Growing up, we were told by doctors, teachers, and our parents that it is unhealthy to eat too many eggs because of their saturated fat and cholesterol levels.
They lied to us but it’s not their fault.
Science tells us that a large egg has 2 grams of saturated fat and 212 milligrams of cholesterol – but regardless how many of them you eat, you will never get heart disease.
Eggs increase our good cholesterol, HDL; and they positively change the physical composition of LDL. Eggs are loaded with essential amino acids and nutrients, including choline (which boosts brain power) and both lutein and zeaxanthine (which improve vision).
Nobody told us that.
Nobody told us about the paleo lifestyle either. It’s a minimalist way of eating and drinking similar to how our ancestors ate and drank over 20,000 years ago.
[bctt tweet=”Harness your inner caveman and consider eating #paleo.”]
You probably heard of popular diets with names ranging from South Beach to Mediterranean to Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers. The problem with those diets is they are intended to be quick fixes and don’t truly change the foods you eat.
For instance, all of the above plans allow you to eat corn. The problem with this philosophy, focusing on just corn, is the corn of 2015 is fundamentally different than the corn of the Paleolithic age. Evolutionary trends in science and technology changed our farming methods that altered the chemistry of grains. Given this, is it surprising that society now has people with gluten sensitivities and Celiac disease?
The paleo lifestyle is based on how our ancestors lived in the past. They hunted for meat and ate what they found in the wild. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and anything with a heartbeat were the staples of their meals. Cavemen did not domesticate animals so they did not consume milk, cheese, or butter. They had fire for cooking but no freezers, coffee makers, or breweries. It wasn’t a diet for them but a lifestyle – and you can join them in a modern-day equivalent.
I joined the paleo bandwagon in July 2014 – initially as a means to lose weight when exercise wasn’t helping and to eat healthier. After three months, I lost 20 pounds and 4 inches off my waist. I enjoyed buying new clothes and, moreover, I maintain those reduced body levels today.
Tips to improve your culinary appetite and harness your inner caveman
1. Shop smart and read ingredients
A good rule of thumb is you should identify every ingredient. If you don’t know what it looks like, or, worse, if you can’t pronounce it, then it’s probably artificial and manmade. Tomato sauce is a great example: some labels include unpronounceable ingredients but others include only tomato, basil, and garlic.
Cane sugar is bad for you, as are wheat and their byproducts. Don’t buy them. If you must, ingest them minimally.
2. Drink water.
The most important time of day to drink water is during the moments when you awake in the morning. Your body loses nutrients during the night and it’s important to replenish your cells. Drink a pint of water every morning when you get up.
Throughout the day, when you reach for a can of soda or a cup of coffee or some other beverage, stop yourself and drink water instead. Feel free to add a slice of lemon, lime, or orange to give it flavor. A useful tonic to remove toxins from your body is a cup of water with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and a dash of honey.
Aside from water, the only liquids I drink are coffee and tea (either hot or cold but always black, never with milk or sugar). I also buy dairy-free milks that are made with almonds, coconuts, or cashews. Silk is a popular manufacturer and their ingredients have the fewest chemicals.
Be wary of juice because fruits have natural fructose but many juice manufacturers add more sugar. It’s best to buy whole fruits and squeeze your own juice.
3. Buy a spiralizer.
Not to be confused with a mandoline (which your grandmother probably bought for making potato pancakes), a spiralizer, such as the Paderno Tri-Blade which I own, creates spaghetti-like strands from soft vegetables, including zucchinis, squashes, sweet potatoes, and jicamas.
Spiralizing a normal-sized zucchini takes about 60 seconds. I rarely eat it raw, but sauté it with butter and garlic, sometimes adding chopped red peppers, mushrooms, or carrots. I then top the platter with a fried egg or accompany it with roasted chicken or another protein.
4. Eat superfoods.
Almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, coconut, dark chocolate, flax seeds, kale, olive oil, pineapple, spirulina, walnuts, watermelon, wild salmon — the list goes on.
These foods are loaded with nutrients and minerals that make you feel full without the need to eat a lot. Nuts and avocados, in particular, are loaded with healthy fats.
5. Buy a blender and a crockpot.
The blender can be used to create smoothies and grind foods together. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need a good motor and versatile speeds. I bought mine for about $40 from Amazon.
The crockpot, also called a slow cooker, is great during the winter, spring, and fall; and can be used to make soups, chilis, and other meals that don’t need time and attention. Put all your ingredients in the pot, select the low setting, and go out for eight or nine hours. Come back and you have that night’s dinner plus up to a week’s worth of leftovers.
I’m writing this sentence after a healthy breakfast of spiralized zucchini, two strips of bacon from a local farm, and a fried egg. My bacon had neither nitrites nor additives, the eggs were from grass-fed chickens, and the zucchini was organic.
You don’t have to eat how I eat. What I hope you get out of the above is that today’s (western hemisphere) dietary choices greatly evolved from the paleolithic diet. Change your understanding of the food you eat and change your world.