Interesting Facts

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Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. And there is a good reason for that. This full of antioxidants drink has a lot of amazing health benefits. This compilation includes 10 most important ones. Check it out!

I am a practising nutritional therapist, and I am a firm believer that food is a vital part in optimising health and can also to be used to address underlying health issues. Green tea is one of the foods I recommend to my clients. Green Tea is so versatile; it has many health benefits and is also delicious!

It is one of the most popular drinks in the world and has a long history. Legend says that green tea was discovered in 2737 BC by the Emperor of China. It can be drunk hot or cold or taken as a supplement. Many supplement companies are adding green tea or the active polyphenol, Epigallocatchin Gallate (EGCG), to antioxidant and multi vitamin supplements for the health benefits.

Green tea, white tea, and black tea are all made from young leaves of the plant Camelia sinensis. There are two main varieties of green tea, which are the Chinese tea plant and Assam tea plant. Green tea is made by steaming and drying the leaves. Unlike black tea, it is not fermented. The green tea leaves are not oxidized and less processed; therefore, they are thought to contain higher levels of antioxidants than black tea.

The following are ten benefits of drinking green tea. This will also explain why green tea can be good to include in your everyday diet:

1. Antioxidants

Because of its high content of antioxidants, green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks in the world. Green tea has a very high content of a chemical called polyphenols classified as catechins. Green tea contain six main catechins compounds, including catechin, gallaogatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The bioactive polyphenol, EGCG, is the most studied and has been shown to be efficient in eliminating free radicals.
The antioxidants in green tea are believed to provide anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic effects , and many more benefits as you will see further on.

2. Brain function, stress, and anxiety

Green tea contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine acts on the brain and nervous system. In small doses in can help you feel refreshed and focused. It may enhance brain function, mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory. The caffeine level in green tea is rather low in comparison with coffee.

Another component in green tea is an amino acid called L-theanine. Theanine has a relaxing effect and can be used for reducing anxiety. Green tea is used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to reduce stress and as a relaxant.

One study showed that the combination of caffeine with L-theanine had a positive effect on stress response; they found that tea reduced the platelet activation and cortisol levels in response to stress. It increased the ‘relaxation’ levels in comparison to the control group. The result in this study is particularly interesting since caffeine alone would increase the cortisol levels and induce stress as in coffee. It is presumed that the L-theanine compound in green tea counteracts the caffeine and hence the stress reducing effect.

3. Enhances physical performance and increase fat loss

Caffeine can help the body burn fat for energy rather than glycogen in the muscles. This would improve the athlete’s endurance and delay exhaustion, which normally happens when glycogen is depleted.

There are studies showing that green tea extracts used in weight loss programs combined with physical exercise had a positive impact on weight loss. One study in Japan from 2005 used mice and green tea extract to conclude that the mice grew stronger and performed better because they burned fat more efficiently. While this study is based on performance and mice, they believe that the same effect could occur with people with an intake of four cups of green tea per day.

As with all studies, some did not note any increased performance using green tea. Therefore, it’s inconclusive, but I think there are positive indications to use green tea if you would like to lose weight or improve your endurance when exercising.

4. Cancer

There are many studies on green tea and the potential impact on cancer prevention or risk reduction. There are studies that show green tea may reduce the risk for certain cancers. However, Cancer Research UK concludes more studies are required and that using green tea as a cancer prevention remedy remains unproven. However, in countries where the consumption of green tea is high, cancer rates that are common in the Western world are lower, such as the low prevalence of breast cancer in Japan. The average green tea consumption in Japan is three cups per day. Obviously there may be many other reasons for this, such as the Japanese diet and lifestyle, but according to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols found in green tea have shown to reduce growing tumours.

Other studies have demonstrated that consumption of green tea may protect against prostate cancer. It is suggested thatt protection can be achieved by having 3 – 5 cups of green tea per day; however, this would not be enough for high risk individuals.

Even though some studies are inconclusive, I think there are indications that the consumption of green tea may be beneficial in cancer prevention. One study published in 2014 shows that EGCG changes the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells. The change of the metabolism may explain how green tea reduces the risk of cancer and slows the progression.

Our recommendation:

5. Liver detox

The antioxidant, polyphenol, in green tea can promote enzymes involved in liver detoxification. To have a well-functioning liver, it is important for the body to get rid of potentially toxic chemicals.

Green tea can be used as but as always with a “full on” detox, I recommend to follow a protocol supported by a professional.

6. Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal

Green tea has been used traditionally for centuries for the antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

With the start of autumn and the cold and flu season, it may be a good idea to have three cups of green tea per day to help prevent these illnesses.

