Tag Archives: protein

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On

Originally published August 30, 2015 on CJ Hunt Reports

There is a persistent belief (assumed to be true, even by prominent bloggers) repeated over and over again as if it’s fact – but, it’s not. In fact, this belief is sometimes used as a “logical” excuse for the author to include anything in their diet, and their diet recommendations, the author doesn’t want to stop eating. This belief is that early modern humans, our species, were such opportunists, and so desperate for food, that they would eat just about anything they could get their hands on. Not so.

Interestingly enough, early Moderns had very specific food preferences. As long as they could get those preferred foods, that’s what they ate. It was unnecessary for them to take advantage of what we now recognise as our species eventual survival strategy, our dietary “elasticity.” It is what sets us apart from other primates.

That survival strategy (dietary elasticity) in the specific example I’m about to share, would be the assumed expanding variety (diversity) of animal proteins they consumed from the day they hit the beach… just because it was there in the environment.

As some of you might know, just before the film was finished, and again while writing the companion book to the film last year, I went back to my first person scientific sources at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology to see what more, if anything, they had learned about the authentic human diet.

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On | The Paleo Diet

Shannon McPherron Pic Courtesy Department of Human Evolution of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Professor Shannon McPherron (you met him in the Jonzac dig site sequence in the film) told me that the findings about our species diet in Jonzac, that early Modern Humans there ate primarily medium and large herbivores, were the very same findings Max Planck researchers and colleagues were discovering at dig sites all over the world.

Something I hadn’t really expected to hear as I was initially just interested in new information from Jonzac.

He also said there was some new information about the early modern human diet from one of his colleagues, Marcello Mannino, that might interest me revealing previously unknown information about our species dietary behaviour.

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On | The Paleo Diet

Marcello Mannino Pic/Bio Courtesy Department of Human Evolution of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Marcello A. Mannino is a research scientist at the Department of Human Evolution where he collaborates in the management of the archaeological science laboratories. He is currently investigating human dietary change from the late Middle Palaeolithic, through the *Upper Palaeolithic and to the early Neolithic by means of stable isotope analyses on skeletal remains of Neanderthals and Modern Humans (*immediate time frame pre-agriculture which includes our species, early Modern humans).

Marcello started working at the Max Planck Institute after being awarded a Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellowship for the project: Stable Isotope Ecology of Hunter-Gatherers in Italy in the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene.

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On | The Paleo DietMarcello has a keen interest in, among other things, studying the reconstruction of past environments, subsistence, diet and mobility.

In this project Marcello and his colleagues did an isotopic analysisof remains they found in the Mediterranean to determine what we were eating when we first moved into that area.

This is what Marcello and his colleagues discovered.

Marine resources were not important foods in the diet of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers – as we might have arbitrarily expected to be true.

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On | The Paleo Diet

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049802

So, what did they want when they first moved to the beach? They wanted what they were used to eating and preferred.

As Marcello and his coauthors concluded in the journal PLoS One, “Local hunter-gatherers did not develop strongly marine-oriented adaptations, such as those of their counterparts living on the Atlantic shores of Europe, but maintained essentially terrestrial-based strategies, similar to those of Late and Post-Glacial groups of the central and western Mediterranean.”

Again, why does this matter?

First, early Modern Humans preferred eating medium and large land animals whenever and wherever they could get them. This continues to be missed as an essential point about our species.

Think Again: Early Modern Humans Did Not Eat Anything They Could Get Their Hands On | The Paleo DietSecond, while we were smart and inherently able to expand our animal food sources when it was required, the human species did not eat anything that was in arm’s reach no matter what. That seems to be more of our species current dilemma. One we probably don’t want to model if we want the health and life we deserve.

These new hard science revelations are a real eye opener, and another good reason to keep digging deeper. To always be open, and actively look for new findings that tell us what is was that made us, modern humans, so special.  And, at least until plant agriculture took over, healthy.

What I like to say to myself when hard sciences reveal new details about our shared human story is it’s time to “think again.”

What do you think?

 

REFERENCES

Article Source: Origin and Diet of the Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers on the Mediterranean Island of Favignana (Islands, Sicily)

NY Times: “Mediterranean Settlers Had Little Taste for Fish”

Forget the Macronutrient Ratios - You Are What You Were Designed to Eat

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having this particular debate. Someone – not a fan of the Paleo Diet – points out that the diet’s higher protein content is proof that the diet is dangerous citing multiple studies linking higher protein to cancer, CVD, and all-cause mortality.1-3

I have this “dance” down pat. I simply shrug my shoulders and say, “Makes sense. Too bad vegetables are bad for us as well.” I get an incredulous look and a “How can you say that?” response. “Vegetables are a carbohydrate and so are jelly beans. And jelly beans are bad for you.” My frustrated opponent chastises me for drawing a ridiculous conclusion by lumping all carbohydrates together.

