Today there are many critics of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. People say that humans are meant to be eating grains and legumes and without them, deficiencies will occur. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend 6-11 servings of “healthy whole grains” everyday! But this is simply not healthy.
For about 1-2 million years humans have lived as hunter-gatherers off of mostly red meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Humans were tall, strong, and healthy and new research suggests that although they lived much shorter lives than humans today, it was mostly because of all the violence and diseases, and no modern medicine to cure them. Hunter-gatherers did not develop the common diseases of modern living including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Almost all Hunter-gatherers were thin, and never experienced obesity. It was only 10,000 years ago during the agricultural revolution, that grains and legumes were introduced to the human diet. This is actually a very small amount of time in the grand scheme of things.
Why Grains are unhealthy
Humans have not evolved to eat grains yet and there is scientific proof that these new foods that were introduced during the agricultural revolution, have had a majorly negative impact on human health. After this revolution, humans lost an average height of about 5-6 inches, brain size decreased, and infectious diseases spread. Early farmers experienced cavities and a lot of inflammation, which were pretty rare previous to this time period. In fact when farming was developed the average life expectancy dropped from 26 years to 19 years!
You might be thinking right now, “But what about whole grains? Whole grains are healthy right?”. Although this is the message that is shared with almost everyone, it is not true. There is much false health information out there, that was believed to be true years ago, that has now been proved to be incorrect with new scientific evidence. The nutrition of grains is a prime example of this.
Why are grains (YES, EVEN WHOLE GRAINS) unhealthy? It has to do with the way the plants protect themselves from predators. The grain must somehow make it into the soil and be left alone for a long enough time to reproduce and sprout. Just like a porcupine will ram its quills into a predator, or a cat will shoot out its claws when its scared, grains have toxins called anti nutrients, and inflammatory proteins, that are supposed to help it from being eaten by other organisms. These anti nutrients keep the plant safe from their surroundings and they are one of the most efficient ways that a plant can protect itself from predators. Without these anti nutrients a plant’s reproduction process is hopeless.
Anti-nutrients include lectins, saponins, phytic acid, gluten, and many others. Why are anti-nutrients bad? Let me tell you why. Anti-nutrients bind to vitamins, minerals and the other nutrients in your food and inhibit the absorption of them into your body. At a first glance, legumes like beans may seem like a very healthy food, with plenty of magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and much more but since they are packed full with phytic acid, most of those nutrients will not even be available to your body! This can result in various mineral and vitamin deficiencies, since the nutrients you are eating are not being absorbed. Another reason that Anti-nutrients are so bad is that they cause a huge amount of inflammation in the body. Inflammation leads to headaches, brain fog, GI distress, fatigue, joint pain, autoimmune conditions, and so much more. It can eventually lead to chronic pain and problems. A huge population of the western world is plagued with chronic digestive issues, and you can bet that for the most part grains are to blame.
So whats the solution…?
EAT PALEO/ PRIMAL!!!
By getting rid of all the junk and toxins out of your diet, you will be soooo much healthier and you will definitely notice a difference in a matter of days! You’ll have a stronger immune system, so you won;t get sick nearly as much, you’ll lose weight (if you aren’t already your ideal weight like so many americans aren’t), you’ll have more energy, and you’ll just feel better in every way. Going Paleo can help with digestive issues, fatigue, cardivascular diseases, it can clear your skin, and it can help with just about every health problem you could possibly have! So why not try it, and see for yourself!