I was first made aware of this diet on my recent flight back from Europe by my vegetarian seat companion. That is absolutely insane, I thought! It is right in line with the Atkins type diet – a true formula for a future heart disease and other nasty illnesses, such as the big “C”! The next time I heard about it was from a friend of mine on FaceBook, who does a lot of weightlifting training and who almost bought into the belief that this diet would be good for her. She told me that the Paleolithic diet had been recommended to her by people at her gym. Well, I thought that I would dispel this type of thinking.
The Paleolithic era was “a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture.” Paleolithic man only lived to be, on average, 33 years old. If they made it past 15 years of age, their life expectancy increased!
A paleolithic diet advocates eating mainly fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats (good luck finding that in the U.S.A), vegetables, fruits, fungi, roots and nuts and excludes grains, dairy products, legumes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
Now that probably sounds pretty darn healthy, doesn’t it? I certainly applaud not consuming dairy products (please see my earlier posts on dairy products), refined sugar, salt and processed oils. However, the fish and meat available 10,000 years ago is not what we have today. Back then they didn’t have modern agriculture, GMO‘s (genetically modified organisms), the Monsanto corporation had not reared its ugly head, nor was food loaded with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other deadly toxins. Factory farming with its horrific practices had not yet been thought up. Further, back in the paleolithic era, the environment was not compromised like it is today due to widespread chemical contamination of land, air, and water.
More importantly than what I have mentioned above back then they didn’t know what we know today about the effects of animal proteins on human health! Dr. T. Colin Campbell‘s research on human health and diet written about in “The China Study” – which is the largest study ever conducted in the world. Dr. Campbell’s research clearly shows the disastrous effects of protein intake over and over again for all Western types of diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis to name a few). Protein intake, even in smaller amounts, has been shown to increase and promote cancer growth and development. The studies in the book are not just from China either. How many of us truly knows what an intake of five to ten percent or less looks like? I certainly do not! This was not just one single study! This was a 27 year study! If you haven’t read the book, “The China Study”, I strongly encourage you to do so! I promise you that it will be worth your time!
The New York Times said, “The study that can be considered the Grand Prix of Epidemiology.” The good news is that plant proteins do not have any of these negative side effects what so ever and you will still more than meet your daily protein intake by following a whole foods plant-based diet! Sadly, we have been raised to believe that animal proteins are of higher quality than plant proteins. This is a giant myth and misconception!
The meat and diary industry doesn’t want you to know any of this information because this would soon put them out of business if we all awakened to these simple truths! There would also be less patients dying in the hospitals or needing major bypass surgeries. Further, think of the savings to our government and tax paying dollars! Right now we are ALL paying in major ways for these perpetual lies and will continue to do so until we realize the negative effects to our overall long term health. Let’s not forget the negative environmental effects that a high meat consumption diet is also resulting in – leading to environmental degradation and global warming!
Now if you truly want to be healthy, fit, trim and on a warriors diet, you can take a look back in time to the Roman Gladiators!
Dr. McDougall writes, “Analysis of their bones for calcium, strontium, and zinc showed that the world’s fiercest fighters followed an essentially vegan diet. In contemporary accounts, the gladiators referred to as hordearii, or barley men, since barley provided the bulk of the nutrients that gave their remarkably strong muscles and bones the strength and endurance to compete in the ultimate sport of life and death.” ( The Starch Solution, p.12) He also writes, “Caesar’s legions complained when they had too much meat in their diet and preferred to do their fighting on grains.” The reason for this is obvious because it takes so much more energy for the body to break down the meat and then it is left to rot in your intestines for days or weeks!
Another example of the “real paleolithic diet” that Dr. McDougall gives are the Incan warriors who’d switch from potatoes to quinoa for strength prior to their battles. Trust me, these guys were no weaklings just because they were on a potato or quinoa diet! Along with healthy servings of fruits and vegetables! Please keep reading…don’t miss what Derek Tresize has to say further down!
If you are an athlete trying to boost your performance why not look at those who are on a plant-based vegan diet like the worlds strongest man, a German. Here’s an interview with him on YouTube:
From Wikipedia, I got this bit of notable information:
“A 2011 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, involving a panel of 22 experts, ranked the Paleo diet lowest of the 20 diets evaluated based on factors including health, weight-loss and ease of following. These results were repeated in the 2012 survey, where the diet placed 24th out of 24, stating that their experts “took issue with the diet on every measure”. However, one expert involved in the ranking stated that a “true Paleo diet might be a great option: very lean, pure meats, lots of wild plants. The modern approximations… are far from it.” He quickly added that “duplicating such a regimen in modern times would be difficult.”
However, if you want to look like a modern day healthy plant-based vegan warrior, then check out Derek Tresize shown below:
Derek Tresize says, “I was pretty much a red-meat, chicken, and broccoli guy before, which is what you see a lot of the strength trainers doing. Then I just started learning about the negative effects of animal protein on the body, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Just from reading Dr. Campbell’s China Study, and Dr. Fuhrman‘s book Eat to Live, you hear over and over the promotion of cancer, the promotion of heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, significant problems that afflict millions of people.
Heart disease and cancer both run in my family. So I tried going 30 days without touching [animal products], and I noticed right away, aside from food cravings, I felt much cleaner. That’s the best word — you feel cleaner inside. Then, after the 30 days, I went back to trying to eat those foods again, and they made me really sick. And so that was kind of a wake-up call.
First thing, I lost a ton of weight, but it was body fat. It went from 12 percent to seven percent over a couple of months, which is a huge drop. I hadn’t been able to do that with a whey protein diet, or with tons of cardio. But just by changing what I ate, the fat disappeared. I was doing some endurance stuff at the time, but when I came back to lifting, probably six months after, once I had gotten my stride back, I noticed I’d gotten quite a lot stronger than I was, which at first surprised me, but now it doesn’t. The more I know, the more I realize that this is the ideal diet that we’re built for. Just based on our physiology, based on our digestive system, we’re really geared towards breaking down plant material. I looked at all the medical studies and disease rates. People who eat a plant-based diet are healthier. “
In addition to being a vegan bodybuilder, Derek also has a degree in biology and a plant-based nutrition certification from Cornell University.