Gotcha! Almost invariably I’m able to point out that the high protein diets in their studies were based on processed meats like fast food hamburgers and bologna, not lean meats. “Aren’t you doing the same with all proteins?”

Its remarkable how much current literature and popular diets focus on nutrient ratios, from the “carbs are bad for you” Atkins diet to the 55-65% carbohydrate ratio of the popular food pyramid. It seems one of the hottest topic in nutrition today is the ideal ratio of carbohydrate to fat to protein.

But this debate can miss a very important point.

Throughout our entire evolution, our ancestors had no idea what carbohydrates, protein, and fats were. I am certain that when offered a mango, no hunter-gatherer ever muttered the words “No thanks, I’m watching my waistline. I don’t need the carbs right now.”

All they understood was what was edible and what was not.

The biography of Ishi – the last true North American hunter-gatherer – provides a great example of this awareness. Even while trying to adapt to western civilization, he refused to consume milk or butter. In his very limited English he explained that dairy “ruined his singing voice.”4

This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest strengths of the Paleo Diet. It doesn’t miss the point. While the Paleo Diet is lower than a Western diet in carbohydrates, it is not a low carb or a high protein/fat diet. That’s because not all carbohydrates, protein, and fats are made the same. A high protein or higher carbohydrate diet can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the foods.

The focus of the Paleo Diet is not on ratios, but on eating the foods we evolved to eat. The ratio is a by-product.

A healthy Paleo Diet in fact doesn’t have an ideal ratio.

In their 2009 review of plant-animal subsistence ratios of hunter gatherer societies, Dr. Cordain and his team were quick to point out that the plant-animal ratio varied greatly.5 Societies living close to the equator could get more than 55% of their calories from plant sources, while more polar societies (such as Eskimos) derived almost all of their calories from animal sources.

As a result, the macronutrient ratios could be vastly different. Hunter-gatherer societies ate anywhere between 22-40% carbohydrates, 19-35% protein, and 28-58% fat (though it’s worth pointing out that even those broad ranges are lower carbohydrate and higher protein/fat than the Western diet).6

So it’s somewhat ironic that despite showing such broad ranges, much of the early criticism of the Paleo Diet was over macronutrient ratios.

In 2002, Dr. Cordain described a sample one-day Paleo menu in one of his early reviews. His sample menu was 23% carbohydrate, 38% protein, and 39% fat.7 Those numbers have been cited repeatedly by critics of the diet.

But again, they missed the point.

The point of the review was not to establish exact macronutrient ratios. Dr. Cordain could have easily laid out a sample Paleo menu that was higher or lower in carbs, protein, or fat. The point was to show that the sample menu consisted of nutrient dense and healthier foods than a typical Western Diet.

Let me give a real world example of why focusing on ratios over foods can be so dangerous.

My wife recently told me about a friend of hers who describes himself as a “Paleo Diet fanatic.” He unfortunately has a habit of lecturing others on their food choices including my wife. Yet, a large portion of his diet consists of bacon, butter, and coconut oil. And he avoids fruit.

His diet may be many things, but I wouldn’t personally call it Paleo. I’m unaware of any hunter-gatherer society that ate butter as a staple and gave the local fruit tree a wide berth.

When my wife asked her friend why he eats the way he does, his answer was all about macronutrients. Carbohydrates are bad for us because they cause cancer and all fats are good because they put us in ketosis.

Addressing both of those points fully is beyond the scope of this article, but let me give a cursory overview of carbohydrates and cancer to show why it’s so dangerous to make generalizations like that about macronutrients.

Cancer has been increasingly associated with elevated levels of the hormone Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), a potent promoter of growth and cell division.8-11 As its name implies, IGF-1 shares many commonalities with insulin. The pathways that raise insulin and insulin itself cause an increase in IFG-1 and lower its inhibitor Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein-3 (IGFBP-3).12, 13

If insulin raises IGF-1 and its common knowledge now-a-days that eating sugary foods spikes insulin, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that carbohydrates promote cancer.14

But that would be a mistake. A better way to determine how diet may influence both insulin and IGF-1 is to look at the glycaemic load – a measure of the ability of individual foods to raise blood sugar levels.15, 16 High glycaemic load foods have been linked to cancer in many studies.17-21

When we look at the glycaemic load of individual foods instead of carbohydrates in general we see a very different picture. For example, the fruits and vegetables promoted by the Paleo Diet all have a low glycaemic load despite being composed mostly of carbohydrates.16 Fruits and vegetables have certainly been shown to be protective against cancer.22

Likewise, foods on the Paleo-no fly list such as refined grains and soft drinks have a very high glycaemic load and may promote both IGF-123 and cancer.17-21 Interestingly, milk also has a low glycaemic load value but still strongly raises insulin and IGF-1.24

There are still many great discussions to have about the Paleo Diet. For example, the fact that most Palaeolithic foods don’t exist in the same form anymore, so how do we best approximate them? Likewise, should individuals eat different diets depending on whether they have more equatorial or polar heritages? Even macronutrient ratios are a good question to explore.

