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How is Eat By Design different from The Paleo Diet?

dietsEat By Design is far from the only approach with similar recommendations for what is considered optimal fuel. In fact, many parts of Eat By Design are nearly indistinguishable from the Paleo diet.

Likewise, if you have been to our Extreme Makeover event, you will notice that Eat by Design and our Healing Plan are also very much alike.

Although many of the final recommendations between Eat By Design and Paleo will be similar, the basis for those recommendations will be significantly different. However, I believe the distinction is important in your view to your health.

Here are 3 key ideas from the Paleo perspective and my take on them:

1. “Our ancestors and modern hunter-gatherers consumed a diet that was mostly devoid of grains, legumes, and dairy, and they were virtually free of diseases of civilization.”

People then make the invalid inference that consuming a diet mostly devoid of grains, legumes, and dairy will thus allow us to be free of diseases of civilization.

This, of course, is not true. This is only a correlation and does not necessarily mean one is the cause of the other. There are many uncontrolled and confounding factors that are not addressed with this statement. Lots has changed since the Paleolithic era.

2.  “We have evolved over millions of years without consuming the foods that became readily available only after the advent of agriculture.  Hence, we’re not adapted to these foods.”

This assumes that a species isn’t adapted to a food because it’s never consumed it. However, if you look at the evolutionary record, that’s incorrect.  There are plenty of examples throughout evolution where a species discovers novel sources of food and thrives on them.

A great example is humans and meat. Humans began by eating plants, fruits and bugs, and eventually began to scavenge the bone marrow and brains of carcasses. The physiology of humans changed to match our new lifestyle choices. Add in fire and cooked plant matter – we shifted to a much smaller gut and a much bigger brain. The rest is, well, history.

3.   “Our genes are virtually identical to those of our Paleolithic ancestors – so we should live as they did.”

It is true, human beings and chimps have virtually identical genomes to the tune of 99.5%. But the difference between a human being and a chimp is not in genes, it’s in the expression of the epigenome.

What that means is just because two species have similar genes does not mean that they will both thrive in similar environments or with similar food sources.

As Dr. James Chestnut notes, “We are the genetic expression of our lifestyle choices.”

In the end, you’ll find that every human being requires protein, fat and micronutrients – the only question is, what are the best sources to fulfill those nutrient needs?

Don’t get me wrong. I like, and agree with, most of the Paleo nutritional concepts. However, I think we need to accept that potential human adaptation may have occurred since the Paleolithic era.

Eat By Design is simply a strategy to fulfill our requirements for fuel based on what, as humans, we are best adapted to, what are the best nutrient dense foods with the least amount of toxicity, and what foods ultimately move us towards a better expression of our current design.

So how do you better understand Eat by Design and begin to actually use it in your life?

Follow our next few posts and most importantly, register for our next Eat by Design workshop on Tuesday February 7th at 6:30pm. Click here to reserve your seats.

PS – If you’re an Elevate Chiropractic practice member, enter the promo code ELEVATE to receive a $10 reduction in your ticket price! (See, it pays to read my posts to the end – literally!).

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