Episode 3: The Paleolithic Diet

The theory: Any food you can catch and kill or pick and eat is good for you.

Our Paleolithic ancestors enjoyed a simple diet of meat, chicken and fish, as well as the leaves and fruits of many plants. The diet sustained the human race for five million years until the first agricultural revolution approximately 10,000 years ago.

The science:
Advocates claim the all-natural diet is an effective weapon against the many health problems commonly linked to modern-day processed foods (such as heart disease, cancer and obesity). Supporters point to the fact the human race evolved on the diet.

In practice:
Do you fancy trying mankind’s original diet? Have a look at the menu. 

Meat (including liver and kidneys), chicken and fish
Grains (including bread, pasta, noodles)
Eggs Beans (including string, kidney, lentils, peanuts, snow peas and peas)
Fruit Potatoes
Vegetables (except potatoes or sweet potatoes) Dairy products
Nuts (walnuts and almonds are ok, peanuts and cashews are not) Sugar
Berries Salt

The experiment: Is the paleolithic diet suitable for our modern-day lifestyle?

Married couple Christine and Matt are busy professionals who struggle to find the time to exercise. Christine suspects her diet is responsible for a lack of energy while Matt believes their eating habits are responsible for a few extra kilograms. Christine reckons while the Hunters and Gatherers’ diet sounds “simple” she will miss her regular cup of tea and a biscuit. Matt thinks it will be tough to give up coffee and his evening glass of wine.

Stay tuned to Food Investigators to find out how the Matt and Christine fare.

Resources: If you want to try the paleolithic diet for yourself, these healthy eating guides will help you get started.

> Geraldine's Paleolithic Diet
> Geraldine's Paleolithic Recipes
> Geraldine's Paleolithic Shopping List

The results:
After one month on the Hunters and Gatherers’ diet (with just a few lapses) Christine and Matt Tognetti have each lost more than five kilograms and are boasting of extra energy. Their skin is clear and their eyes are bright.

Dr Ben Balzer monitored Christine and Matt during the trial. He observed both had lost weight around the middle – which is important given that a thick waistline increases the chance of heart disease – and both had also recorded falls in cholesterol levels. Less than ideal was Matt’s loss of muscle tone – with tests showing he lost as much muscle as fat. But overall, Dr Balzer reckons the results are impressive. 

Christine said: “I enjoyed this diet more than any other diet I’ve ever been on. Because I didn’t crave that bad food – unless someone put it in front of me – and I felt so much better... I’m convinced that my body said thank-you.”

Matt said: “We’ve not been roughing it. We’ve been eating good quality meats and fruit and vegetables... We want to continue eating that sort of food.”

Are you trying the paleolithic diet? We want to know about your experiences so tell us all about it in the comments below.

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