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The Caveman Diet

Natrushka

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I figured the tea... :D

You can have OJ or oranges w/ the iron and that will help it absorb better.
 

Sahara

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I figured the tea... :D

You can have OJ or oranges w/ the iron and that will help it absorb better.


Ali G accent "Is it cos I is british"? lol (brits and tea ;) )

Thanks for the advice, you really know your health stuff. :)
 

Lateralus

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You're 1000 times (yes, I chose an arbitrary number) better off getting your vitamins from real foods rather than supplements.
 

Dark Razor

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I think that the Cavemen approach is flawed, because the food available at that time was limited by the primitive level of technology. Later on man was able to access important food sources through the discovery of new technology (i.e. fire), which are mostly high value foods such as potatoes and beans, which are important to human survival.

What I mean to say is that potatoes and beans and such are still whole, natural and valuable foods, however in their raw state they are poisonous and they are made edible by cooking, which broadens the spectrum of available food for humans and therefor increases their chances for survival.

Cooking meat also increases the chance for survival, because it kills parasites and bacteria that are very dangerous to us, so in this case technological development again increases survivability by altering raw food.
What is important though, is the fact that we are still dealing with whole foods.
Today food is often divided into it's micro-nutrients, like starch, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals etc. , some people tell you you should eat more of that or more of that, though usually you are not told to eat less of anything, because then someone would make less money. So you're told to eat less "saturated fat" what this actually means is that you should eat less meat and dairy, because those foods were naturally scarce in the past, which means that it makes sense that you have a strong craving for them as they contain nutrients that historically were not easily available, such as iron or calcium.

Today however there is an abundance of all foodstuffs, which means that you have to control that craving as it no longer serves the purpose of directing you towards a scarce source of nutrition.

In the past the environment dictated to you what food was available and your instincts and desires developed according to what was available, today this has changed, as all food is available in abundance your natural sensors so to speak, fail and it becomes necessary that you use conscious thought and willpower to resist your instinctual cravings to a certain degree. For example you crave fat and protein, because those things were historically hard to come by, but today you have to resist that craving because the food you are craving is no longer scarce and you will overeat consistently.

After a certain point processing of food becomes detrimental to human health, exemplified by the extraction of pure starch (white flour) from grains and such , which was based on the assumption that there were only three nutrients, starch, protein and fat and that by removing the "waste" and just keeping the good stuff the food could be more efficiently used by the human body. Of course this was wrong, as we now know that we actually need the waste (the fiber) for various processes in our body, not to mention that it helps to keep us slim by increasing volume of the food in our stomach and also helps with balancing blood sugar because the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream less fast.

So I think we can say that one should focus on eating whole foods, and, since humans are omnivorous, eat as much species as possible, but should certainly not limit oneself to foods that are only available raw, as that would severely limit the amount of species and therefor nutrients and would in a natural setting decrease survivability, which would in turn be unnatural in the first place because it would endanger evolutionary success. Though food processed beyond the basic level (heating) should be avoided because it's nutritional balance has been altered in unnatural ways which makes it potentially harmful to the human body.

The most difficult part seems to be the balancing of food, as now we have everything available in basically infinite numbers. I think we should look at what was naturally scarce and what was available, and if we do that then we see that the classic food pyramid actually gives a fairly good picture of that, most available were starchy foods such as roots and grains, next are fruits and berries (those are easier to come by but they can't be stored well and are usually low in energy, so grains are superior in terms of assuring sustained survivability where subsistence agriculture is present.)

Meat is difficult to come by in most places and requires high amounts of energy input (for farming) or high amounts of individual energy input for a relatively low success rate (hunting), without conservation methods it also quickly perishes, so meat was certainly a rare and special dish historically, which shows why it is no wonder that eating meat every day is bad for you.
Eggs are probably better than meat, as those are fairly easy to collect.

Raw sugars are not available in nature at all except as honey, which means that one should not eat those at all (which can be done, even if it seems impossible for you now, once you've gotten rid of them you wont miss them.)

Dairy is a special case, as the ability to digest it is mainly an evolutionary adaption to the low amount of sunshine in Nothern Europe and other places (I still cant eat most of it even though I live there.) However historically dairy products require quite the amount of work to produce, as they require you to keep animals and feed them, which means that they were probably not abundant in the past and should not be eaten in large amounts, which also corresponds with what science knows about the actual composition of dairy products.
 

ptgatsby

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Thank you :) , I already see the counterpoints swarming in though :D .