7. Anti-inflammatory

The use of NSAIDs to reduce inflammation long term is linked with a number of unwanted side effects. Due to these side effects, there is an increased interest to find natural alternatives. Green tea is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory. One study compared the effects of NSAIDs with green and black tea. It concludes that green tea leaves possess marked anti-inflammatory effects; this is believed to be due to its high levels of catechins.

Other studies show that green tea may be beneficial in reducing the inflammation from Inflammatory Bowel Disease and concludes that tea drinking may be useful in the prevention of inflammation-related diseases.

8. Blood sugar balance

Green tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar levels. The catechins in green tea may reduce plasma glucose and insulin levels in both healthy individuals and diabetics.

Some studies suggest that green tea may slow down the progression of diabetes type 1. Another study showed that EGCG in combination with starchy food reduced blood sugar spikes significantly. This may suggest that green tea would be a good drink to have with breakfast, which in a Western diet traditionally is starchy.

Green tea is delicious and can be recommended as replacement for sugary drinks, providing no sugar is added.

9. Cardiovascular Health

Green tea has been shown to have many positive effects on cardiovascular health. The many beneficial properties in green tea such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-proliferative, anti-thrombogenic, and lipid lowering effects all contribute to cardiovascular health.

One study shows that people who drink green tea have better blood vessel health just 30 minutes later. Blood vessel health plays an important role in cardiovascular health. The antioxidants in green tea may also reduce the risk for atherosclerosis. There are also indications that green tea may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

10. Obesity – metabolic syndrome

One study shows that four cups of green tea daily reduced weight and BMI significantly in 35 individuals with obesity and metabolic syndrome. The tea was taken for 8 weeks. It also showed decreased levels of LDL. This study suggests that green tea flavonoids can be used to reduce weight in obese people.

Another study had a similar result where 45 obese elderly individuals had three cups of green tea for 60 days. The study showed that green tea may be used to induce weight loss reduction in BMI and waist circumference.

The antioxidant levels in green tea are also helpful in individuals with metabolic syndrome, as metabolic syndrome is linked to a number of health issues related to inflammation. High intake of green tea increases the body’s glutathione levels. Glutathione is associated with the body’s detoxification process as well as the immune system; green tea will both induce weight loss and have a positive impact on the immune system.

There are no serious side effects associated with green tea taken in moderation . But if you are caffeine sensitive, you may choose . It is also best to check with your doctor if you are on any medication as there may be negative reactions.

Green tea has many more benefits than the above but I feel that these are pretty important. Although some studies are inconclusive and further studies are required, I believe that there are many indications that including green tea in your everyday diet can benefit your health. Aim to have at least three cups of delicious green tea per day.

Our recommendation:

I’ve been following a paleo lifestyle for a few years. I was overweight most of that time too. Heck I’m still overweight but not by much. If I was following a strict paleo diet why was I still fat? What was the huge secret I was missing? There were many reasons for my failure. Many misunderstandings I had about things. I had to dial in and find what worked best for me. Mostly though I had to “get out of the cave” and become active and social. Paleo and exercise go hand in hand. Today I’ll be talking about why you can’t skip the workouts.

Overeating

Eating a paleo diet is more nutrient dense. To anyone following the diet you know this. Even knowing this you might still be making mistakes.  Grains for all their celebrated greatness are lacking in nutrients. On a paleo diet you learned to not weigh and measure your food.

Eat until satiated is the prescribed wisdom. While that is great some will overeat on that. Your either used to eating a larger amount or are not sure what satiety feels like. Many have been programed to eat on a clock. Must eat at this time or that time. Must eat this many or that many meals. Trying to eat 6 nutrient dense meals in a day is not good. Do not eat because the clock says so. Eat when you are actually hungry. Eat until you are not hungry nor full.

Excess Energy

I started crossfit in December 2013. One of the first things my coach said to me was I had the diet under control now needed to use that energy. Eating strict high fat paleo gave me tons of energy. Which I did nothing with. The 24 hour globo gym bored me. I would go whole months without going. I didn’t know a single other person in there. My workouts, when I did them, were boring. I tended to use my excess energy by watching Youtube videos on the couch. Even good healthy calories end up as fat when you do nothing.  While I still enjoy some Youtube it’s no longer marathons.

Paleo and Exercise

One Solution is never as good as a ton. To burn this excess energy I tried to find as many active things as possible to do. First was I joined a crossfit gym. For me the high intensity varied workouts were perfect. I show up say Hi and get to do something new everyday . I’ve seen more results from this randomized training than anything else I’ve done . My fitness level has sky rocketed since joining. Everyday I do things I could not before.

