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Upon the start of a new diet, humans fail to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the nutrients entering their body. The initial thoughts running through a human’s mind usually consist of how quickly they can lose weight or better their overall nutrition. The Paleo diet is known as the “Caveman diet or the Stone Age diet” (Cunningham 2) formulating from past ancestors eating strictly for survival. Back then the mindset was to eat to survive, living off of the land, where nowadays human’s look at factors such as, “migrating disease and promoting health, and optimal athletic performance” (Beals 2).
When beginning a new diet today the intention is commonly for the results of being thin and additionally fit. It all comes down to the ultimate body type, where the new and upcoming Paleo diet is not a temporary change, but a lifestyle adjustment. The Paleo diet is beneficial, allowing humans to reach an optimal healthier way of living because it replaces whole foods with processed foods, fixes the digestive system, and aids with proper blood sugar regulation.
Starting out, the Paleo diet began being commonly known as eating like human’s ancestors, but it is slowly evolving. Caveman only lived to be about thirty to forty years of age, where nowadays humans are living past 100. The diet back then was reflected off of strictly survival, as human’s ancestors had other factors to worry about. Back then they did not have medicine available and they were more likely to catch a disease.
The Paleo/Caveman diet is not about restricting one’s self to specific types of foods. The diet is about taking some basic principles and shaping them to be the correct approach to reach personal health goals. Starting the Paleo diet, a human will be on their way to allowing their body to be guided in the correct direction.
The diet allows the body to detox and start over, similar to hitting the reset button when something doesn’t go the right way. Not only is there a big movement of individuals wishing to select that reset button, but even “nutritionist [are talking] about [how] the Paleolithic or hunter-gather diet – eating the types of foods our earliest ancestors evolved with and thrived on. It turned out to be the answer [many were] looking for to stop [their] food cravings, clear up [their] digestive problems, and get [their] weight and blood sugar levels under control” (Smith 1). The Paleo diet removes refined and whole grains, packaged snacks, dairy products, all beverages (with the exception of green tea, coffee, and water), and sweeteners. As more individual’s switch over to the Paleo diet, the whole community “will begin to learn why everyone is so sick and discover how high insulin levels from the wrong carbohydrates, a breakdown in the digestive process, and an imbalance of essential fats are conspiring to undermine our health and longevity” (Wolff Ch.1) Human’s will realize the Paleo diet gives them the power to be in control of their health. They can change the imbalance’s being caused by the foods they are absorbing.
According to the dietary guidelines laid out by the government, humans only see it appropriate to eat the recommended food groups listed. The quite literal “SAD” diet humans live by today is known as “The Standard American diet and even today’s so-called healthy diets wreak havoc with our Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) constitutions” (Cordain 3). What most do not know is a select few of these food groups might be making them ill or causing a disruption in their digestive tracks. Listening to the expert Dr. Loren Cordain, “the founder of the Paleo movement, who shows the idea of eating like our Paleolithic ancestors to improve health and prevent disease” (Beals 2). Humans can learn how the Paleo diet will allow them to reach their peak in health, where they will not have to look any further for a new diet. They will get to know their bodies better while having the benefits of having a flexible diet. This diet will transform their insides, quite literally, to become the best it can be.
All diets lead to a better nutritional intake, the Paleo diet focuses on removing the known problem for everybody. The source causing all their problems is processed foods which include, high-fructose corn syrup, and canola oil. All the types of foods humans see nowadays as the best sorts of food and/or ingredients to use while baking. In fact, “the diet we eat today provides much less variety and is loaded with artificial sugars and salt” (Challa, Uppalauri 2). A big thing noticed nowadays is the randomized addition of corn syrup in almost every sweetened food, instead of natural sugar or no sugar at all. Society surrounding humans have been teaching and creating a mindset that foods coming from factories are healthier than what is coming from their typical farmer. Society is creating a negative mindset to where nobody wants to eat meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Of course, humans just want to eat junk food, after all, America has made fast food places accessible all around them. Humans are taking in food loaded up with sugar and things that have ingredients most individuals cannot pronounce.
A quick fix to replacing processed foods is to think, “if it has to pass through a factory before it is edible for you, reconsider whether or not it is actually food. More likely, it is an edible product or food-like-substance” (Sanfilippo 23). Many people fail to realize that processed foods and factory product consumption is the biggest contributor to negatively affecting their digestive system and blood sugar regulation. The Paleo diet starts with detoxing the body, therefore an individual should start by removing foods such as cereal, cookies, donuts, candy, and even condiments such as ketchup and salad dressing. This “may sound restrictive and, well, soul-sucking, but plenty of people have credited the diet with helping them lose weight as well as boosting their health and energy. Of course, it helps that many celebrities now tout Paleo’s primacy: Matthew McConaughey, Uma Thurman, LeBron James, and even former-vegan-turned-steak-eater Anne Hathaway” (Eckelkamp 1). With celebrities switching their lifestyle’s, especially Anne Hathaway from vegan to paleo, more people are likely to be swayed and recognize the benefits paying off. Starting the Paleo diet, the first factor leaving the body is processed foods, which in turn will accelerate the process of adjusting a human’s digestive system.
