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Frequently Asked Questions about Paleo Diet

What is Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet is the oldest human diet on record. In its simplest terms, this diet delivers all of the dietary needs humans require while eliminating the bad foods we've come to include in our Western diet. "Paleo" is short for Paleolithic, which was the earliest phase of the Stone Age. This era began with the first emergence of humans on earth. The Paleo Diet allows us to eat in a way that mimics the diet of our hunter‐gatherer ancestors. It consists of a combination of fruits, vegetables, seafood, lean meats, and nuts. These are the foods that our bodies have evolved to consume before the onset of modern agriculture.

The scientific argument for the Paleo diet is that the human genome has remained virtually unchanged for 40,000 years; we share 99.99% of the same genes as our Paleolithic ancestors. Yet even though our ideal nutritional needs were formed over 500 generations ago and remain unchanged, we have altered our diets dramatically.

Why is the Paleo Diet beneficial?

  • Increases intake of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Higher intake of these amino acids benefits muscle development and anabolic function as well as improving immunity.
  • Decreases your omega 6 to omega3 ratio which reduces tissue inflammations and promotes healing.
  • Lowers body acidity and normalizes pH balance. This reduces the negative effect of acidosis on bone and muscle while stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Reducing acidity in the body is even more critical as we age.
  • The Paleo Diet is high in trace nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimal health. The most nutrient dense foods are vegetables and seafood. On average, vegetables have nearly twice the nutrient density of grains.

What did our Paleo ancestors eat?

Our ancestors lived on meat, fowl, fish, fruits, roots and leaves for thousands of years. Paleolithic man avoided certain plants, such as beans and grains, because they were inedible in their raw state. It was only during the early Neolithic era that man discovered how to use fire, and everything changed.

What's wrong with how we eat today?

The "Neolithic Diet" is essentially the way we eat today. After man discovered he could manipulate fire to cook his food, all of the inedible foods suddenly became edible, and seeds from these once inedible foods were now used to grow more food.

The reason these foods were inedible before our ancestors discovered fire was because they tasted bad or would make them very sick. Grains like corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, oats and millet contain toxins that are reduced when exposed to heat. Potatoes and other starchy root vegetables can be potentially poisonous if eaten raw, but cooking these foods only reduces toxins; it is impossible to eradicate them completely. No wonder modern man feels the need to "detoxify" his system now and then.

The reason grains and seeds contain these toxins is to discourage animals and humans from eating them. This is because the core function of a grain or seed is to sprout new plants. If all of the grains and seeds were eaten, no new plants would grow, and plants are necessary for all life on earth. Animals and birds that feed on these foods have developed immunity to the toxins in them, but humans have not. Paleo enthusiasts say this speaks volumes about what we are and are not meant to eat.

For millions of years, man's digestive system evolved to consume only natural foods such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Now, due to our relatively recent shift to a Neolithic society, our bodies have experienced a drastic change in diet and unable to effectively process these new foods.

According to Dr. Loren Cordain, the world's leading researcher and authority on the Paleo Diet, our Paleolithic ancestors were "lean, fit and free from heart disease and other ailments that plague Western countries. Look at us. We're a mess. We eat too much, we eat the wrong foods, and we're fat."

Why are we getting fatter?

The reason our society is so fat is because our bodies are not fully adapted to modern foods. It is easy to recognize that processed foods are too new and definitely unhealthy, but Paleo enthusiasts insist that the dairy and grains that entered our diets during the agricultural revolution are just as bad.

Think about it: how many times have you seen a fat caveman? With the exception of Fred Flintstone, we are used to our ancestors who lived 12,000 years ago being portrayed as lean, slender, muscular beings.

While the lifestyle of hunter‐gatherer tribes probably helped somewhat to contribute to their svelte figures, historians surprisingly say they did not exert much energy in their daily lives. One hunting expedition would provide an entire tribe with food for a long time, and they did not expend any energy growing or cultivating crops because they simply ate what grew naturally in their environment. Their overall way of life was rather sedentary. In the study "The Original Affluent Society", anthropologist Marshall Sahlins points out how hunter‐gatherer tribes worked far less than their "modern" industrial counterparts. He estimated our ancestors averaged only 3 to 5 hours of work each week.

Rather than mistakenly attributing the health of hunter‐gatherers to their "active" lifestyle, skeptics should focus more on the absence of fatty meats and sugary foods that did not exist thousands of years ago.

The introduction of these agrarian foods was the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution, as well as the beginning of the end of mankind's health.

Where's the proof?