Get Active

The other big two things I do are hiking and throwing the Frisbee. I love hiking and I’m surrounded by beautiful Tennessee trails. I try to go do a day hike at least once a week now. Man has evolved to walk and run through trails. I find the time spent in nature is meditative. After a hike I always feel more calm. I keep a frisbee in my car now. I will play with it every chance I get. Stuck waiting for seats at a restaurant? Get out your disc and play a little. Play is a very important part of life that is gone in most adults. Playing is next to sleep in stress reduction . Find something you like to do and do it. Weight comes off and life quality goes way up.

I first heard about the paleo diet a few years ago when I was working front desk at a fitness center. My co-worker, Jack, left to grab dinner one night and came back with an entire rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and nothing else. He was a unique fellow, so I didn’t think much of it. Little did I know that less than a year later I would be fully committed to eating paleo, and that it would be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.

You see, I have type 1 diabetes, a rare, unpreventable autoimmune disease caused by an overly-active immune system. There is no cure. Where many cases of type 2, the more common form of diabetes that we are all familiar with, can be treated through oral medication and in some cases even reversed, type 1 is treated through insulin injections.

I got T1D when I was 11 years old. At the time, the recommendation from my health care team was to switch to artificial sweeteners and whole grains. By the time I was a young adult, I had become a full-fledged whole grain spokesperson, and even started a blog about baking with whole grains.

In order to manage my diabetes, I monitor my blood sugar levels throughout the day. Although whole grains contained large amounts of fiber which supposedly slowed down the absorption of starches in my body, they still substantially increased my blood sugar levels, requiring me to take more insulin. My blood sugar levels were not where they should be, I was tired all the time, and I struggled with my weight.

I came to realize that the recipes I was most excited about (those that had the least impact on my blood sugar levels) were those that contained NO grains at all. That, combined with the research I had been reading about gluten and wheat inspired me to remove grains from my diet altogether.

That’s what led me to paleo. It didn’t happen overnight, but the transition was fairly easy since I just felt so much better. Nowadays, my diet consists mainly of eggs, grass-fed meats, fish, and low carb vegetables.

Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

I also eat a lot of avocado , coconut, and dark chocolate. I generally avoid fruit because if it’s affect on my blood sugar, but I do sneak in a glass of red wine from time to time.
The paleo diet just makes sense. I love that it uses human history as it’s guide. It helps me feel connected to our planet and my ancestors, and makes me respect my body for the well-oiled machine that it is. When you eat this way, things happen the way they’re supposed to. I’m happy to report that my blood sugar levels are the best they’ve ever been, my weight is down, and my energy levels are off the charts.

Reason#1: Too Comfortable Living the S.A.D Life

Whether they’re supporters of Paleo, Vegetarian, Ornish, or South Beach, most dieting experts would agree that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D) is more of a public health threat than a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).  According to the CDC (1), heart disease and cancer combined, the top two leading causes of death in the US, kill more than 1 million people per year.

s.a.d. breakfast
Source: instagram.com/p/qWvLKst7SA/

These leading causes of death, for the most part, are associated with diet-related risk factors like, hypertension, obesity, high (bad) cholesterol, etc.  Although I’m a military veteran and would love to take credit for that startling but true WMD comparison, I have to give the credit to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutrition expert, plant-based diet proponent, and author of the very popular book, .  Despite his romance with veganism, it’s almost impossible to disagree with his chilling observation.

It just goes to show that most people are way too comfortable waking up in the morning for their fix.  That is, sugary cereal, with a side of pancakes drowning in sweet syrup, washed down with their sugary fruit juice… A balanced breakfast, right?  Yea, if you want Type II diabetes.

But this whole “balanced breakfast” thing is what many of our friends still believe.  The sad thing (no pun intended) is that even if we kindly nudge our friends about their toxic food choices, they’re just way too comfortable eating this hazardous processed food porn.

Sadly, for some of us it usually takes a serious life-changing experience to make drastic changes to our comfortable, hot dogs and hamburgers American lifestyle.  Yup, some of us need the good ol’ “wake-up call”, to change our outlook on health.  Unfortunately, as the stats demonstrate, most people don’t get it until they’re in the back of an ambulance. S.A.D, isn’t it?

Reason #2:  Afraid of Failing (again)

They’re just a bunch of haters and they probably want me to fail and eat the way they do. It may seem that way but it’s probably not so.  According to world-renowned obesity expert, Dr. Jeff Friedman (2) of Rockefeller University, approximately 70-95% of diets fail within two years.

