The rules of the Paleolithic Diet are straightforward: only eat what was available to the early hunter gatherers
. For most of the million or so years our species has been hanging around, we have been hunter-gatherers
. Our ancestors hunted wild animals and ate lots and lots of meat
. In addition they gathered fruits, nuts and berries
. They were nomadic
, and accordingly, followed the sources of food rather than growing crops
. They becomes tremendously adapted to this diet and lifestyle.
The agricultural era came about almost ten thousand years ago. In terms of genetics and our body's ability to adapt to dietary change, this is a very short time. The archeological record shows that there was a snappish decline in stature and health to go along with this. Early hunter-gatherers were around 4 to 6 inches taller than early farmers. They also had stronger bones, fewer cavities, and, save for accidents, they lived longer. Hunter-gatherers were rarely obese and had low rates of autoimmune diseases like arthritis and diabetes. In spite of this overall poor health, farmers took over the world. This came into being because hunter-gatherers only bore children every three to four years, whereas farmers has them every eleven months. Hunting and gathering only works for small amounts of people. With the emergence of kingdoms and weapons and slaves, hunter-gatherers were driven off and marginalised. By the 19th and 20th centuries we could only find them in deserts, jungles, and other remote areas like the arctic.
In spite of this change to ‘civilisation’, we still have the old hunter-gatherer DNA. We have not allowed enough time to adapt to our new diet (hence, the emergence of crippling amounts of disease). We may never adapt because for the most part these ills affect us in middle age.. when our children have already been born and raised.
Along with feeling that it is the most natural diet, followers of the Paleolithic regimen feel strongly about the ecological consequences of large scale agriculture, which really are quite severe: Forests are cut down to make room for crops, topsoil is washed or blown away. Today fertilizers and insecticides are dumped on the land by the tonne to improve "yield". Runoff from the fields renders our rivers and bays toxic. The wild animals that once lived on the land are disappearing with nowhere left to go.
The Diet Itself:
Foods which are edible raw. All other foods should be avoided.
Do Eat: Meats and Fish, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, and Berries.
Do Not Eat: Grains, Beans, Potatoes, Dairy, Sugar.
On this diet you do not count calories or carbs. You eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. You may snack all the time on nuts and fruit. Any food of any kind from the "Do Eat" list is acceptable. All foods from the "Do Not Eat" category are strictly forbidden. The diet pretty much turns the old "food pyramid" upside-down. But, it works. We can see this by looking at the growing popularity of Atkins and other low carbohydrate diets. In spite of what the media ‘authorities’ are saying, people are losing weight and feeling good on these diets. All of these diet plans restrict high carbohydrate foods like bread, refined sugar, and pasta. I think the Paleolithic Diet is what ties all the low carb diets together. It explains how they work from the perspective of evolution and genetics.