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Paleo – its affect on the gut

Everyone is talking about Paleo now. What does it really mean? Think about the cave-man. He speared the kangaroo for dinner whilst the women in the tribe collected berries, grasses and roots to eat. There were no crops and no refined sugar. But how often did they eat meat? Nobody really know of course, but some say that they ate mostly fruits and vegetables and only had meat once/week. Their range of fruits and vegetables was very extensive compared to what we eat today and they were completely natural. Not having undergone years of selective breeding to suit what the public want. For example, people want sweet apples, so apples have been bred to be sweeter than they were originally. This has led to a reduction in the phytonutrients in apples, which plays in important role in reducing inflammation.

Cropping has also lead to the problem that we eat too many grains and our bodies are not genetically designed for it. It takes a lot longer for the evolution of man than it does for the progress in the manufacture and cultivation of our food. This results in inflammation, increased fat and inability to lose fat due to the inflammation.

The paleo diet indicates no grains, dairy, sugars, starches, alcohol and legumes. Legumes, I personally have a problem with eliminating. If we are not eating the high fibre root vegetables and grasses our ancestors did, we are not nourishing our gut flora. Traditionally the range of fruits and vegetables were alot more extensive than what we eat today. Each different fruit/veg provides food in the form of fibre for different species of the gut flora. We are lacking that variety of fibre in our modern way of eating. Legumes are a great way for high fibre to be included in our diet.

Like most things, monitor how you feel after eating all things. If legumes are making you sluggish or obvious symptoms like excess wind/bloating or constipation first of all ensure that you are preparing them properly, then look at ways to improve your gut flora to be able to eat them with no symptoms. Last resort should be to remove them from the diet.

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