The Paleolithic Diet and Syndrome X

This morning I read chapters 6 and 7 of the book entitled "Syndrome X," in anticipation of my New Year fitness challenge to follow a Paleolithic Diet to the best of my ability.

I already knew most of what it had to say, but it confirmed some things and reminded me of other things. Chapter 6 gave an overview of the Paleolithic Diet and why it is most genetically compatible with human health. It is common sense, really, if you have anything close to a belief in evolution. For millions of years, humans ate only natural foods foraged from the land, and we co-evolved with these foods. Therefore, surviving humans today are most adapted to this kind of a natural diet, due to natural selection. If this diet were unhealthy for humans, we would not have survived. It's kind of a circular logic, but it's true.

Chapter 7 of the book basically goes over the guidelines of how to be a 21st century hunter-gatherer, with the foods available to us. Most of us obviously cannot go out and hunt and gather our food every day (I'm not talking about going to the grocery store, although if you wanted to simulate a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, you could walk 3-5 miles around trip to the nearest grocery store). But we can try as much as possible to buy an eat foods that are low in carbohydrates (especially refined ones) and bad fats, but high in protein and nutrients needed for health.

Basically, the strictest form of a Paleolithic Diet would be lean meats, low starch vegetables, high fiber fruits, and some nuts. The key with the meats and fats is to consume much higher quantities of omega-3 and omega-9 fats than are typically available in most processed American foods.

Processed foods are pretty much out on this diet. It will be difficult to follow this diet 100%, but I am going to try for one month. It is not hard to stick to free range eggs, lean chicken, legumes, and any low-carb vegetables (broccoli, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.). It is harder to avoid non-Paleo snacks though. I will need to be diligent in packing leftovers, and raw nuts, for snacking.

I'll keep up the five workouts per week regimen as best I can as well. It's hard now that I am traveling for the holidays, but once I am back to the grind in early January, it will be easy.

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