But all of these questions are the minutia not the focus. While addressing them we can never lose sight of the foundation – eat the foods we evolved to eat. Otherwise, we start snacking on sticks of butter and think it’s a good idea.

Trevor Connor | The Paleo DietTrevor Connor is Dr. Cordain’s last mentored graduate student and will complete his M.S. in HES and Nutrition from the Colorado State University this year and later enter the Ph.D. program. Connor was the Principle Investigator in a large case study, approximately 100 subjects, in which he and Dr. Cordain examined autoimmune patients following The Paleo Diet or Paleo-like diets.

REFERENCES

1. Nilsson, L.M., et al., Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet score and risk of incident cancer; a prospective cohort study. Nutrition Journal, 2013. 12: p. 10.

2. Pan, A., et al., Red Meat Consumption and Mortality Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012. 172(7): p. 555-563.

3. Zhou, J. and H. Xu, LOW CARBOHYDRATE AND HIGH PROTEIN DIETS AND ALL-CAUSE, CANCER AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES MORTALITIES: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS FROM 7 COHORT STUDIES. Acta Endocrinologica-Bucharest, 2014. 10(2): p. 259-266.

4. Kroeber, T., Ishi in two worlds; a biography of the last wild Indian in North America. 1961, Berkeley,: University of California Press. 255 p.

5. Cordain, L., et al., Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. Am J Clin Nutr, 2000. 71(3): p. 682-92.

6. McDowell, M.A., et al., Energy and macronutrient intakes of persons ages 2 months and over in the United States: Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Phase 1, 1988-91. Adv Data, 1994(255): p. 1-24.

7. Cordain, L., The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, 2002. 5(5): p. 15-24.

8. Safarinejad, M.R., N. Shafiei, and S. Safarinejad, Relationship of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) gene polymorphism with the susceptibility to development of prostate cancer and influence on serum levels of IGF-I, and IGFBP-3. Growth Hormone & Igf Research, 2011. 21(3): p. 146-154.

9. Yu, H. and T. Rohan, Role of the insulin-like growth factor family in cancer development and progression. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000. 92(18): p. 1472-1489.

10. Christopoulos, P.F., P. Msaouel, and M. Koutsilieris, The role of the insulin-like growth factor-1 system in breast cancer. Mol Cancer, 2015. 14(1): p. 43.

11. Zhu, S., et al., Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-related protein 1 and cancer. Clin Chim Acta, 2014. 431: p. 23-32.

12. Cordain, L., The Paleo diet : lose weight and get healthy by eating the foods you were designed to eat. Rev. ed. 2011, Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. xv, 266 p.

13. Attia, N., et al., The metabolic syndrome and insulin-like growth factor I regulation in adolescent obesity. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1998. 83(5): p. 1467-1471.

14. Freedland, S.J., et al., Carbohydrate restriction, prostate cancer growth, and the insulin-like growth factor axis. Prostate, 2008. 68(1): p. 11-9.

15. Runchey, S.S., et al., Glycemic load effect on fasting and post-prandial serum glucose, insulin, IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 in a randomized, controlled feeding study. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012. 66(10): p. 1146-52.

16. Foster-Powell, K., S.H. Holt, and J.C. Brand-Miller, International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr, 2002. 76(1): p. 5-56.

17. Augustin, L.S., et al., Dietary glycemic index and glycemic load, and breast cancer risk: a case-control study. Ann Oncol, 2001. 12(11): p. 1533-8.

18. Woo, H.D., et al., Glycemic index and glycemic load dietary patterns and the associated risk of breast cancer: a case-control study. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 2013. 14(9): p. 5193-8.

19. Sieri, S., et al., Dietary glycemic index and glycemic load and risk of colorectal cancer: results from the EPIC-Italy study. Int J Cancer, 2014.

21. Eslamian, G., et al., Higher glycemic index and glycemic load diet is associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: a case-control study. Nutr Res, 2013. 33(9): p. 719-25.

22. Block, G., B. Patterson, and A. Subar, FRUIT, VEGETABLES, AND CANCER PREVENTION – A REVIEW OF THE EPIDEMIOLOGIC EVIDENCE. Nutrition and Cancer-an International Journal, 1992. 18(1): p. 1-29.

23. Salmeron, J., et al., Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA, 1997. 277(6): p. 472-7.

24. Hoyt, G., M.S. Hickey, and L. Cordain, Dissociation of the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to whole and skimmed milk. Br J Nutr, 2005. 93(2): p. 175-7.

