Food foundation

Eating like our primitive ancestors

The ever-growing preoccupation with finding a diet for a fit, long and healthy lifestyle has convinced some people of eating like our Palaeolithic ancestors. It is called Paleo or Primal diet and it is essentially a hunter and gatherer diet based on animal proteins (meats and fish) and their products (eggs, honey, etc.), vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts.

According to the Paleo enthusiasts, by removing everything else from the table, the possibility of contracting any disease or ailment will be significantly reduced or eliminated.

Paleo diet3

So, apparently since our ancestors introduced planting and farming 10,000 years ago, we started ruining our health. While it is true that in the last 50 years, chronic diseases have risen, especially in industrialised countries, the removal from our diet of dairy, grains and legumes which are essential components of the Italian cuisine, seems a bit extreme. In fact, so far there is no evidence of a correlation between dairy, grains and legumes and ill health. On the contrary, grains, and legumes in particular, improve blood lipids, blood glucose control, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart diseases.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as the minor portion of the population that suffer from celiac disease, a reaction to gluten, a component of most grains. Other people struggle with dairy as well as with super foods such as kale! Every food has anti-nutrients, including super food such as spinach and cacao. We did not become the dominant species of the planet by acting as a fussy and delicate flower. Our body is able to produce the necessary enzymes to break down and digest almost anything. Could it be that today’s food related health problems are linked with overeating and eating refined foods instead?The positive note of the Paleo diet is that it emphasises the importance of eating whole food and grass-fed meat, while eliminating refined and highly processed food. But I am sure we can still look good and feel great if once in a while we enjoy a glass of Sangiovese, a Tuscan bean soup or a pizza with buffalo mozzarella.

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