Stone Age sus­te­nance

Pa­leo looks likely to stay the buzz word in diet cir­cles

The Morning Bulletin - - YOU -

PA­LEO is show­ing no signs of halt­ing in pop­u­lar­ity this year. My Kitchen Rules chef “pa­leo” Pete Evans has led a so­cial me­dia and recipe book rev­o­lu­tion with the diet at the fore­front of his claims of good health. Week­end takes a look at the ar­gu­ments for and against pa­leo, plus an­other diet set to star in 2017.

Stone Age eat­ing

Cave­men and women didn’t eat pro­cessed food or mi­crowave­able meals; they ate what was avail­able in their en­vi­ron­ment. The term pa­leo is used to guide our diet to con­sume food as a cave­man would. Our pa­le­olithic an­ces­tors would eat only what they could hunt, for­age and gather, mean­ing food was fresh, sea­sonal and healthy.

Pa­leo is an an­cient style of nutrition that has be­come more recog­nised in so­ci­ety. It is by no means a trend that will pass by. It is a his­tor­i­cal way of eat­ing that we have adapted for our mod­ern-day habits. Sup­port­ers of the life­style choice say it will im­prove your gut health, bal­ance blood sugar lev­els, in­crease brain­power and con­cen­tra­tion, and boost your im­mune sys­tem.

The pa­leo diet elim­i­nates cer­tain food groups such as dairy, grains, re­fined sugar and pro­cessed food. So what are the pa­leo trend of­fer­ings of now?

THE CO­CONUT: This Caribbean ge­nius nut is an all-round hero prod­uct. High in nat­u­ral fat, co­conut oil, wa­ter, flour, cream, but­ter and sugar can be pro­duced. Even co­conut jam has made it to the shelves. It is the new health food sta­ple.

FER­MENTED FOODS: Bac­te­rial es­sen­tials for gut and brain health. Fer­mented foods have pro­bi­otic qual­i­ties that help our di­ges­tion and fight ill­ness. Al­ter­na­tive food pantries will stock ker­fier and kam­boucha in abun­dance, which are fer­mented drinks. One is of a yo­gurt con­sis­tency and the lat­ter made of tea. Even sauer­kraut, an an­cient Euro­pean cab­bage recipe, is be­ing loaded into wraps and sal­ads.

SU­PER FOODS: La­belled as su­per-plant based prod­ucts, these foods are laden with vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and an­tiox­i­dants needed to bal­ance the body. Goji berries, once used in Chi­nese medicine, are now pro­moted as hav­ing im­mune-boost­ing qual­i­ties. Su­per pow­ders are also be­ing blended in morn­ing smooth­ies. Maca and boabab are good for en­ergy re­lease and heal­ing nutrition.

Pa­leo is not a fad or a star­va­tion diet, it’s a life­time of ed­i­ble ded­i­ca­tion to im­prove your health and well-be­ing and feed your body with the most nutrition-dense food pos­si­ble. It’s not as pre­his­toric as it might seem. — Sarah Barnes

Diet for your mind

FOR­GIVE my cyn­i­cism when it comes to pa­leo, or any diet that cuts out whole food groups for an ex­tended pe­riod of time. Yes, a mi­nor­ity of peo­ple are lac­tose or gluten in­tol­er­ant. Yes, peo­ple don’t eat an­i­mals or an­i­mal prod­ucts for their own spir­i­tual, re­li­gious or eth­i­cal rea­sons. No, I do not buy that we would all ben­e­fit from cut­ting cer­tain food groups from our di­ets, nor should meat-eaters have to jus­tify their choices.

In his book, The Mindspan Diet, Pre­ston W Estep ar­gues against pa­leo’s premise that hu­mans can­not prop­erly di­gest some foods.

“Ge­netic ev­i­dence shows that over time hu­mans have been evolv­ing an in­creas­ing abil­ity to di­gest starches and sugars,”

the book says. The di­rec­tor of geron­tol­ogy at the Har­vard Per­sonal Genome Project in­stead fo­cused on di­ets that may help stave off de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s. Estep in­tro­duces the reader to what he terms the Mindspan Elite, which are select pop­u­la­tions and in­di­vid­u­als who have en­joyed the great­est life and mindspans in hu­man his­tory.

These groups in­clude the Ja­panese and Mediter­raneans. The book is full of tips and tricks these groups use in their daily lives, in­clud­ing: MAN­AG­ING CARBS: The type and the pace of con­sump­tion of carbs are im­por­tant. Dr Estep writes cer­tain groups slow their carb con­sump­tion by eat­ing “un­hur­ried” meals or eat­ing carbs later in the meal.

ES­SEN­TIAL FATTY ACIDS: Dr Estep writes that these are es­sen­tial build­ing blocks for our bod­ies and we can­not func­tion without them. Gen­er­ally, there are two types: omega-6 and omega-3, which are found in fish, shell­fish and plants.

THE BAD FATS: The old of­fend­ers, ox­i­dised polyun­sat­u­rated fats and trans fats, are no good for brain health. Dr

Estep writes they need to be elim­i­nated from di­ets. — Letea Ca­van­der

PHOTO: DIG­I­TAL VI­SION

The co­conut is con­sid­ered a hero prod­uct in a pa­leo diet. U S I N G FOOD A S THE HUNTER GATHERER S D I D I S THE B A S I S FOR THE PA L E O D I ET

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Pa­leo pan­cakes made from eggs and bananas.

The Mindspan Diet by Pre­ston W Estep, pub­lished by Nero, RRP $29.99, is out now.

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