How Early Should Infants Eat Meat? | The Paleo Diet

An infant’s rate of weight gain during the first year of life can strongly predict obesity later in life.1 Various studies published in recent years have linked cow-milk protein with weight gain for infants.2, 3 Collectively, these studies have led to recommendations that protein should not exceed 15% of total energy during later-infancy and the second year of life.4 Such recommendations, however, don’t differentiate between dairy protein and protein from other sources. Could dairy protein be uniquely problematic, causing weight-gain problems not associated with meat protein? According to 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, yes.

Human breast milk contains progressively less protein during later-stages of lactation, particularly the 4-6 month window when infants start consuming complementary foods (while continuing to breastfeed). But how much protein should those complementary foods contain? Would a higher-protein diet be beneficial, provided the protein comes primarily from sources other than dairy? This was the hypothesis for the 2014 study mentioned above. Accordingly, the scientists tested complementary diets with both higher and lower amounts of protein, observing the effects on infants’ growth and their metabolic profiles.5

42 infants five or six months old were randomly assigned to one of two groups. For four months (six to nine months after birth), Group 1 (higher protein) ate complementary diets consisting of meat purees, whereas Group 2 (lower protein) ate iron- and zinc-fortified cereal purees. To qualify for the study, infants had to have had normal birth weights, be breastfed since birth, to continue being breastfed during the study, and no abnormalities nor conditions that would influence growth rate. For both groups, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and cheese were also allowed (and continued breastfeeding was required). Energy intake for both groups was nearly identical, but with significant differences in macronutrient distributions. By the ninth month, the groups’ calorie consumption were:

How Early Should Infants Eat Meat? | The Paleo Diet

The study yielded two major findings. First, despite widely differing macronutrient ratios, caloric consumption between the two groups was nearly identical. This suggests that infants can effectively regulate energy intake; they’re not prone to overeating because they know when to stop. The second finding was that diets higher in protein are associated with greater linear growth and proportional weight gain. This is a key point. Dairy protein intake during infancy has been correlated with obesity by age seven. In other words, increased weight gain absent proportional linear growth.

So why would milk protein promote obesity/overweight but meat protein promote proportional height/weight gains? The answer is not entirely clear, but the study’s scientists propose two mechanisms. First, dairy, but not meat, could promote the stimulation of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), which in turn could promote obesity/overweight. Second, meat provides plenty of bioavailable zinc and iron, whereas neither dairy nor breast milk provide these nutrients in quantities sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of older infants (greater than six months).6

Although the scientists acknowledge their study requires follow-up research, their findings “reinforce the potential value of introducing flesh foods early.” Indeed, the available research supports the Paleo diet during all stages of life, including infancy. Compared to dairy- and cereal-based complementary diets, meat fares best for infants after six months of breastfeeding. Meat promotes increased growth and proportional height/weight.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Young BE, et al. (Sep 2012). Biological Determinants Linking Infant Weight Gain and Child Obesity: Current Knowledge and Future Directions. Advances in Nutrition, 3. Retrieved from http://advances.nutrition.org/content/3/5/675.full

[2] Koletzko B, et al. (Jun 2009). Lower protein in infant formula is associated with lower weight up to age 2 y: a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(6). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19386747

[3] Escribano J, et al. (Apr 2012). Effect of protein intake and weight gain velocity on body fat mass at 6 months of age: the EU Childhood Obesity Programme. International Journal of Obesity (London), 36(4). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22310472

[4] Michaelsen KF, et al. (Oct 2012). Amount and quality of dietary proteins during the first two years of life in relation to NCD risk in adulthood. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, 22(10). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22770749

[5] Tang M and Krebs N. (Oct 2014). High protein intake from meat as complementary food increases growth but not adiposity in breastfed infants: a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/08/13/ajcn.114.088807

[6] Krebs NF, et al. (Jul 2012). Comparison of complementary feeding strategies to meet zinc requirements of older breastfed infants. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1(30). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648720

Hemp | The Paleo Diet

There’s no argument that eating protein is an essential component of the Paleo diet. Traditional hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45–65% of energy) of animal food, resulting in a macronutrient consumption ratio in which protein accounted for 19–35% of their energy intake.[1] Although there are many grass-fed, pastured, and wild animal sources for protein intake in modern times, consumers are still attracted to plant based options to meet their protein requirements.

One popular plant protein is sourced from hemp. Specifically, hemp protein powders have been marketed as a highly digestible, superior quality plant source, but should it be incorporated into your Paleo Diet? Let’s take a closer look at hemp.

Hemp is a plant, that has been cultivated for thousands of years in China, used for both its seed and fibers as a food and in textiles.[2] It is a high protein seed containing 20 amino acids, including all nine of the essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are rich in oil: 44% (by weight) is edible oil, containing about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); e.g., linoleic acid, omega-6(LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%).

Proteins (including edestin) comprise the other major component (33%). Hemp seed’s amino acid profile is comparable to other sources of protein such as meat, milk, and eggs.[3] Overall, it has a ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. Since, hemp seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats, they can easily go rancid and should be stored properly.

