connect with nature.
What is the evolutionary diet (paleo diet):
Proteins from meat, fresh fish and eggs. (If the meat can be grass and wild fish, much better).
Obtaining carbohydrates from vegetables, greens and roots, consuming fresh fruits and berries.
Nuts and foods that provide healthy fats are highly appreciated such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, ghee, etc.
It promotes the use of spices and fresh herbs to give flavor and color to dishes, but above all to take advantage of its many benefits.
In summary and adapted to our current life:
- Avoid processed and ultra-processed ones (they are NOT food).
- Eat only real food.
- Adjust meals to your biological clock, respect natural cycles.
- Be active, NOT sedentary.
- Avoid cereals and legumes (they were NOT during our evolution).
- Avoid or limit dairy products a lot (If you decide to take them, only whole and high quality, fresh milk, raw milk cheeses, butter and ghee).
Would you be able to eat only 3 times a day?
The bases of an evolutionary diet and the bases of what is known as chrononutrition are closely related, it can be said that they go hand in hand and that is how they make the most sense.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had a much wilder lifestyle than ours, they were nomads and they had to earn food with their effort, they did not have it within reach like we do.
Processed products did not exist and they did not have watches. Nowadays it is much discussed if all this can be transferred to our current rhythm of life, I think so.
Focusing on food and not products, exercising and ensuring a good rest are key points to improving health.
The basis of all this reasoning is that our genetics are not adapted to many aspects of our current life, such as the consumption of ultra-processed foods, excess empty carbohydrates, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, lack of contact with nature, our schedules , etc.
We can try to change our customs with small gestures that will improve our health.
✔️Reduce the number of daily intakes, 3 is a good start.
✔️ Follow a varied diet, low in carbohydrates, with healthy fats, with spices, with nuts, with seeds and roots.
✔️Eat real food, not industrial products of indecipherable origin.
✔️If you like sweets, honey, dates or fresh fruits. (Except in some diseases such as insulin resistance or diabetes, among others).
✔️Connect with nature, it is there, it surrounds us, go find it if it is not nearby, take advantage of everything it gives you. Any natural landscape will help you, the sea, the mountains, the river, a beautiful park in your city.
✔️Take the sun, do not be afraid of it, try to do it every day and for a while without chemical barriers, without filters that contain toxic substances, 10-15 minutes of sun will not do you any harm. Take your sunglasses off for a while, let the light through your retina.
✔️Do sports, if you can, also outdoors, make sure your life is active, do not limit yourself to training 1 hour in the gym, walk, climb stairs, play with your children.
✔️Sleep between 7 and 8 hours every day, respect your breaks, avoid stress.
The evolutionary diet has advantages over others, but it involves a learning process.
Benefits of the evolutionary diet over other diets:
- The Paleolithic diet promotes the consumption of low-glycemic foods.
- Any ultra-processed product should be avoided in this plan.
- Studies reveal beneficial effects of this diet on cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- It can improve anthropometric markers such as body weight and perimeters.
- Some studies suggest that the evolutionary or paleo diet decreases insulin resistance and improves glucose tolerance compared to the Mediterranean diet and the diabetes diet.
Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study
- PMC The Effect of Dietary Glycaemic Index on Glycaemia in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients March 19 2018.