My only comment is that while I agree with the errors of eating "all natural" with no processing, it seems that the line you draw is (in theory) arbitary - some refining may be good while others may be bad. However, everything you mention is, as far as I know, completely accurate and makes total sense, so I'm not about to challenge it :D

I don't think there are many counter points, far as I can see, except that one.
 

Tayshaun

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Yes, I agree this was a well-written, accessible and interesting post. Well done DR!
 

Wolf

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Dark Razor: Your assumptions are based on fallacies.

1) Cooking/fire is what divides humans from animals.
2) Certain foods are better for humans than others. Many beans are edible without any preparation, though most are not palatable. Humans are not well suited for consuming simple grain starches and all but Europeans are poorly suited for dairy products (even this group only tolerates dairy).
3) Agriculture is new and not fully tested. We actually ate nuts (high in energy and fat), fruits/berries (high in energy, low in fat), various vegetables (roots (main source of starch), leaves, etc), and meats (mostly fish, followed by red meats, and distantly followed by fowl - most humans preferred to live near water both due to needing water and the fact it contained food). Grains were never consumed by humans before agriculture.
 

Mempy

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"The changes that have occurred in the Western diet are far too rapid. Our genes have been stable, but our diet has not."

You know, I was thinking along the same lines just yesterday. I thought to myself that stone-agers probably ate only meat, berries, etc, and that maybe that's what we're meant to eat.

It surprised me at first that they're doing research on this. I never would have thought it. But it does make a lot of sense, because studying our ancestors will give us information about ourselves.

Another ironic thing is that, of all the diets I've ever tried (about a handful), only cutting out grains and starches has worked. I eat all meat, all produce, and I exercise. I just started this diet at the beginning of the week, and I've already lost three pounds! I'm excited. :D It's almost like waving a magic wand.

I think the cavemen had the right idea.

My question is, when will our genes mutate so that we can burn up starches?
 

Natrushka

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ISo you're told to eat less "saturated fat" what this actually means is that you should eat less meat and dairy...

You're told to eat less 'saturated fat' and fat in general because of a politician by the name of Senator George McGovern who made it a crusade in the late 1960 and early 1970s.

The soft science of dietary fat

The most difficult part seems to be the balancing of food, as now we have everything available in basically infinite numbers. I think we should look at what was naturally scarce and what was available, and if we do that then we see that the classic food pyramid actually gives a fairly good picture of that, most available were starchy foods such as roots and grains, next are fruits and berries (those are easier to come by but they can't be stored well and are usually low in energy, so grains are superior in terms of assuring sustained survivability where subsistence agriculture is present.)

Just as the foods that are available today are not the same as those available then, the foods that were available then and are still available now are not the same as they were. Foods are enginered to be sweeter. The soils they are grown in are depleted of the minerals that used to be plentiful, thus the foods are also lacking in the minerals we count on them for. Selenium. Magnesium.

Also, the introduction of grains and then the move to processing of foods has had an impact on our health that is only just being realized. We used to eat the whole animal. The animal ate other animals and grasses and berries, and whatever - but it ate real food, too. The quality and quanitity of minerals, vitamins and macro nutrients were different then. A very big difference now, thanks largely to grains and processing, is the overabudance of omega 6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid (EFA) meaning your body cannot make it, itself - it must be obtained from the food you eat. It's vital to your health, which makes it seem like a good thing. It is. But too much of a good thing is a very bad thing in this instance.

Current estimates place the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 (the other EFA) at between 20:1 and 8:1. The optimal ratio is close to 3:1. The two EFAs have almost the opposite effects on the body. Omega-6 is pro inflammatory, Omege-3 is anti-inflammatory. Studies show that symptoms of autoimmune disease, depression, CVD can be lessened and sometimes reversed when Omega 3 fatty acids are used to correct the imbalance that exists in populations.

which shows why it is no wonder that eating meat every day is bad for you.

Can you please provide some proof of this statement?

The concept of eating whole foods is a good one. The concept of eating less food is a good one. Balance. "Natural". "Unprocessed". All good. Fat and meat are natural and unprocessed.

This book might help, Pollan does a much better job explaining than I do :)

The Ominivore's Dilemma.
 

Dark Razor

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I wanted to reply to Wolf and also to you now, but I am very busy and dont know if I will have time to, you both have good points though, I hope I will be able to address them.
 

Lark

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Bump.

I am reading about the paleo diet at the moment, have been reading about it and trying to apply what I've read for a bit.

Its funny how this is kind of an old idea now when its not that old really.
 
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