As a whole food, the shelled seeds (called hearts), oil, and even the fresh leaves can be eaten. You may notice hemp seed oil, hemp butter, hemp milk and even hemp flour on the grocery store shelves. Unlike other seeds, hemp doesn’t contain phytic acid viewed as an anti-nutrient in human diets as it binds with important minerals.[4]

Although hemp is a member of the same plant family (Cannabis sativa) as marijuana, there are distinct differences between the two. The most important is that hemp has less than 1% of the psychoactive substance THC, while marijuana can contain 20% or more.[5] (insert link to marijuana post)

Proteins from animal sources (i.e. eggs, milk, meat, fish and poultry) provide the highest quality rating of food sources due to the completeness of proteins from these sources.[6]  However, hemp seed protein is unique in that 65% of it is globulin edestin, the highest amount found in any plant.[7] Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) evidence that hemp proteins have a PDCAAS equal to or greater than certain grains or nuts, 49-53% for whole hemp seed, 46-51% for hemp seed meal, and 63-66% for dehulled hemp seed.[8] It is clear that hemp seeds provide a concentrated amount of highly digestible protein. For example, one ounce of hemp seeds contains 10 grams of protein[9], compared to one ounce of steak with 6 grams of protein.[10]

However, are Hemp seeds Paleo?

Despite it’s apparent advantages, hemp in any whole food form, like any seed, should only be consumed moderately on the Paleo Diet. If you like the taste of shelled hemp seeds, you can sprinkle them over a green salad or add them to your homemade Paleo trail mix in addition to other nuts for a quick energy snack.

The best sources of protein still remain from wild, predominately grass-fed and wild animals. If you like to start your day with a vegetable-based smoothie, add a piece of previously cooked chicken or bison on the side to boost the protein content and steer clear of protein powders. Hemp protein powder is not recommended on the Paleo Diet.

Stephanie Vuolo
@primarilypaleo
Facebook
Website

Stephanie Vuolo | The Paleo Diet Team

Stephanie Vuolo is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, an American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer, and a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Coach. She has a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. She is a former contributor to Discovery Communications/TLC Blog, Parentables.

Stephanie lives in Seattle, WA, where she is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for how diet and lifestyle can contribute to overall wellness and longevity. She has been raising her young daughter on the Paleo Diet since birth. You can visit her website at www.primarilypaleo.com.

REFERENCES

[1] Cordain, Loren, et al. “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 71.3 (2000): 682-692.

[2] Bocsa, Ivan, and Michael Karus. The cultivation of hemp: botany, varieties, cultivation and harvesting. Hemptech, 1998.

[3] Callaway, J. C. “Hempseed as a nutritional resource: an overview.” Euphytica 140.1-2 (2004): 65-72.

[4] Lott, John NA, et al. “Phytic acid and phosphorus in crop seeds and fruits: a global estimate.” Seed Science Research 10.01 (2000): 11-33.

[5] Datwyler, Shannon L., and George D. Weiblen. “Genetic Variation in Hemp and Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) According to Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms*.” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51.2 (2006): 371-375.

[6] Campbell, Wayne W., et al. “Effects of an omnivorous diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian diet on resistance-training-induced changes in body composition and skeletal muscle in older men.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.6 (1999): 1032-1039.

[7] Osburn, Lynn. “Hemp seed: the most nutritionally complete food source in the world.” Part two: Hemp seed oils and the flow of live force. Hemp Line J 1.2 (1992): 12-13.

[8] House, James D., Jason Neufeld, and Gero Leson. “Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 58.22 (2010): 11801-11807.

[9]  Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/629104/2. Accessed on January 8, 2015.

[10] Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/10525/2. Accessed on January 8, 2015.

Paleo Protein for Your Holiday Meal

Tired of wild turkey?  Gasping at wild goose?  Not to worry!

Just because these two protein options are, in fact, quite Paleo friendly, healthy choices, it doesn’t mean you can’t go with something a bit more off the beaten path when it comes to preparing an unforgettably delicious feast.

In fact, since the holiday season is already a special occasion, it’s quite fitting to make time to try something new. In keeping with a modern day Paleo regime, incorporating a range of humanely raised or wild animals, our options when we think outside the box are bountiful and chock full of health benefits including:

Lower in fat because they eat a natural diet and are very active.

Lower content of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and a higher content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids because they eat a diet of rich in greens.

Good source of protein and minerals such as iron and zinc.1

And, while it may be hard to stomach eating reindeer at this time of year, for obvious reasons, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Elk tenderloin, ostrich or wild boar are just a few choices to consider.

