Over the past few years, I’ve been reading about what we are meant to eat. The 80/10/10 Diet book first looks at what we would eat in nature without the use of fire, containers, tools or refrigeration and reaches the conclusion that we would be frugivores, living primarily on fruits with the addition of tender greens. Another book that I’ve had on my shelf for years is “The Yeast Connection” which mentions the “cave man diet” as a basic elimination diet that avoids any and every food eaten more than once a week.
An interesting take on the question of what we eat has been to compare us with our next closest living relatives being two chimpanzee species and gorillas, with the DNA of gorillas being 98% to 99% identical to that of a human. After writing the international bestseller “Easy Way to Stop Smoking”, Allen Carr later followed up with his book “Easyweigh to Lose Weight” in which he considers what wild animals including gorillas eat.
Now I’m reading the book “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain which looks at what our Stone Age ancestors ate. The book recommends eating lean meats and fish, fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables. I like the fruit and vegetable focus of the diet, particularly considering my interest in the 80/10/10 diet which has a high fruit and green salad focus.
I’ve only just started reading this book and already I’ve found information relevant to me. There’s a helpful discussion on osteoporosis. It seems that one of the greatest benefits of fruit and vegetables is their ability to slow or prevent osteoporosis. A group of scientists found that the people who ate the most fruits and vegetables had the greatest bone mineral densities and the strongest bones. This is good news for me as I’m currently eating lots of fruit and vegetables which will help my bones after being diagnosed with marginal osteoporosis in recent years.
The author then makes the point that it is not only how much calcium we take in that is important, but also about how much calcium we excrete. If we take in a low amount of calcium while excreting a low amount of calcium then it is possible that we will be in what is called “calcium balance”. But if we load up on foods or medications high in calcium but lose more calcium than we gain, then we will fall out of calcium balance. From what I’ve heard on a number of occasions, the more acidic our diet is, the more calcium we’ll lose from our bones in order to balance our body.
I can see good points in the Paleo diet, particularly with the focus on vegetables and fruit. But I can’t help wondering about the sustainability of a diet that includes a significant amount of lean meats and fish. Plus overall I feel much more comfortable focusing on fruits and vegetables with a small serving each day of brown rice or quinoa with my breakfast along with some chick peas with my salad while eating an egg or some fish perhaps once or twice a week.
I’m so glad that I continue to examine alternative ways of eating as all of this input helps to finetune how I’ll structure my meals into the future. However I suspect this is an ongoing journey that I’ll be on for a long time to come.