Yes, even many of the contestants on that hit show, The Biggest Loser , gain their weight back.  Simply stated, after losing massive amounts of weight, the body struggles with coping with this new, seemingly unnatural, lighter weight.  After a short period, the body reverts back to normal, that is, it gets back to its state of ”equilibrium”, as Dr. Friedman eloquently explains.

So, where do your friends fall into this?  Well, you probably know since you probably fell into this category in the past.  Many are afraid to attempt new things because of their past failures-in this case, diets.  They’ve tried numerous diets, pills, advice, “special” foods, and…Boom!  Nothing…Big fail!  You know what they probably haven’t tried though?  Yup, you guessed it:  The “Eating-Real-Foods” diet.

“So, Paleo?  Psshhh…Yeah, right!  Have fun with that.  I love my fast-food and my love handles.” Okay, your friends probably aren’t saying that, but you get the point.  Whatever they’re saying, or not saying for that matter, it doesn’t have to remain that way.  I’m sure with a little social support (cough, cough…this is where you come in) and the right preparation, a Paleo lifestyle will probably be the last “diet” they ever go on.

Do what you have to do to get them onboard.  Believe me, it’s mutually beneficial (and kind of cool) to have friends on the same page when it comes to eating. They can thank you later with one of those NorCal Margaritas made famous by Robb Wolf.

Reason #3:  They’re Just Not Smart Enough

Yes….I went there.  But, keep reading, I’ll show you why.  Last year, the Journal on Evolution & Health published an article (3) that described the typical Paleo Diet “follower”.  In brief, a 10-day web survey was conducted and it revealed that, surprisingly, just 4% of them had completed high school.

I know what you’re thinking.  ‘ Wow! 96% are uneducated?  No wonder it’s called the Caveman diet’. Actually, it’s quite the contrary.  Although 4% of the respondents reported having completed high school, the survey also revealed that (drum roll, please) 14% had some college, 40% had 4-year degrees, and 22% had Master’s degrees.  I won’t even go into the annual household incomes.  However, I must admit, I wouldn’t mind asking some of these respondents to, ‘Hook a brother up’.

Although this wasn’t a conclusive study, it definitely sheds some light on the types of individuals who decide to go Primal.  And, please, don’t get me wrong; I’m not implying that you need a college degree to be smart.  However, it takes a smart person to recognize that eating real foods is probably the only way to make one’s body function and look the way nature intended it to.

So, if you’re friends are tired of having their wallets and their waistlines violated by processed foods, educate them.  If that doesn’t work, scare them with public health stats.  Be assertive and show them you care.  If your genuine attempts don’t seem to work, you’ll just have to sit back and (with your best caveperson impersonation) say to yourself:

Me Smart Caveman

References

(1)  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2014). Deaths and Mortality [Data file, final 2010 data].  Retrieved from:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

(2)  Leptin and the Biologic Basis of Obesity [Video file].  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pBj0wy35A8

(3)  David B. Schwartz, D. & Stapell, H. (2013).  Modern cavemen? Stereotypes and reality of the Ancestral Health Movement. Journal of Evolution and Health, 1(1), Article 3.

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Let’s face it. Grocery shopping is confusing sometimes. It’s worse for the health-conscious and learned folks since the thought of eating right sometimes elicits stress and frustration. So, I think I speak for the majority of us Paleo eaters when I say that going Paleo was one of the best things we did; for our health, our wallets, and our families. It’s a little easier now, right? Just eat real foods. That’s a Win for us.

Say no to GMO
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If there are winners, then there must be losers. Well, I’m not in the business of calling people losers (to their face at least). But, essentially, big food companies are losing out because of the growing Paleo community. Why? Because we’ve chosen to start eating real foods – not their bio-engineered, chemical-laced, food products.

Going Paleo wasn’t just some arbitrary, faddish decision we made to get on the health bandwagon. It probably took several months, and for some of us years, to weigh the pros and cons of going Paleo. Although I’ve seen overwhelming evidence (academic and anecdotal) of the pros, i.e., improved waistlines, self-image, and health, I haven’t really stumbled across any cons.

Oh yes, since most of my academic peers are registered dietitians, I do come across the occasional Paleo bashing since conventional (A.N.D, U.S.D.A)[i] wisdom is that we should eat everything, in moderation.  If Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Kraft were my sponsors[ii], I would probably say the same thing while turning a blind eye to the ever-increasing obesity epidemic in our country[iii].