Pheasant, the star of the featured recipe, contains a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B (6) and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.2

PHEASANT WITH PAN SEARED SPROUTS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole pheasants
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 oz toasted pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Rinse, then thoroughly dry birds
  3. Rub half the coconut oil all over the birds
  4. Place on wire rack, breast side down
  5. Cook for about 75 – 90 minutes, flipping over halfway
  6. Check to see that internal temperature has reached 150F then remove from oven
  7. Let rest under foil tent for 15 minutes
  8. While birds rest, heat remaining coconut oil in cast iron skillet over medium high
  9. Add shallots and sauté until browned, about 4-5 minutes, stirring
  10. Add sprouts, cut side down and sear roughly 2 minutes before stirring
  11. Continue to cook sprouts until softened, 8 – 10 minutes longer
  12. Turn off heat, scatter pecans on top and let sit while birds are carved
  13. Arrange sprouts on platter with sliced pheasant on top, with pan jus drizzled over
  14. Serve with freshly ground black pepper

Wondering where you’re going to procure these interesting protein options, assuming they’re not routinely stocked along side the ground beef and chicken breast at your local market?

Check out Eat Wild for a nationwide list of where to source the best wild meats, game and poultry.

Happy Holiday Eating!

REFERENCES

[1] Wertheim, Margaret. “What Are the Health Benefits of Wild Game?” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 04 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

[2] The Countryside Alliance Foundation. “Game to Eat.” Nutritional Facts -. The Countryside Alliance Foundation, 2006. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Red Meat and The Paleo Diet

Who doesn’t like a nice, rare filet mignon for dinner?  Or some flank steak, marinated in cumin, orange, lime and garlic, sautéed with peppers and onions and served with Bibb Lettuce warps and guacamole to create Paleo Fajitas?

It’s too bad we can’t eat this type of food that often. Or can we? We’ve all heard “Don’t eat red meat more than once per week” and “Always choose the leanest cuts of meat” from not only our doctors, but also from the media.

Unfortunately, the misconception that eating red meat, in and of itself, can cause certain types of cancers, high cholesterol and weight gain in the case of choosing fattier cuts, often serves as a deterrent for eating what is, in actuality, an outstanding source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and fatty acids.

While we’d certainly want to avoid feed-lot, corn-fed beef, if we also ‘steer’ clear (pardon the pun) of 100% grass-fed beef, we’re actually doing ourselves a huge disservice.

To group the two together and present the nutritional value as one in the same would be akin to categorizing all proteins under one heading, where anything from hot dogs to wild salmon are suggested to be basically the same.

Not only does grass-fed beef come from a far more humane source, it’s also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (a potent source of antioxidants), Vitamin E and beta-carotene than grain-fed beef.

So how often can we eat it?  Isn’t more than once per week too much?

Eating it in balance, with a variety of other wild proteins, is the key.

Just as we wouldn’t want to eat only pastured chicken breast and wild salmon along with only broccoli and spinach, if we focus on incorporating some grass-fed meat, some wild fish, some pastured chicken, some eggs from pastured hens and some game meats, if accessible, we’ll reach a nicely balanced range of proteins, to accompany an equally varied array of fresh, local, in season veggies.

Now, what about choosing between a rib eye and a filet? Surely, the rib eye is a no-go, isn’t it? Not necessarily.

There’s room on a Paleo Diet for a fattier cut now and then, too.

So long as we stick with grass-fed, adding the more decadent cuts once in a while can often be what keeps us more likely to stay true to our Paleo lifestyle.

The satiating effect of the higher fat content, not to mention the flavor, can be the pièce de résistance of a special occasion meal, providing that beautiful balance so inherent to this healthy approach to eating and living.

Here is a great recipe to try; it’s my Paleoista version of Argentinean Flank Steak with Chimichurri.

Salud!

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-3

  • 2 lbs grass fed flank steak
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried crushed red pepper, optional, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a meat tenderizer tool, pound both sides of steak.

2. Place smashed garlic onto flesh of one side and pound into meat with tenderizer tool.

3. Rub thoroughly with olive oil and squeeze lime on top.

4. Combine all dry spices and press into meat.

5. Place in glass or ceramic dish and cover tightly; let marinate in refrigerator at least four hours.

6. Combine four remaining ingredients in mini prep food processor and whiz to combine. Tightly cover and refrigerate.

7. Preheat oven to broil (or light up the barbeque) and cook for roughly three minutes per side for rare, or longer for more done.

8. Remove from heat and let rest while you steam your favorite veggies.

9. Serve together with parsley combination on top.

Calcium Leafy Vegetables | The Paleo Diet

More and more high-profile individuals are achieving measurable results on The Paleo Diet. These public triumphs threaten the antiquated low fat, high carbohydrate diets still officially endorsed by the government and prominent medical institutions. Accordingly, defenders of the low-fat doctrine are increasingly lashing out against the Paleo movement.