Archeological sites have revealed that people living thousands of years ago also had very few dental problems, despite not having toothpaste or floss. Only after wheat and corn were introduced to the human diet during the agricultural revolution, was it found that the occurrence of dental cavities skyrocketed.

Fossil records also show that in addition to dental problems, the first farmers had an increased incidence of infectious diseases, bone mineral diseases, bone deterioration, and iron deficiencies compared to hunter‐gatherers.

Dr. Cordain noticed that in societies where grain intake is high, rickets and zinc deficiencies are prevalent. Unleavened whole grains affect the body's ability to absorb vitamin D and zinc. This is a groundbreaking discovery, since whole grains have traditionally been considered healthy. Wheat, in particular, has been found to be associated with several auto‐immune diseases. Pre‐agricultural skeletons have confirmed the absence of rickets in societies that did not consume grains.

Neolithic foods such as potatoes, grains and beans contain many "antinutrients", which are toxins or foods that have a poisonous effect on the human digestive system. Paleo foods contain zero to miniscule amounts of antinutrients.

How have our bodies evolved over time?

Humans have been around for 100,000 generations; only 500 of these generations existed after the agricultural revolution. This demonstrates the fact that our bodies couldn't have evolved quickly enough to handle the influx of all these new foods. With the agricultural revolution, man's carbohydrate consumption exploded and we have yet to build up a tolerance for the high level of carbohydrates in our diets today.

For the majority of human history, humans thrived in the wild as hunter‐gatherers. Our ancestors lived everywhere from scorching deserts, flooded rain forests, steep mountains, and the freezing arctic. They lived this way for thousands of years without the use of domestic plants and animals. However, ten thousand years ago, man started to tame the wilderness. New foods were introduced into the human diet that before had no place. Wild animals were bred and raised for their meat and milk, and wild grains were domesticated into rice, corn, and wheat. At the same time that human society started to prosper, individual human health began to deteriorate.

If you were a zoo keeper, your job would revolve around keeping your animals healthy and happy. How would you do it? Would you put all of the animals in one giant pen and feed them all cat food? Of course not; you would reproduce every animal's natural habitat as close as you possibly could while feeding them the food they would eat if they were out in the wild. Pandas would get bamboo, tigers would get raw meat, and snakes would get rodents. The birds would have room to fly, and the monkeys would have trees to climb. The reptile house would be hot and the penguin house would be cold. You would do this because you know that animals thrive in their natural habitat, where they are healthier and live longer. The same thing is true when it comes to humans. To increase our health and happiness, we should live and eat in the same ways as our Paleolithic ancestors did.

How do I easily make the switch to Paleo foods?

By now, you likely have a good idea of the difference between Paleolithic and Neolithic foods. It should be obvious that you are eating foods that you were not programmed to eat, foods that are not in your genetic makeup. If you are like the large majority of society, you have been filling your body with toxins it was not meant to digest. Therefore, you have been unable to achieve your optimal health.

You may want to eat healthy, but are afraid of struggling with unpalatable concoctions that require intensive shopping and endless preparation. A main reason most people resign themselves to unhealthy eating is due to lack of time. The majority of people can't afford to spend countless hours preparing and cooking a meal. This is especially true with breakfast; even though it is the most important meal of the day, rarely do most people take the time to prepare a healthy meal first thing in the morning.

However, with the Paleo diet, breakfast is a great place to ease into a healthy lifestyle change! A delicious Paleo breakfast is the easiest meal to prepare.

Why beginning with a Paleo breakfast is the best way to start

Eating a steak first thing in the morning may not appeal to you; however, there are many healthy and delicious ways to start the day. That is what this book is all about. Delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare Paleo diet smoothies will help you get started and stay on the Paleo Diet.

If you're pressed for time in the morning, whether rushing to work or getting your kids to school, there is nothing faster or more delicious than an energy‐packed smoothie to start your day. An added bonus is that children love smoothies! All of a sudden, they will start to love all of the healthy veggies and fruits you've been begging them to eat for years. Instead of taking vitamins or supplements in the morning, have a Paleo smoothie for breakfast to start feeling better and getting healthier today.


These Paleo Smoothies are creative, delicious and give me lots of flavorful options for my fast morning Paleo Breakfast!

Chris Smith | San Francisco, CA

The Paleo Diet Smoothies recipe book has saved my life!

Betty Smith | Seattle, WA

Now I know exactly what to eat in the morning to help me stay focused on the Paleo Diet.

John Andrews | Vancouver, Canada