The hunter gatherer diet, also known as the paleo diet, is a diet that approximates the diet that our ancestors would have evolved with for the millions of years before the rise of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. Since agriculture is such a recent development in evolutionary time, our bodies and genetics are still adapted to a diet that is free of those foods which are exclusively the products of agriculture; such as grains, dairy, and processed sugars.
The return to a diet similar to the one humans evolved with can have many health benefits. The hunter gatherer diet promotes fat loss, improves cardiovascular risk factors, and helps reduce or eliminate many autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmunity disorders are the result of our own body’s immune system mistaking its own tissue for a foreign invader. These autoimmune disorders are linked to intestinal damage which lets foreign food particles into the bloodstream that can then trigger out of control immune response. What causes this intestinal damage? You guess it, those same foods that are the result of agricultural development; grains, legumes, and dairy.
The hunter gatherer diet is also effective in reducing insulin insensitivity, which is important for avoiding diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight.
Even if you don’t have any health disorders and are in fairly good shape, chances are that if you switch to a hunter gatherer style diet you would never want to go back. One of the largest groups of people adopting the diet are competitive athletes that know it gives them the best results.
How to make the switch
So maybe you would like to try the diet out but don’t know where to start. First thing is to eliminate grains legumes and dairy from your diet, you won’t see the kind of results you would like to cheating with these things, especially at first. This is because your body needs to repair the damage done by the harmful elements of grains, legumes, and dairy.
This leaves everything our ancient ancestors would have had available; lean meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts, and healthy fats. These foods are high in nutrients and generally more filling.
This switch can feel overwhelming for people at first, as many of us were pretty reliant on grains and dairy in our cooking. That’s why I recommend getting a recipe book that follows these tenants to make the transition easier.
Affiliate disclosure: the owner of this site is affiliated with some of the products promoted on this page.
Photo by Mike Johnson – TheBusyBrain.com