Just last month, The Wall Street Journal publicized NBA superstar Lebron James’ Paleo success, encapsulated by a viral photo posted to his Instagram account.1 This prompted NBC’s The Today Show to publish an article by Registered Dietitian Elisa Zied, in which Zied asserts, “There’s little science supporting the weight loss or health benefits of a Paleo diet.”2

According to Zied, the Paleo Diet “falls short on calcium and vitamin D,” and includes proportionally too much protein and fat and not enough carbohydrates. Paleo detractors say surprising things, but Zied’s comments are particularly fantastic. Let’s start with her vitamin D claim.

Vitamin D

Many are of the opinion the Paleo Diet is vitamin D deficient with the exclusion of milk, which is typically fortified with vitamin D. This would imply that non-Paleo Diets are vitamin D adequate only due to supplementation. After all, fortified milk is simply a food combined with a supplement. It would therefore be strange to call the Paleo diet vitamin D deficient when vitamin D supplements, if necessary, could always be added to the Paleo Diet.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), we should be consuming 600 IU/day of vitamin D with an upper limit of 4,000 IU/day.3 Excluding fortified foods, the foods richest in vitamin D are fish and seafood, which, of course, are Paleo compliant. Just 100g of herring, for example has over 1,600 IU. Mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout, halibut, and shrimp are also particularly good sources.

Calcium

Others speculate the Paleo Diet also “fall short on calcium” because it excludes dairy. The IOM recommends 1,000 mg/day of calcium for adults with an upper limit of 2,500 mg. The foods highest in calcium are Paleo foods, including leafy green vegetables, herbs, and clams. A standard Paleo Diet, including plenty of leafy greens and seafood provides plenty of calcium.

Fat to Protein Ratio

In her article, Zied references a recent review of 19 studies published in PLoS, which concluded that overweight and obese people lose similar amounts of weight whether on low-carb or low-fat diets.4 But if you look at those 19 studies, one by one, the low-carb, Paleo Diets are clearly favorable. 9 of the 19 studies showed cardiovascular disease risk factors decreased on low-carb diets compared to low-fat diets. 8 of the studies suggest that low-carb and low-fat diets yield similar results, and only 2 studies, both published by the same author, suggest low-fat diets are better. Furthermore, the PLoS study did not include at least 10 additional randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, all of which show low-carb diets to be superior for weight loss and/or the prevention of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

The latest, recently published study, funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded, “The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.”15 Zied claims little scientific evidence supports the Paleo Diet, but in fact over 60 published studies support core aspects of the diet.

Criticisms to the Paleo Diet are consistently unscientific, which suggests these challenges are perhaps motivated by an interest in protecting the obsolete low-fat model of nutrition.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

 

References

1. Cohen, Ben. (August 18, 2014). Why LeBron James Is Suddenly Skinny. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 11, 2014

2. Zied, Elisa. (August 21, 2014). Want to try LeBron James’ Paleo diet? 3 things we get wrong about carbs. Today.com. Retrieved September 11, 2014.

3. Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. (November 2010). Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. Retrieved September 11, 2014.

4. Cameron, W. (July 2014). Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PloS One, 9(7). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

5. Guldbrand, H., et al. (August 2012). In type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss. Diabetologia, 55(8). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

6. Volek, J., et al. (April 2009). Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet. Lipids, 44(4). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

7. Shai, I., et al. (July 2008). Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(3). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

8. Gardener, C., et al. (March 2007). Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal WomenThe A TO Z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 297(9). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

9. Daly, ME., et al. (January 2006). Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes—a randomized controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine, 23(1). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

10. Volek, J., et al. (2004). Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition Metabolism, 1(13). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

11. Yancy, W. et al. (May 2004). A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140(10). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

12. Brehm, B., et al. (July 2013). A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(4). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

13. Sondike, S., et al. (March 2003). Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. Journal of Pediatrics, 142(3). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

14. Bazzano, et al. (September 2, 2014). Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 161(5). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

15. Ibid, Bazzano.

The Intentional Eating of Insects

Insectivory is the intentional eating of insects. It is common in many cultures around the world and likely contributed essential nutrition to our ancestors throughout evolution. Sound gross? Sure, at first, but many insects are very nutrient-dense and may be coming to a grocery store near you.

One component of the Paleolithic way of eating is “nose-to-tail,” which is to say that people should look to incorporate all parts of an animal (liver, kidney, heart, brains, feet, etc.) into their diet. But in reality: 1) many people do not do this; and 2) even those who do aren’t eating the whole animal. Possible exceptions to the latter: whole sardines and potentially, insects.

From an environmental sustainability perspective, insectivory is unmatched.

Many insects are a great source of protein, and are very rich in micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc, and the vitamins riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin (B7), and folate (B9).5 100 grams of caterpillars, or a little over 3 ounces, can fulfill almost the entire daily required amount of protein and vitamins. In a recent study, the nutrient composition of a variety of insects showed that cockroaches, beetles, flies, ants, moths, crickets, and many others could theoretically replace a great amount of the meat in our diet, while also providing more fibre.5 Some bugs, butterflies, and locusts have also been found to be rich in healthy fats.

