The Paleo Approach to Eating
This past weekend several of us attended a Natural Grocers, a/k/a Vitamin Cottage brunch featuring paleo recipes. By the way, if you’ve never been to one of their educational cooking programs, I highly recommend going. They are free and you will get a ton of information. We had never heard of paleo eating so it was quite the learning experience.
Paleo is short for Paleolithic (think of the cavemen period) and refers to eating more whole and less processed foods. Other terms used to describe it include primal; grain free; whole food; nutrient dense; real food or ancestral.
Extensive research on the paleo approach began in the 1950’s. There is hard science showing that our Paleolithic ancestors had optimal health. They ate local, of course, and had diets filled with fruits, vegetables, meats and fish. Humans ate like this for 100,000’s of years and also got lots of exercise.
Eventually, humans moved from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle. Interestingly, when archeologists analyzed sites where societies became agrarian and consumed grains, they saw diseases they did not see in pre-agrarian societies. For example, in Egypt archeologists found obesity and diabetes in mummies, which they directly connect to the Egyptians’ agrarian lifestyle. Scientists today see links between high intakes of refined and processed carbohydrates and many of our modern day health issues.
What I find most interesting about the paleo approach is the belief that this is not a one size fits all “diet”. Rather, it is a way of eating that is appropriate for all humans because it is customized for each individual’s physiology with the goal of achieving optimal health.
Relationship to Yoga
This philosophy of customizing nutrition to meet each individual’s unique needs is exactly like the philosophy of Viniyoga. In Viniyoga, the posture is adapted to the individual’s unique needs. There is no forcing someone into a posture that is not appropriate or could cause harm. In other words, there are many “right” ways to reach the goals.
The downside – if there is one – is that the paleo lifestyle requires active involvement, which means a time commitment. There is much experimentation, observation, learning and questioning that goes into discovering what does and does not work for you. What combination of foods will give you optimal health?
It’s a journey of discovery … Enjoy and Breathe Easy
Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
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