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Living Paleo In Modern Times

By Adge WilsonThere is a strange dichotomy that is occurring in our modern age. While we have more technology available to us all the time, it seems that we continue to get sicker. Heart disease is now the number one killer in first world countries. This is surprising because there are so many preventive measures that you can take against this disease. It seems that the genes that we have were not build to live in the modern era. We are hardwired for a more primitive time, yet we are stuck in a society that inundates us with stimulation. Thankfully we still have control of the biggest factor, our diet.

There has been much debate about the current health situation in the United States.The results are disappointing.

Here are a few quick facts that provide a fuller picture of the state of health in modern America, provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Approximately 47% adults in America have one or more risk factors that show a high correlation to heart disease or stroke. These include: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.Keep in mind that nearly all of the top 10 killers of American adults were chronic diseases. Cancer and heart disease accounted for approximately half of these deaths (48%).
Furthermore, there are over 50 million Americans that suffer from autoimmune disorders. These include multiple sclerosis, chronic Lyme disease, lupus, Graves’ disease, and many many others. As well, nearly a quarter of deaths in the United States every year can be attributed to heart disease.Modern times for ancient genes?

Rather than looking at the technology of today to help us, it could be argued that we should look to the genes of the past. The foods that we need to eat are the foods we evolved to eat- not soda and pizza.The implications of this are clear. We don’t need to rely on what modern times provides us, we need to look to the foods and lifestyles of the past. In his amazing book Instinctive Fitness Oliver Selway had this to say, “the real issue is that we westerners [sic] no longer live the lives for which our bodies evolved.” We are ancient beings living in modern times.

The result of manufacturing and development boons such as the Industrial Revolution had a profound impact on how we operated as a society. For the most part the days of hunting for your own food were gone. This is what we called a specialized economy. There were a handful of food providers, the rest just gravitated towards their own specialized jobs (such as blacksmith, builder, miner, etc.) This new economy allowed our society to make great progress in many areas. It allowed people to specialize in things that other people would have no idea about.

But it also came with consequences. Our processes for creating and distributing food became more automated. The power of the refrigerator added to this phenomenon, now we could store food for weeks or months without worrying if it would go bad. The innovations kept coming. The TV dinner, canned goods, fast food, all started to come into the picture around the middle of the Twentieth Century. This furthermore led to the mass production practices that make up the majority of where our food comes from. This led to the creation of major food corporations that were more concerned about profits than people, furthering the processing of foods.

This leaves us with where we are now. In the middle of an obesity epidemic that got its start more than two decades ago. This epidemic is largely a result of the processed foods that corporations have designed to be appealing to as many people as possible. What was happening, in actuality, was that consumers’ brains reward systems were being targeted. The exact food that was designed to please us set of a chain reaction in our brains that made the food completely irresistible. The reward pathways of the brain are triggered by this kind of food.

  • What can we do about it?

Thankfully there are diet options that will allow us to reverse this cycle of stimulus, craving, and reward. The latest dieting evidence indicates that diets that are lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats and protein are a good way to reverse some of the chronic diseases that are so ever-present in our world today, including obesity.

A recent study by Dr. Bazzano of Tulane University revealed some results that may not be expected by the mainstream. He showed that people who ate a lower carb diet had reduced their health markers for cardiovascular disease. This includes:

Losing Weight

Higher HDL cholesterol

Lower triglycerides

  • What to eat?

Some of the staples of the Paleolithic diet include: nuts, seeds, meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. This doesn’t mean that you should eat red meat 3 times a day, but you should allow a mix of different kinds of animal protein into your daily eating habits. The most important thing that you can eat to benefit you well-being is vegetables. Some healthy oils (such as cold-pressed virgin olive oil) can be an important part of a healthy diet.

  • Foods to avoid

You will generally want to avoid anything that has been too heavily processed. This includes snack foods such as chips, soda, and sweets. If you can’t find it in the ground, chances are you shouldn’t be eating very much of it.
Overall, switching to a paleo diet can be hard. But the good news is that once you start to add these foods into your diet, you will find it easier and easier to make healthy choices the norm. This diet is highly versatile and will allow you to choose from a wide variety of foods. Once you start feeling better there is no way you will want to go back.

Source: Collective Evolution 

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