Reclaiming Health and Vitality
At the dawn of man, food sources were limited. The availability of foods were drastically limited based upon two primary elements: geographical location and seasons. Our earliest ancestors supported their nutritional requirements via hunter-gatherer techniques. Imagine what it would be like if the foods you ate were solely dependent on luck?
Fighting against insurmountable odds, early humans survived by wandering virgin landscapes in search of food sources. This mode of consumption was truly feast or famine. However, as time progressed and the dawn of civilization enlightened ancient lands, the basic techniques of agriculture soon followed.
The earliest forms of agriculture maximized protein and plant resources native to specific regions. Before long, inhabitants of these civilizations cultivated an excess of food. This was the first time in human history food sources outweighed population. Within this initial alteration in food consumption, the concept of food preservation began. The first crop to experience preservation was grain (1). Shortly thereafter, the concept of preserving and curing meats populated the very first cities.
As time progressed, and civilizations rapidly moved from minimalistic food availability into the vast array of culinary options we see today, a new industry began to flourish: food preservation.
In our current society, preservation of food has led to some of our most chronic and debilitating diseases. However, without this change in consumption methods our entire world would look much different. In fact, agriculture and food preservation is believed to be the very elements responsible for government, arts and technology (1).
Our understanding of the dangers of food preservation and processing has triggered a unique response. Many wish to fight back against the evolving epidemic of sickness derived from our food sources. One of the most popular – and effective – ways to combat foodborne illness is The Paleo Diet.
Before we delve into the scientifically-backed reasons why eating The Paleo way can transform your health and vitality, let’s take a moment to explore the real dangers hiding behind the modern food industry.
Deadly Abundance | How Processed Foods Are Killing Us
The birth of processed foods was stimulated out of necessity. During the first part of the 20th Century, poverty and malnutrition among the working class spread like a disease. The first development of processed foods came in the form of pasteurizing milk and the invention of sanitary cans. However, in less than a decade, our food supply took on a darker hue. Starting in 1910, hydrogenated oils found its way into the mainstream food supply (2).
From here, foods swiftly deviated away from its natural form. It wasn’t long until our entire food supply became tainted with strikingly dangerous chemicals – all for the sake of cheap, long-lasting foods.
The heart of processed foods is based upon a single theory: produce as much food as possible for as little as possible. Even though this means the general public has access to affordable culinary options, at what price does this abundance demand? The answer is far more disturbing than many wish to believe.
Generations of Disease | Health Dangers of Processed Foods
Throughout the past several generations, the rate and spread of chronic diseases has increased at an alarming rate. As we enter the 21st Century, cancer diagnoses is expected to increase by 50% by the year 2020, according to the World Health Organization (3). Could it be that the human genome is changing to one that’s more susceptible to cancer? No. The primary source for our horrific increase in cancer is caused by our lifestyles – mainly our diet.
The majority of processed foods generally contain extreme amounts of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It should come as no surprise that excessive sugar consumption (regardless of its name/source) significantly increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (4). Moreover, processed foods rich in sugar are directly linked to the most deadly chronic diseases, including obesity and cancer (5)(6).
Sugar isn’t the only culprit leading to an increase of chronic diseases. Let’s take a look at one of the most commonly consumed processed foods: meat.
According to data outlined by the Nutrition and Cancer medical journal, those who consume processed meats are at a statistically higher risk of developing colorectal cancer (7). The source of this increased risk of cancer is directly linked to a deadly cocktail of chemicals produced during the processing phase (8).
The Paleo Diet | A Return to Nature – A Return to Health
Within the World Health Organization statement mentioned above, one of the most powerful suggestions to avoid cancer is eating a healthy diet filled with organic fruits and vegetables (3). The foundation of many of our diseases and illnesses is based on our addiction to a high calorie diet rich in refined carbohydrates, fat and synthetic chemicals (3).
The fundamental principle of The Paleo Diet is returning to the dietary structure before the Industrial Revolution poisoned our food supply. By avoiding all processed, refined and chemically-treated foods, your body is void of compounds responsible for triggering ailments and disease.
Many claim this way of eating resembles the dietary intake of our ancestors. In many ways, this is accurate. However, we aren’t limited to food sources within a specific region. Therefore, we can fill our bodies with natural, wholesome foods from around the world to further enhance our intake of essential nutrients, antioxidants and genuine fuel to power through our lives and fight off disease.
The power of switching to a natural, organic diet is continuously being proved via scientific research. As mentioned earlier, one of the most common diseases derived from high-sugar, highly-processed foods is Type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in the medical journal Diabetologia, participants with Type 2 diabetes who consumed a “Paleolithic” diet – which is the fundamental concept of The Paleo Diet – experienced completely normal blood glucose levels and significantly lower blood sugar responses to carbohydrate intake (9). These results were noticed after only 12 weeks of consuming Palaeolithic-based diets.
In an effort to combat chronic diseases, you must review your entire lifestyle. However, the foundation of lifelong health is determined by what you eat.
We are natural beings. Because of this, we must return to nature in order to reclaim our health, vitality and longevity.