While feeding studies in humans have yet to occur, one rodent study showed the protein quality in crickets was equal to or greater than soy protein, despite both being “complete” proteins.1 Furthermore, supplementing a diet of broiler chickens with 10-15% housefly larvae improved growing performance and carcass quality.2

OUR HISTORY WITH INSECTIVORY

One recent study discussed evidence of harvesting termites for food on artifacts from the Lower Paleolithic era in South Africa.2 It has been very difficult to assess this quantitatively,3 but Raubenheimer and colleagues suggest up to 20% of caloric intake may have been supplied by insects in some populations of hunter-gatherers.4

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Eventually, our grocery stores may start stocking bags of sustainably raised, organic insects. Some vendors, as you may have seen, are actually manufacturing protein and energy bars made with cricket flour. Is it for you? For many people, I suspect the “ick” factor will be strong at first, but if this movement gains in popularity, which I see no reason why it shouldn’t, it just might catch on.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.
@caloriesproper
CaloriesProper

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

References

1. Finke MD, DeFoliart GR, Benevenga NJ. Use of a four-parameter logistic model to evaluate the quality of the protein from three insect species when fed to rats. J Nutr. Jun 1989;119(6):864-871.

2. Hwangbo J, Hong EC, Jang A, Kang HK, Oh JS, Kim BW, Park BS. Utilization of house fly-maggots, a feed supplement in the production of broiler chickens. J Environ Biol. Jul 2009;30(4):609-614.

3. Lesnik JJ. Termites in the hominin diet: A meta-analysis of termite genera, species and castes as a dietary supplement for South African robust australopithecines. J Hum Evol. Jun 2014;71:94-104.

4. McGrew, William C. The ‘other Faunivory’ Revisited: Insectivory in Human and Non-human Primates and the Evolution of Human Diet. Journal of Human Evolution 71 (2014): 4-11. ScienceDirect. Web.

5. Raubenheimer D, Rothman JM, Pontzer H, Simpson SJ. Macronutrient contributions of insects to the diets of hunter-gatherers: A geometric analysis. J Hum Evol. Jun 2014;71:70-76.

6. Rothman, Jessica M., David Raubenheimer, Margaret A.H. Bryer, Maressa Takahashi, and Christopher C. Gilbert. Nutritional Contributions of Insects to Primate Diets: Implications for Primate Evolution. Journal of Human Evolution 71 (2014):59-69. Sciencedirect. Web.

7. Rumpold BA, Schluter OK. Nutritional composition and safety aspects of edible insects. Mol Nutr Food Res. May 2013;57(5):802-823.

 

 

How to Cook Steak | The Paleo Diet

Spring marks the start of warm weather, a welcome relief as the cold months of winter begin to fade away. For The Paleo Diet Team, this means it’s time to fire up the barbecue and get those sizzling steaks ready for a protein packed feast. Frequently we are asked to share our advice for the best method for cooking meat, especially beef or bison steaks. First, we want you to know that there are many great ways to prepare and cook this Paleo staple. Individual tastes and preferences should always be taken into consideration when planning a meal. While there isn’t a right or wrong way to cook a steak, there are certainly choices to be made for the health conscious to ensure that your end result is not only delicious, but good for you too.

The first step in this dining adventure is a trip to the grocery store. Be sure to select organic, grass-fed beef or bison. This will ensure that you are aligning your animal protein as close to that of our ancestors as possible. Once home, wash the steak with warm water and marinade in the fridge for at least 12 hours. There are many delicious and savory marinades found in The Paleo Diet Cookbook that enhance the flavors of beef or bison. Take your pick enjoy the delectable and savory results!

Once your steaks are infused with the exquisite, flavor enhancing spices and juices, you are ready for cooking. The most important consideration is choosing the healthiest cooking method. If barbecuing is your preference, a gas unit rather than a charcoal unit will be the best choice. Oven broiling works well, but tends to result in a more challenging clean up once the steaks are done. You may prefer cooking your steak on the stove in a pan, which can be done with a small amount of olive oil, or with left over marinade covering the surface of the pan.

Most importantly, however you choose to cook your meat, keep in mind this crucial rule of thumb: Meat should be cooked slowly, at low temperatures. Cooking meats at high temperatures results in the production of Advanced Glycation End-Product (AGE). Basically, that the beautiful, organic, grass-fed steak you so carefully prepare, becomes a potentially harmful protein source if cooked quick. Cook “Slow and Low” and avoid overcooking. Keep meat a bit on the rare side with no charring on the outside. This will ensure a wonderfully healthy outcome for your dining experience.

All the best,

Lorrie Cordain, M.Ed., Co-Author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook