Tens of thousands of years ago life was very physical and challenging. There was no refrigeration, preservatives, microwaves or the pizza delivery dude. Back then wild-game meat was leaner than supermarket cuts today and rich in protein, creatine, essential minerals and vitamin B12, while lipid and nutrient dense organs were a premium. Moreover, roots, tubers, leaves, insects, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables were the “low hanging diet fruit” of that time providing vitamins A, C, and B vitamins. Fish and other aquatic foods providing brain enhancing omega-3 fats were on our mind and highly prized and much of vitamin D was generated internally powered by sunlight.
So how do we eat this way today? For those of us looking to hit the diet reset button, we can follow paths mapped out by Paleo and Primal Diets. However, it will take a little less than two pan hoots and a grunt to align discover that they are highly similar culinary compasses. That’s because both diets allow for all meats including beef, pork, chicken and turkey in addition to game meats like bison, deer and elk which should be grass-fed and organic or raised without hormones. Meanwhile eggs and fresh and frozen seafood is welcome in any cave kitchen especially salmon and shellfish like shrimp and crab. All vegetables are allowed as they are fresh or frozen fresh, but not canned or fried and nuts (including nutbutters made without sugar), seeds and fruits are fine. One of the only forks in the de-evolved dietary path is dairy. The Paleo Diet discourages dairy foods while Primal followers can consume full-fat dairy products, such as butter, cream and full-fat yogurt with focus on non-homogenized, raw dairy from pastured animals.
Both the Paleo and Primal Diets offer some contrasts to modern recommendations. For instance, grain based foods, even whole grains, are not included in either diet thereby reducing a large glucose carbohydrate food category as well as gluten provider. On the other hand, red meat, whole eggs, saturated fats and cholesterol are embraced by the Paleo Diet with the saturated fat viewed as a primitive energy source and cholesterol as the vital precursor molecule for important hormones like testosterone and even the steroid-like vitamin D. So, both Paleo and Primal Diets focus on real foods, delivering a bounty of nutrient that can serve an active lifestyle. While some nutrient levels fall outside of general nutrition recommendations, for more active populations this doesn’t seem to be an issue. So it might be exactly what the doctor didn’t order but exactly what you need.