A human’s digestive system is unique in a way that everybody has a different food tolerance. No two people will have the same food allergies and/or be able to tolerate all foods. While some people cannot tolerate all food groups, “some people can tolerate dairy, or the occasional grain-based foods,” (Sanfilippo 23). An individual’s immune system can also be affected by their food ingestion choices; therefore, a human’s gut is vital to their overall health. Some individuals go through the constant discomfort of wondering why their stomach is in a tremendous amount of pain. When people are eating foods containing wheat, different types of dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt), yeast, and nuts, little do they know their stomachs are having a hard time tolerating these food items.
A human’s big concern in today’s society is having a bloated gut, most research has come to show that wheat is the base cause of bloating. Adapting to the Paleo diet can help towards shifting away from unnecessary foods in one’s diet. Allowing humans to recognize what is the source of their bloating. Once they know what positively and negatively is affecting their digestive system, humans can customize their Paleo diet to their liking. Not only will the Paleo diet give human’s a better feeling each time they eat a meal, but it is also proven that “60-80% of your immune system is in your gut, improving digestive function [which] is the first step to calming systemic inflammation. When digestion is working smoothly without irritation and with a healthy transit time, your body’s ability to maintain health will be optimized, and your immunity to infections will improve” (Sanfilippo 74). In bettering one’s digestive tract it will then lead to bettering one’s immune system which is one step closer to optimizing a human’s best health.
Humans fail to realize how important the food they are digesting will not only affect them short-term but long-term. An individual could eat a donut every now and then for a cheat day and still be considered healthy. While someone who eats a donut more frequently and sees no weight gain can also have the same perception of being healthy. Just because the weight doesn’t initially add-on, or your overall health remains in the clear, doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. In fact, most people usually do not see the negative repercussions to their health until some time has passed by. It is important that humans take care of their digestive tract and listen to what their body is accepting and not tolerating because, in the long run, it will lead to larger health issues, such as putting a damper on one’s immune system. Recommendations from superior health professionals are suggesting this diet to help clear up their patient’s digestive systems. For some people it has turned out to be the perfect fix, the “answer [they were] looking for to stop [their] food cravings, clear up [their] digestive problems, and get [their] weight and blood sugar levels under control” (Smith 1). Taking a bigger step into the Paleo diet, once an individual is able to correct their digestive tract they can focus on how their blood sugar is being regulated.
Similarly, an individual’s blood sugar regulation is just as vital to keeping a healthy and smooth digestive tract. The Paleo diet continues to change an individual’s lifestyle by fixing the human body’s blood sugar regulation, which has to do specifically with the carbohydrates an individual is consuming. Few human’s lack the knowledge to knowing that there are good and bad carbohydrates, as well as to which carbohydrates fall into the positive category versus the negative. Good carbohydrates are “those which contain easily digestible, bio-available nutrients that make it possible to metabolize them at a cellular level; and are available from nature as whole foods” (Sanfilippo 92) meanwhile bad carbohydrates are “those which are void of nutrients for their proper metabolism; may cause digestive distress; and are refined and man-made/factory-made” (Sanfilippo 92). Many humans see insignificant and significant carbohydrates as one in the same. They see it as if they are ingesting an immense amount of potatoes and pasta that it is resulting in good energy for their body. That is not completely wrong, but not entirely nutritional for the body to maximize energy sources.
For example, although the Paleo diet initially removes all potatoes, humans can still slowly introduce them back into their diet if it works with their digestive tract. When it comes down to it, it is best to stay away from white potatoes and stick to all other variations. Same goes for pasta as it is also removed when starting the Paleo diet. Pasta can also be added back in occasionally or humans can swap the pasta out for a paleo-friendly option. For example, zucchini noodles or edamame noodles can work with those having stomach issues in relation to pasta. A key to having good blood sugar regulation is switching over to the Paleo lifestyle to help one’s carbohydrates choices become on the track. With being on the right track the carbohydrates are seen as benefiting the body versus feeding the body with empty nutrition. Not only will having a better understanding of carbohydrates help regulate a human’s blood sugar, but it will also aid in “mental clarity, positive moods, fat loss, hormonal balance, and managing inflammation” (Sanfilippo 109). This lifestyle will alter more than just losing weight, a human will feel in control of their body, their health.
Others say that because the Paleo diet “[restricts] whole food groups [it] can take some of the joy out of eating by forcing people to give up foods that they love or that are part of their cultural heritage” (Eckelkamp 3). The initial start to the Paleo diet may remove food groups people are already accustomed to, but that does not mean they remove them forever. They are restricting these foods to take time to consider what foods are upsetting their digestive tracts. The food/food groups removed completely does not have to be permanently put out of sight. After all, the diet leaves lots of leeway to it where people can try introducing new foods after completion of their detox. Many get one look at this diet and run the other way due to critics mentioning “The Paleo hypothesis [which] assumes that humans cannot adapt to changing environments; that they can only thrive in circumstances similar to the ones their predecessors lived in. If this were, in fact, true, human life would not have lasted very long” (Beals 4). Therefore, the Paleo diet is the ideal way to treat the human body correctly, not only does one begin to eat more suitable to their bodily systems, but they can also take advantage of weight and muscle gain/loss. This diet gives benefits to the consumer through general health concerns, but the “diet [has also been shown to] decrease all-cause [of] mortality, decrease oxidative stress, and decrease mortality from cancers, specifically colon cancers” (Challa, Uppalauri 3). Noticing again that this diet is able to push past the stereotypes of other diets which only offer a quick fix of losing weight that only lasts short-term. After all, not everybody starting a diet is looking to lose weight, many are wanting to gain muscle and/or better their overall health.
The repercussions coming from the Paleo diet can be considered, but in the long run, many do not know what the actual Paleo diet definition is. In fact, the Paleo diet is evolving within itself. The diet adjusts to each individual’s digestive system negatives and positives. While other “people can get too picky and dogmatic, says Mayfield. Eating Paleo isn’t a recreation of a Stone Age lifestyle, she points out – no one is suggesting you get rid of your food processor. Rather, it’s adopting some age-old principles that, for many people, improve health” (Tweed 3). The backlash towards this diet is that many say that people cannot just go changing a diet, it must be a set list of foods that you eat. It is viewed as only helping an individual’s health temporarily, but that is where they are wrong. This diet begins as a temporary fix but then evolves because of the flexibility it allows which then, in turn, allows one’s diet to become a lifelong lifestyle. If people still continue to fail to see this diet as a fix to their health, then they should notice that “this is not a formulary approach to diet and health that requires a written guide. It is not a fad diet – or if it is, then it’s the oldest fad diet known to humankind. Eating a diet as similar as possible to what our ancestors ate is purely common sense and is based entirely on how we have been genetically molded for the vast majority of human evolution” (Gedgaudas). People continue to try other fad diets that fail them because they are not listening to the signs their bodies are giving off. They see it as if they follow the plan exactly they can attempt to lose so many pounds within a week.
Evolution is the biggest concept to how the Paleo diet is perceived today by many. The Paleo diet and lifestyle change is continuing to better people’s health in fact, “Paleo [was] the most googled diet of 2013, there are a lot more people finding out about it” (Bauer, Bryant 18). In watching many fellow students, family, and friends try out new diets, Paleo seems to stick around the longest. Similarly mentioned above it is not just a temporary diet people try out for a month, it develops and continues to develop until an individual has reached the lifestyle that is helping their body specifically. Humans have been known to adapt to many environments, in fact, the “reality [is], we do not know exactly what people were consuming 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago (10,18). Moreover, as previously mentioned, it is quite likely that our Paleolithic predecessors consumed a variety of different diets that were influenced by geography, season, availability, and opportunity” (Beals 4). The Paleo diet has gone from being the berries, meat, and plants our ancestors ate, to slowly introducing other foods as the human’s evolved. Some people see this diet as being the best because it goes back to a simpler time and believe that humans nowadays are the exact same as humans back then. Humans have yet to stop evolving though and are still developing to their environments around them. Yet, certain people still believe evolution has halted and humans are identical to their ancestor’s DNA.
Anne Stone couldn’t have said it better how “It drives [her] crazy when Paleo diet people say that we’ve stopped evolving – we haven’t, said professor [Stone] of human evolution at Arizona State University… Our diets have changed radically in the last 10,000 years and, in response, we have changed, too” (Whoriskey 1). Human’s need to start looking beyond the weight loss stereotype and think more towards bettering their overall health. People will continue to evolve no matter the circumstances, therefore switching over to the Paleo diet will help them seize their opportunity to be in control of their health long-term. In conclusion, “Paleo is a template, not a dietary prescription. There is no one cookie-cutter Paleo diet. If you are eating solely chicken breasts, broccoli, and olive oil, you’re missing the point entirely” (Sanfilippo ).As the Paleo diet opts for a healthier way of living it allows one to have the benefits of clean whole foods, a healthy digestive tract, and healthy regulating blood sugar levels. The ultimate end goal of the Paleo diet is “to get more in tune to what your body needs, not to subscribe to a set of beliefs blindly, says John Durant, author of The Paleo Manifesto. His advice, with which many agree: Eat strictly Paleo for 30 days, but then reintroduce foods that are important to you, one at a time, to see how you feel. And when you end up with a diet you thrive on that’s not strictly Paleo, that’s fine” (Eckelkamp 5). In the end, it is acceptable to alter the diet as it evolves into a lifestyle. In the end, following “less than rigorously, a diet high in protein and fresh vegetables with minimally processed ingredients is bound to do a body good” (Zevnik 2). Switching over to the Paleo diet will alter a human’s life in putting themselves in the driver’s seat to control their health benefits.
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