Enough about politics, let’s get back to the story. Big food companies definitely hate Paleo. They can’t really put a patent on home grown tomatoes. However, you can grow your own veggies or buy fresh produce from your local farm.  Big Food is a very competitive industry and their number one objective is to generate revenue.

This is done by creating Franken-foods that are designed to taste better than their competitors. They’re competing for your money. To that, I say: Let them continue competing. Let them continue hating Paleo. Let us continue loving Paleo…and our health.

[i] Abbreviations: AND: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; USDA: United States Department of Agriculture

[ii] Simon, M (2013). And Now A Word From Our Sponsors. http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/AND_Corporate_Sponsorship_Report.pdf

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site. Overweight & Obesity. March 28, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

The Paleo Diet is more than a diet. For many people, it is a lifestyle: a return to our genetics to eat and sleep as our ancestors did. In recent years, it has gained a lot of praise and recognition. However, because of its popularity, the Paleo Diet has come under fire from anthropologists, dieticians and other critics. From questioning the diet’s basics to criticizing its cost , these opponents bring up several arguments that Paleo dieters should examine and understand rather than ignore. To that end, here are the top 5 criticisms of the Paleo Diet.

Paleo Diet Basics

There are many characteristics of the Paleo Diet that critics choose to attack, but the majority settle on questioning the diet’s fundamental foundations and claims. The Paleo Diet bases its fitness plan on the concept that rapid changes (due to agricultural and technological revolutions) has not given our biological bodies the chance to adapt to the alteration.

It took humans millions of years to develop our modern makeup, and it was only within the last 10,000 that we transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one that was agriculturally-based. Because of this genetic similarity to our ancestors, proponents of the Paleo Diet suggest a “back to basics” lifestyle that best resembles how our old relatives ate, slept and exercised in the Paleolithic Age.

The Paleo Diet recommends its users to avoid foods that, for millions of years, these ancestors hadn’t access to: processed foods like dairy products and grains. Likewise, the diet recommends its users to consume foods that best resemble what hominins did eat: natural foods like vegetables and grass-fed meats.

Critics attack the diet’s basics by pointing out that humans have, in fact, evolved since the Paleolithic Era, and that basing a diet on what was available so long ago is a superfluous way to stay healthy. They also point out that several early civilizations—as far back as 100,000 years ago—did consume different types of grains. This is where the critics misunderstand the basics of the Paleo Diet.

Advocates are aware the human body is constantly evolving and do not claim that the human is exactly the same as the hominins of the Stone Age. They only assert that we are still very similar to these ancestors. Regardless, grain consumption was rare and eating processed food was virtually nonexistent. And since our ancestors evolved without packaged or processed goods, the Paleo Diet’s claim that we are healthier without them still rings true.

Paleo Diet Plan For Weight Loss

Paleo Diet for Weight Loss – Alan Cleaver

Since we need to burn more calories than we consume in order to lose weight, the best way to ensure that we drop unwanted weight is to eat a healthy, well-balanced and low-fat diet. While other diets simply restrict your intake of certain foods, which leaves you hungry and at more risk of relapse, the Paleo Diet avoids these pitfalls by focusing on the long term.

The Paleo diet’s imitation of our ancestor’s ingestion provides users with a large quantity of fruits , vegetables, protein, monounsaturated fats, and healthful omega-3 . And because of protein’s thermic and filling effects (which is greater than both carbohydrates and fats) the diet boosts metabolism, speeds up the process of weight loss, and satisfies appetite. Within the first two weeks of the diet, significant weight loss is seen right away—which immediately lowers one’s risk of pre-diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Obviously, owing to the diet’s restrictive nature and low allowance of carbs, critics do not deny that the Paleo Diet is successful way to shed unneeded body fat. However, they do claim that it is very far from a healthy and long-lasting weight loss solution. Critics of the diet say that there certain nutrients excluded from the Paleo Diet that are vital to our health, and that regardless of potential weight loss they should not be excluded. These are the nutrients found in dairy, legumes and whole grains; and they say that, without them, one develops an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and unhealthy weight gain.

What critics seem to forget, though, is that the essential nutrients that humans get from these food groups can be found elsewhere in the Paleo Diet. For instance, skeptics maintain that the Paleo Diet lacks necessary minerals like the calcium found in dairy products. What they don’t seem to realize is that , spinach and many other green leafy vegetables.

