Chiropractor’s paleolithic pursuit

As a throwback to the days before agriculture, there is a diet that highlights eating food available to the Paleolithic humans, based on foods that can be fished, hunted or gathered.

The belief is that the human body is practically the same genetically as it was at the end of the Paleolithic era about 20,000 years ago and that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that models the diet of our ancestors. At the end of the month, there will be an organized method for people interested in trying this sort of eating habit.

Minot chiropractor Matthew Hanson will be conducting a 30-day program that will help people incorporate the Paleo diet into their lifestyle. The program officially starts with a lecture on May 29. Hanson said preliminary testing will be done so if something is found in the participant, it will be recommended that he or she talk to a physician or not participate. At least 20 participants are needed for the program to work.

Participants will meet as a group initially, undergo testing at the clinic, meet for a grocery store tour at a later time, have two conference calls during the month, meet at the end for post-testing and have a potluck featuring favorite recipes. Participants will be given recipes, instructions on how to follow the Paleo diet program, principles of the Paleo diet and ways to incorporate it into your life. Additionally, there will be a contest element to this program with first, second and third place prizes for being the most improved.

Hanson said he will teach the participants about the Paleo diet lifestyle and will give a structured program for people to achieve the best results. Participants will learn the principles of the Paleo diet, how to implement it in their lives and how to be accountable.

The Paleo diet consists of foods that can be fished or hunted, like seafood and meat, and foods that can be gathered, like eggs, fruits, herbs, insects, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, spices and vegetables. The recommended meats are preferably free of food additives, such as wild game meats or grass-fed beef. Dairy products are mostly excluded from the Paleo diet, as are grains, legumes, processed oils, refined sugars and salt. Practitioners drink mainly water.

There are no real daily recommended calories for Paleo diet practitioners.

“People are encouraged to eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full,” Hanson said. “Since the food is more satiating, usually we find that they end up eating fewer calories over time, but there are no specific calorie targets.”

There are guidelines, however, for the amount of carbs to eat if people have certain goals, he added. Also, sensible indulgences like alcohol, high fat dairy products, coffee or dark chocolate are allowed occasionally.

Last year, Hanson gave a lecture on the Paleo diet that garnered a lot of interest and feedback from people. He thought now would be a good time to start since it’s spring. The proceeds from the program will go toward Habitat for Humanity, which was chosen because Hanson said he has always enjoyed their mission and believes in it.

“I wanted to give back to it and support it,” he added.

Hanson said the Paleo diet is an easy lifestyle that people can continue.

“You’re learning a way to eat and to live healthier,” he added.

It’s not a quick weight loss, though, Hanson continued. The Paleo diet is more focused on teaching healthy principles that can be used for the rest of your life and how to eliminate inflammatory foods and substitute more healthy foods, he said.

“It’s focusing on getting people’s bodies to burn fat as fuel instead of sugar,” Hanson said.

A majority of the typical total daily energy consumed by people in the U.S. seems to come from foods such as cereals, dairy products, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and alcohol. Hanson said the Paleo diet program he’s directing lasts for 30 days since it usually takes 21 days for a body to convert to using fat as fuel. He also plans to make available a 60-day program.

Hanson has been practicing the Paleo lifestyle for five years and has managed to lose and keep off 40 pounds. The Paleo diet is nice, he added, because he can eat at any restaurant. He also has more energy and isn’t hungry all the time, Hanson said.

“I consider myself to be undisciplined when it comes to food and I’ve been doing this for five years,” he said.

People interested in participating in the Paleo diet program or who have questions can call Hanson at Cornerstone Chiropractic at 852-2800 or email at drmhanson@creatingwellnesscenters.com.