Millions Have Trouble with the Modern Day Diet
A perfect example of Cordain’s findings are the vast numbers of people who have trouble digesting grains and pasteurized dairy products.
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, wreaks havoc in people with Celiac disease, triggering an immune reaction that damages the small intestine and prevents absorption of nutrients.
Large numbers of people, perhaps even the majority of the population, are adversely affected by gluten on some level, and most of them do not have full-blown celiac disease, just a lesser form of gluten intolerance.
Grains and sugars are inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has chronic inflammation at its root — and not just inflammation in your gut, but anywhere in your body.
In fact, if you want to avoid heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or even cancer, you will want to severely limit your grain consumption, or avoid grains entirely.
During the paleolithic period our ancestors may have died much earlier than we do nowadays … but they didn’t die of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — which are among the leading causes of death in 2010, and all are related to diet.
In my experience about 75-80 percent of ALL people benefit from avoiding grains, even whole sprouted grains, whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or neither of those conditions. Your body is simply not designed to eat the high levels of processed grains so common in diets today.
The same holds true for pasteurized dairy products. Drinking pasteurized milk is frequently associated with a worsening of health, and this is largely due to the pasteurization process itself. As Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation stated:
“Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.”
Raw dairy products, which have their fats, enzymes and probiotics intact, are typically much easier to digest and are associated with health improvements, rather than harm. While raw dairy did not make an appearance into humans’ diets until much later in history, it is a much more natural food than the pasteurized products so widely circulated today.
What Happened to Diversity?
Our Stone-Age ancestors not only ate more natural foods than we do today, but they also ate an incredibly wide variety of them. Dr. Mark Berry, who is involved in the Paleolithic nutrition research, explained that back then humans ate 20-25 different plant foods a day.
Today, many Americans struggle to fit in five.
The truth is, the typical American diet is incredibly monotonous and does not include a variety of healthy foods that your body was designed to thrive on.
“As a species, we once ate a complex unrefined wild diet consisting of a wide variety of plant and animal foods rich in phytonutrients, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Now, our monotonous diet triggers different and diseased patterns of gene expression.
The USDA reports that the top nine foods eaten by Americans are:
Whole cow”s milk 2 percent milk Processed American cheese White bread White flour White rolls Refined sugar Colas Ground beef
All of these foods are foreign to our genome that evolved on a Paleolithic diet. This mono diet creates altered patterns of gene expression that lead to disease, including food allergy or sensitivity.”
In fact, you wouldn’t be able to find many of the wild varieties of plant foods eaten by cavemen even if you wanted to, because modern agriculture has largely taken over the food supply and tweaked and shrunk it to where only a few varieties of wheat, corn and other plant foods are left.
Researchers are now trying to uncover the natural genes of various plant species — the ones that grew in the wild before big agriculture and genetic modification took over.