Paleo Diet for Athletes

Paleo Diet for Athletes
Athletes – DVIDSHUB

Much like their reaction to basic health and weight loss benefits, critics also deny that the Paleo Diet has anything special to offer athletes in lieu of other diets. More than anyone else, athletes need energy and strength in order to accomplish their physical and mental goals. Some critics say that the majority an athlete’s needed nutrients lies outside the Paleo Diet’s boundaries, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the Paleo Diet can often be the key to improving and perfecting an athlete’s performance, as well as extending his or her career.

Because of a greater micronutrient content than the standard high sugar and starch diet, the Paleo lifestyle offers an enhanced and healthier long-term recovery—letting athletes train longer and with a increased stress load. Furthermore, there are many athletes in training who live off of nutrition bars and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade. For them, the Paleo Diet not only improves their performance, but introduces a healthier structure as well.

The Paleo Diet has proved to be especially effective with endurance athletes like bikers and runners— the best results appearing when the diet is paired with high intensity and resistance training. The exclusion of grains, minimization of carbohydrates, and increased animal fats allows athletes to use fat as fuel, maintain high testosterone levels, and increase their strength without increasing their weight. In short, it is a diet that grants athletes all the power and nutrients they need to recover in multistage and multiday games, races and competitions.

Paleo Diet Cost

Physical health aside, one of the top criticisms of the Paleo Diet is its price tag. Whether they are pro or anti-Paleo, almost everyone agrees that a diet centered around fresh fish, choice cuts, grass-fed meat, and organic fruit and vegetables can run up quite an expensive grocery bill. As a result, many critics consider the Paleo Diet a nutritional plan for a primarily rich and upper-class demographic. Surveys show that the typical Paleo Dieters are 21 to 40 year-old college graduates without children.

Therefore, they have a higher income, less mouths to feed, and more money to spend on the types of food that the Paleo Diet recommends. What else would one expect when all the diet allows is high quantities of produce, fresh fish, organic nuts, expensive oils, rare flours, and grass-fed meats? When it comes down to it, the claim is that normal people simple can’t afford to commit to the lifestyle.

In some respects, this is right. The Paleo Diet calls for the freshest and best-quality food that our bodies can get, and that means a higher price. Nevertheless, the price you pay doesn’t have to come via your wallet. There are dozens of vigilant tricks and tips that you can implement to get your hands on the best foods without digging into your life savings.

These include prioritizing your finances, executing a budget, watching for sales, purchasing meats, fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers, scheduling meals, buying in bulk, buying in season, buying the cheapest items, couponing, and storing excess food by freezing, fermenting and drying. You don’t have to squander money in order to benefit from the Paleo Diet. You just have to shop harder and smarter.

Paleo Diet Snacks and Brea kfasts

Paleo Snacks: Finger Steak Makeover  @CabooseSpiceCo
Paleo Snacks: Finger Steak Makeover @CabooseSpiceCo

The final criticism of the Paleo Diet is the problem of snacks and breakfasts. These are the meals that we have been conditioned to think of as heavily dairy and grain driven. Meals and snacks that consist of milk, toast, bagels, cereal, cookies, candy, granola, and other pastries have no place in the Paleo Diet—so what do we do? As far as customs go, the Paleo Diet is obviously lunch and dinner friendly with its meats and vegetables, but it can be snack and breakfast friendly as well.

One of the dangers of any diet is to have things on hand that are quick and easy to snack on. If you don’t, you might be tempted to eat something unhealthy just to satisfy your cravings. If you are on a Paleo Diet, some popular snacks to stock up on are nuts, seeds, olives, fresh fruit, dried fruit, peppers, pork rinds, chicken hearts, jerky, cans of tuna, cans of sardines, banana chips, salad shrimp, and organic hotdogs just to name a few.

Breakfast can be just as challenging if you are new to the diet. While you can always eat leftovers from the day before, there are lots of “breakfasty” options to choose from. Some ideas and ingredients to consider include smoothies, herbal tea, onions, mushrooms, peppers, olive oil, grapefruit, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, kiwi, coconut milk, breakfast salads, ham, banana-nut pancakes, steak, Paleo donuts, waffles or pancakes , breakfast casserole, tomatoes, sweet potatoes , chicken, turkey, nuts, olives, avocadoes, bacon, and eggs however you like them: boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, omelets , etc.
Due to individual bodies and lifestyles, there will never be a diet that is perfect for everyone. Based on these criticisms and people’s personal body types, many dieters tweak the Paleo Diet to fit their own personal needs. Despite its focus on the Stone Age, the Paleo Diet’s rules are not set in stone, nor are they free of criticism. And, in the end, that’s a good thing.

