A quick rundown and explanation on the do's and don'ts of evolutionary nutrition
Lean Meat, Poultry, White Fish, Salmon & Crustaceans
Are our best possible sources of fat and protein. Meat preferably from grass-fed, organically raised, free-range animals.
Salads & Non-Starchy Vegetables
Can be consumed freely. We try to eat the most extensive variety possible.
Good Carbohydrate Sources
have a low glycemic index / glycemic load and provide us with carbohydrates without raising our blood sugar too much.
Like potatoes or sweet potatoes. One hundred grams of potatoes have only 14 grams of carbs and only 70 calories.
White rice is low in phytic acid. Cold white rice is preferable to hot rice since it contains resistant starches that do raise blood sugar slower. Good for all sushi lovers.
Brown Rice is a little higher in phytic acid than white rice, but this can be countered by soaking it for some time in water. On the positive side, brown rice is digested slower than white rice thus having a lower GI / GL and not raising our blood sugar as much.
Shelled Red Lentils
An alternate source for low GL carbohydrates is shelled red lentils. Despite being legumes, they contain fewer lectins and phytic acid (the reason why we usually legumes are to be avoided), since most of those substances are removed with the shell. Additionally, lentils are high in fiber and protein.
Gluten-free Rolled Oats
Make an excellent source of low GI complex carbohydrates and are high in protein and fiber.
Most people can consume eggs freely without worry about cholesterol. There is only a minimal connection between dietary cholesterol and the cholesterol in our bodies. The body manufactures most of its cholesterol by itself. High cholesterol is usually an indicator of something going wrong in the body, often due to bad diet and lifestyle. If you carry the APOE4 gene, you should watch your intake of saturated fat.
see also: Monitoring Risk Factors: Blood Lipids
The most important thing you probably don’t know about cholesterol (chriskresser.com)
Low/moderate sweetness Fruit
Olive oil is one of the healthy fats, but should not be used for cooking since it is not stable at higher temperatures and easily degenerates.
Can be used as a sweetener but only in moderation due to its high carb count. Better not use it at all and replace it with stevia.
Is an all natural sweetener that has minimal calories, does not raise insulin levels and is even good for the heart. Available as powder or in liquid form, either pure or mixed with vanilla extract.
Pink Full Spectrum Salt
Sometimes also labeled "Himalayan Salt," contains up to 84 different types of salt and is the healthy alternative to using regular table salt which just contains one kind of salt.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Has numerous health benefits amongst others helps alleviate acid reflux due to stimulating stomach acid and can dissolve gallstones.
see also: 12 health benefits of apple cider vinegar (mnn.com)
Nuts make a great safe snack. Especially when starting on an evolutionary diet, we snack freely on them for the first weeks to ease the longing for sugar or wheat. They are mostly fat, which gives them a very high nutritional density. When we want to lose weight we have to limit our nut consumption since it's easy to overeat on them.
If we have to watch our for our consumption of saturated fats, we have to consume nuts with care. Of all nuts, almonds are the lowest in SFAs (3.7%) - Nuts in Comparison
Although nuts are on the safe to eat list, nuts with the "skin" still on like hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts have a high level of phytic acid. For them either limit consumption or eliminate phytic acid by soaking them for a few hours and drying them afterward.
see also: Living With Phytic Acid (westonaprice.org)
Bottled waters differ in their pH value. We have seen water with a pH of 6.8 to 7.4. We try to buy water with a body like pH of 7.4 in glass bottles, to avoid contamination by chemicals from plastic bottles.
Tomatoes / Nightshades
Unfortunately, some of us are allergic to tomatoes or even nightshades in general. This is due to the lectins and other substances present in these plants. In the case of any autoimmune issues, tomatoes and other nightshades should be strictly avoided.
See also: Nightshades & the Autoimmune Protocol (paleomom.com)
Only if Saturated Fats are tolerated
High cocoa chocolate in moderation is a very healthy addition to our diet. We use chocolate with at least 85% cocoa. The more, the better. There are very lovely tasting 95% ones. Chocolate contains some sugar. There are brands that either uses palm sugar (1/2 the carbs) or even stevia (no carbs).
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats we can consume (if we don't carry the APOE4 gene)
It can not be stored by the body and can only be immediately burned as high-quality fuel. It fosters the fat burning capacity of the body in general. It has an anti-microbial effect, thus relieving the immune system of some of its burden, freeing its capacity for other tasks. It is very well suited for cooking since it remains stable at very high temperatures.
