Explore Your Roots: The Paleolithic Diet
For us with diabetes, medication, diet and exercise are our weapons against complications. Many of us follow regimented treatment protocols and have highly structured workout routines. Typically, we follow these under the direction of doctors and personal trainers. However, unless we consciously seek out advice from a nutritionist (and even then I’d argue the help might actually hinder), we often we fail to consider the underlying component of essential nutrition. If we took the same time to address this overarching element with as much adherence as we do our other disciplines, our success could be exponentially greater.
There are many popular diet programs we could follow, from Atkins to Mediterranean to the Zone. However, I suggest that as a quest for balanced, essential nutrition, we look no further than our back door. For some time now I have restricted my diet under one guiding maxim: Eat only what grows naturally and that you could hunt. This is a simplistic explanation of the Paleolithic diet, also known as the “Caveman” diet. A more detailed explanation is as follows:
Eat none of the following:
Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles
Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
Eat the following:
Meat, chicken and fish
Vegetables (especially root vegetables, but definitely not including potatoes or sweet potatoes)
Nuts, eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. Do not eat peanuts (a bean) or cashews (a family of their own)
Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.
Try to increase your intake of:
Root vegetables- carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, Swedes
I have found great success with this plan. The reduction of high glycemic foods (all processed and high fructose corn based products) eliminates the spikes and plummets of energy so common for many throughout the day. I am left with a very level base of energy, feel completely satiated, and know that I am fueling my body with true quality ingredients.
A recent study examining the benefits of the Paleolithic diet over the Mediterranean diet, which allows grains and processed foods, concluded that, “If you want to prevent or treat diabetes type 2, it may be more efficient to avoid some of our modern foods than to count calories or carbohydrate.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627225459.htm. Even the prolific David Mendoza has chimed in on the Paleolithic diet, discussing its nature and ability to stave off the weakness associated with low-carbohydrate only diets, citing the diet’s foremost creditor, Loren Cordain Ph.D. “On a very low-carb diet people may also be restricting their carbohydrates more than on the Paleo Diet. Even if they are getting enough calories, they can still initially feel weak if they restrict their carbs to less than 100 grams a day” http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/c/17/32397/low-carb-weak/.
Obviously the medical and diabetes community at large are beginning to tap into the idea. However, you may have trepidation. Therefore, if you need more prodding, try this. Before you eat the next processed product, read the ingredients. How many are there, and how many can you pronounce? Now, grab a tomato. Turn it over and read it’s label. That’s right, you don’t need to, because you know it instinctively as food, and that it is good. Just like our ancestors. Maybe they were onto something.