Like any dieter, people who take up the Paleo regimen do so to stay healthy. Based on the concept of complementing our hunter-gatherer genetics, the diet satisfies all the body’s nutritional needs. However, what sets the Paleo Diet apart from others is that it tends to be more of a lifestyle than a diet. Eating right, it turns out, is only part of the battle. The other part is greatly orchestrated by the way you sleep. If you aren’t getting the right kind of rest, then you aren’t getting the most out of your diet. Sleep affects the way our body reacts to what we eat—so if we should “eat like a caveman,” it is just as important that we learn how to sleep like one too.

How Did The Cavemen Sleep?

Approximately 4 million years ago, our early hominin ancestors climbed down from the trees and began sleeping on the ground (most likely due to our mastery over fire). Some say that this period was fundamental for our cognitive development as a species, as it allowed us to spend more of the night in REM sleep (important for memory consolidation and cognition), which causes muscle paralysis and makes tree-sleeping dangerous.

Once on the ground, they slept in any number of places—ranging from caves to forests to manmade huts. The main thing they had in common? Total darkness. This makes sense, as our bodies produce melatonin, the hormone that induces drowsiness, when we are away from light. When the sun went up or went down, so did man. For thousands of years, we napped in cool, dark silence for up to twelve hours every night—hammering this type of sleep deep into our genes.

So What Changed?

The Paleo Diet is based on the idea that our genetics haven’t had time to catch up with our sudden dietary changes. Sleep is also an element deeply engrained in our body’s chemistry. Not only did the agricultural revolution popularize grains, dairy and other processed goods, but it also popularized the practice of getting up before the sun. To make matters worse, it was even more recently that the Second Industrial Revolution introduced electrification: thus disturbing our sleep patterns with artificial light.

Today, we find ourselves ignoring the sunset and stretching out our wakeful hours deep into the night with the aid of electric lights and the dim glow of TV, iPod and computer screens. And once we do go to bed, we’re often disturbed by outdoor illumination—streetlights, business signs and the headlights of passing cars—streaming through our bedroom windows.

This irregular and often inadequate pattern of sleep makes us prone to depreciating cardiovascular health, hormonal shifts, increased risk of accidents, increased risk of depression, obesity, premature aging, and a weakened immune system.

How To Fix It?

1. Follow The Sun

Go to bed when the sun goes down, and get out of bed when it comes up. Our body has light sensors that react to natural light and trigger hormonal regulation, so let your skin experience the morning rays.

2. Sleep In Total Darkness

Make sure your bedroom is pitch black. That means investing in blackout curtains or shutting off the lights outside your window.

3. Schedule

Know what time you want to be in bed, and prepare accordingly—dimming the lights and covering windows as the sun sets. Let the melatonin send you to sleep, not the videos on your phone.

4. Sleep A Lot

Granted, our ancestors exerted much more energy than us, and didn’t have any appointments to meet, but getting as much sleep as you can is vital to getting the best results from the Paleo lifestyle.

The Paleo Diet may have grown in popularity since the 1970s, but it’s been around for a lot longer than that. Sometimes called the caveman or hunter-gatherer diet, this nutritional plan is based on the concept of returning to our Stone Age roots by eating foods that complement our genetics. The diet suggests that if our ancestor’s diet kept them around long enough for us to be here, then returning to that diet should be the best choice for our bodies.

It seems like a reasonable proposition, but it raises a few questions. So what are the answers? Is the Paleolithic Diet all it is cracked up to be, or is it all a bluff?

Why the Paleo Diet?

The first thing to do is understand why the Paleolithic Diet is proposed at all. It was only within the last few thousand years that our species discovered farming and kicked off a series of agriculture revolutions. The first was called the Neolithic Revolution , and it was in this “ New Stone Age ” that we humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one of agriculture and civilization—settling down and trading our caves for societies and fresh food for more processed goods. Because 10,000 years is only a droplet when compared with the millions of years it took for humans to evolve, proponents of the Caveman Diet say that this change in nutritional intake was very sudden in contrast to our development as a species. The change was so quick that it didn’t give our bodies the chance to completely evolve or adapt. Therefore, despite our new dietary habits and living arrangements, we are still genetically similar to our hunter-gatherer relatives of the past.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Not concerned with counting calories, scheduling meals, exercising, or inspecting your bathroom scale every night, the Caveman Diet is definitely unique when measured against other modern diets. This simple plan is centered solely on what you should and should not eat, or more specifically: what the cavemen would and would not eat.

