Wanna Get Fit? Eat Like an African Woman.

That is, eat like an African woman 2.6 million years ago. Last year I committed to reduce my consumption of sugar and processed foods and had dramatic results. I lost six pounds without even trying and took three inches off my waist. When I heard about adopting a low-carb diet back when Atkins was all the rage, I thought those folks were cray. “Grains and milk are good for you, just look at the American food pyramid!” I’d scoff in superiority while those people’s bodies would start to wither away as they consumed their own muscles. The only problem with the people who jumped on the Atkins bandwagon was that they jumped off. The truth of the matter is, the human body functions at it’s optimal level off of meat, fats, green vegetables, nuts and fruit. Period. There’s no debate. That means no pasta (white or wheat), bread, rice and white potatoes.

Our History

The origins of humanity  started in sub-Saharan Africa 2.6 million years ago. We survived as hunters and gatherers. We’d hunt game, running in short bursts (sprinting), crouching and hiding so we ourselves wouldn’t be hunted and eaten,  and when the coast was clear we’d hit the road, munching on greens, root vegetables, nuts, and seasonal fruit. We didn’t eat bread because we didn’t make any. It wasn’t until about 10,000 years ago that humans discovered agriculture and stayed in one place. Our ancestors cultivated grains, baked bread and cooked rice. We drank milk way past infancy. Then we began to develop a host of ailments and diseases ranging from lactose intolerance to celiac disease, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. That’s because our bodies were efficient, smooth-running machines back when we were rolling stones, but once we settled down, all of that changed. It takes a lot longer than 10,000 years to get 2 million-year-old genes to change.

What Carbs and Sugars Do in Our Bodies

Essentially our bodies don’t like simple carbohydrates and processed sugar because it converts too quickly into our bloodstream, and unless we use that fuel immediately, it just sits there, doing damage to our organs and feeding our fat cells.”Contrary to what many diet gurus have advised excess body fat comes from eating carbohydrates that are converted into fat by the action of insulin. Most overweight people became overweight because of elevated insulin levels in the blood. This is a problem our ancestor didn’t have to deal with because they ate so few carbohydrates their levels of glucose and thus insulin, were low,” says Mikki Reilly, author of Your Primal Body: The Paleo Way to Living Lean, Fit, and Healthy at Any Age.

The Good News

When you adopt what’s called a “paleo diet,” you are free from counting calories and measuring fat. You’re less likely to overeat because the healthy fats you eat keep your hunger satiated much longer than bread and bread products that keep you on an endless hamster wheel of hunger. If you’re fighting with your weight, here’s a challenge for you. On your next grocery shop, buy anything you want that doesn’t have wheat and white sugar. Chicken, fish, nuts, fruits, veggies, olive oil, avocado oil, unsweetened almond milk, and organic half-and-half if you like to drink coffee. Eat as much of those foods as you need to get full. Then weigh yourself at the end of the week. Eat like an African woman, be healthy, fit and trim. You’re welcome.

“Bottom line, when you eat the way our ancestor did–you cause your hormones to work for you to burn fat, stay lean, and keep excess weight off. With a diet low in carbohydrates–insulin levels stay low to eliminate fat getting locked away in cells and becoming unavailable as fuel,” says Reilly.

Resources and Recipes

Everyday Paleo

Nerd Fitness (Comprehensive overview of Paleo diet)

Robb Wolf’s Paleo FAQ

Easy Caveman Cookbook: Just $2.99 on Kindle

Mark’s Daily Apple