Food fit for cavemen

While you might be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that serves a Brontosaurus burger, it’s still possible to eat the type of cuisine that Fred and Wilma Flintstone would find appealing, with a modern day twist.

Sometimes referred to as the “caveman diet,” the Paleo eating lifestyle will be presented in an informational, simplified manner at a workshop this week. Matthew Hanson, chiropractor at CornerStone Chiropractic: A Creating Wellness Center, will host the workshop on Thursday, at 6:15 p.m., at CornerStone Chiropractic. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but people are encouraged to register by calling 852-2800, as space is limited.

The Paleo eating lifestyle is a simple yet powerful diet regimen. It’s eating foods that would have been available to our human ancestors 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, Hanson said. Foods included in the Paleo eating lifestyle would include meats, fruits, vegetable, nut seeds, and oils, he added, as well as some grains that would be safe to digest. Hanson said it also allows modern food like coffee, dark chocolate and some alcohol. “Generally speaking, as long as you eat this way 80 percent of the time, you can cheat 20 percent of the time,” he added. In the Paleo eating lifestyle, the food mostly cut out is grains and sugar, Hanson said.

“This is a diet based on our primal ancestors who were stronger and much healthier than us,” Hanson noted. “Scientifically, because of the hormone balance they needed from eating these foods, it’s optimal for genetic expression,” he added. As an example, insulin is in the body to be used as a panic button, Hanson said, but people are pushing it everyday by eating a standard American diet. “There are eight metabolically balanced hormones,” he added. “If you just balance insulin, the others will fall into place.” Hanson said hormone balance can be controlled through diet.

Most of the foods that cause inflammation in a person’s body come from grains, Hanson said. “A lot of people think if they can’t have bread, the sun won’t rise in the morning,” he added. “But it’s a lifestyle, so if you fall off the wagon, you just get back on the next day.”

The large problem facing people today is that our bodies stopped evolving genetically before the onset of the agricultural revolution, so foods that our genes were designed to use as fuel are not the typical foods we consume today, Hanson said. “It’s like putting gasoline in a diesel engine. As a result, we’re seeing escalating cases of chronic disease and obesity.”

There are many benefits to the Paleo eating lifestyle. Hanson said you can eat until you feel full or when you’re hungry and the food choices allow you to eat at any restaurant. The nice part about it being a lifestyle is that you can eat Paleo-type foods 100 percent of the time to get your weight where you’d like for it to be, he noted, and then you can return to eating that way 80 percent of the time.

“The Paleo eating lifestyle challenges conventional wisdom when it comes to science and health,” Hanson said. The standard American diet encourages people to eat whole grains and foods low in fat, he added, while the Paleo eating lifestyle encourages the avoidance of grains.

One issue with adapting to a diet of the Paleo nature is that it’s easier to do if you don’t mind cooking at home for higher quality of foods, Hanson said. Also, people find it hard to give up grains and sugar, he added. “The first couple weeks are the hardest,” Hanson said. “The metabolism shifts to use fat as fuel so people will feel run down or flu-like for the first few weeks because the body is learning how to adjust to the fuel you’re putting into it,” he explained.

Hanson said he wanted to give a workshop about this lifestyle choice because he has been practicing and teaching it for five years. He has also taught seminars on the topic to doctors and other health care providers.