To put it simply, the Paleolithic Diet recommends its users to consume contemporary foods that best resemble what was available to our ancestors over 10,000 years ago; primarily foods like: eggs, fish, fowl, fruit, fungi, grass-fed meats, natural oils, nuts, roots, tubers, and vegetables. Likewise, the diet prohibits certain food groups that, for millions of years, hominins did not eat. These spurned foods are full of trans fats and sugars, and come from alcohol, cereals, dairy products, grains, potatoes, processed oils, and refined salt and sugar. More than 70% of the daily food intake in the United States comes from these products , and advocates of the diet assert they create little to no energy, are bad for the brain, and are the origin of serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure , osteoporosis, and obesity.

But what do you wash it all down with? Water is the obvious frontrunner for the average dieter. However, there are a few other options—among which you will find herbal teas, certain alcoholic beverages, and real fruit juice. But, as mentioned, water is the king, and proponents of the diet are correct in their assertion that it is the most refreshing and rewarding thing one can drink (after a few days of acclimation, of course).

Positives and Negatives to the Paleo Diet

Whether it’s inconvenient, disgusting or drains all your energy, every diet has its positives and negatives, and the Paleo Diet is no different.

The positives come with the facts of the diet itself. It is not a raw food plan, so you can cook your meats and vegetables however you like. And with a diet running on less carbohydrates, you can eat as much as you like and not gain weight (since your body burns more stored fat for energy). The diet’s lean meats and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables not only satisfy nutritional needs, but they also give energy, prevent overeating, and assist with weight loss.

So what’s the bad news? Some of the Paleolithic Diet’s negative aspects include expensiveness, an unavailability to vegetarians, taking calcium supplements, finding the right food, avoiding the wrong food, and quitting coffee. These are the kinds of setbacks that any dietary veteran is familiar with.

First, the expensiveness of the Caveman Diet comes with buying the required grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, fresh fish, and organic fruits and vegetables. It takes a bit of research and hard work to avoid breaking the bank with this diet, but it can be done.

Second, there is not much room for vegetarians on the Paleo Diet train . Our cavemen ancestors were way too fond of meat—plus their bodies really needed it.

Third, since dairy products are forbidden, advocates of the diet say that calcium supplements have to be taken when the dieter has had a limited intake of green leafy vegetables.

Fourthly, while the Paleo Diet is very simple, some meal situations will prove to be difficult. Along with restaurants, Paleolithic Dieters often find breakfast to be an obstacle to overcome, since we have all been taught to consume high amounts dairy, breads, and grains in the morning.

Finally (and while we are on the subject of mornings), those who are considering a pure Paleolithic Diet have to call it quits with coffee. The horror! The good news is that many dieters find that their new “caveman diet” actually gives them so much more energy that their thirst for coffee becomes a thing of the past.

Questioning the Paleo Diet

So is the Hunter Gathered Diet really as healthy as they say? There are several reasonable arguments against it, and many of them are worth addressing for readers who aren’t sure if this is the diet for them.

One argument is the fact that hunter-gatherers were significantly more active than humans are today. Unlike us, they spent the majority of their lives tracking and hunting down prey, climbing trees to reach fruit, trekking across the land in search for nuts and berries, and fighting for their lives against predators and their fellow men. Like any nutritional plan, however, the Stone Age Diet is often recommended along with an exercise routine. Every animal is designed to stay active and get at least a little bit of exercise every day. And while your 30 minutes on the treadmill might not be as blood-pumping as sprinting from a saber-toothed cat, you have to work with what you have.

Speaking of working with what you have, another argument against the Paleo Diet is that there are some old foods that we simply do not have access to. Paleo-dieters are aware that they don’t have the exact same foods of their ancestors; nevertheless, there is still plenty of foodstuff that are close enough to maintain the philosophy. Besides, avoiding food is more than half the battle of the Paleo-dieter.

Critics of the diet have also pointed out that humans have evolved since the Paleolithic Era, and that basing a diet on what was available so long ago is an extraneous solution. It is on this note that many Paleo-dieters and skeptics disagree. Advocates of the diet are aware that the human body is constantly evolving, and while it is accurate to say that we are not exactly the same (those pesky wisdom teeth proves that much), it is also true that we are still very similar to our Paleolithic ancestors. The way in which the human body reacts to grain-based and dairy products proves that our modern diet is still fairly new to our genetics, and thinking critically about what we eat will always be to our advantage.

We are very far from finding the perfect foods to eat, but the fact that our species has had very little time to adapt to agricultural and high-calorie foods still holds up. Hundreds of people claim that this “Stone Age” nutritional plan works wonders for their health. So if it you are looking for a way to stay lean, strong and active like our ancestors, the Paleo Diet is a great way to start.

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