See also: The Coconut Oil Miracle
Sugar is a late, artificial addition to the human diet, devoid of any nutritional value, delivers pure blood sugar and insulin spiking carbohydrates. It is addictive and very detrimental to our health for numerous reasons.
Of all the food that we consume wheat has the youngest genetic makeup, the last significant change happened in the 1980s when a new very high yield strain of wheat was introduced and turned almost overnight into the one dominantly grown everywhere on the planet.
Gluten wheat's major protein is particularly unhealthy for us humans
Gluten weakens the lining of the gut that acts as a filter and protects our body from the content of the intestine. 10% of us are so sensitive that consuming wheat gluten causes immediate adverse reactions, due to the gut content entering the bloodstream unfiltered. The rest us of tolerate gluten a bit better and do not feel immediate reactions, but the weakening of the lining happens anyway, albeit to a weaker extent. This low-level poisoning and the resulting systemic inflammation and immune response can be the root of numerous long-term chronic diseases over time.
Wheat is highly addictive
After being broken down by digestion and entering the bloodstream, part of the gluten acts as an opiate, crossing the blood-brain barrier and attaches to the same receptors as cocaine. This causes a "wheat addiction," which results in cravings for more wheat and makes us fat. Not only science is well aware of this fact, classifying wheat as an opiate, but also the food industry, which is why almost all processed food contains wheat to stimulate hunger and foster addiction.
Wheat carbs are bad carbs
The carbohydrates of wheat, even full grain wheat, have a higher GI than table sugar, surging our blood sugar extremely, with all the dire consequences.
Lectins are a self-defense system of plants, unusually aggressive in wheat, acting to protect the plant by poisoning animals trying to eat it. It's not a deadly poison, but one that will attack the health and the fertility of animals to an extent, which over generations results in a decreased chance of survival for the species. In the human body lectins, e.g., eliminate glucosamine which is needed to rebuild the cartilage in our joints and therefore causes arthritis.
Phytic Acid keeps seeds from growing when they are not in a suitable environment (no water available). Only when exposed to water, phytic acid is neutralized, and the seed starts to grow. In humans phytic acid causes maldigestion. Thus, we are not able to extract all the beneficial micronutrients from our food. We can eliminate phytic acid by soaking (e.g., for nuts). Grains are usually not soaked before consumption, thus still have all their phytic acid.
see also: Wheat Belly
Grains & Legumes
Other grains can contain gluten as well. Those that do not can still suffer from cross-contamination with wheat (and thus gluten) while being grown or during production. Both grains and legumes have a high level of phytic acid & lectins as well, thus partly carrying the same health risks as wheat. Phytic acid can be partially removed from legumes by soaking them in water. However, to be on the safe side and to avoid their high carb-load, we have entirely removed grains and legumes from our diet.
Raw, unprocessed soybeans are poisonous to us humans and cannot be consumed directly. Thus, they have either to be cleaned or fermented to reduce the poison to a tolerable level where it does not cause immediate harm.
Cleaning non-organic soy is done by using hexane, an extremely poisonous byproduct of the petrochemical industry. Unfortunately, after the cleaning process, some hexane remains in the soybeans. Non-organic soy is often used as animal food. (that's one reason we consume organic, grass-fed beef)
Even if cleaned without hexane or fermented, soy has very detrimental long-term effects on human health. e.g., children raised on soy formula having a lower IQ and weaker immune systems for life.
We try to avoid all soy in our diet. For those of us who love sushi coconut aminos are a very healthy and yummy replacement for soy sauce.
Milk was invented by evolution for newborns, to enable a mother to feed them and to transfer the gut flora from mother to child. Due to its very specialized purpose, it is neither suited for adults nor cross-species consumption. That is why the industry processes and pasteurizes it, aka tries to kill all germs in it, to make it at least somewhat tolerable for human consumption. Apart from this general incompatibility, there are several components of milk that are detrimental to our health.
Lactose is the sugar in milk. 1/3 of all people have lactose intolerance, which means they suffer from immediate symptoms of "lactose poisoning." The other 2/3 of us seem to tolerate lactose, but only to the extent that we have no immediate signs. In the long-term, it's detrimental to our health.
Lactose, the sugar in milk, is a disaccharide that is composed of two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. When digested lactose is broken down into its parts, galactose is set free in our body. Unfortunately, galactose is detrimental to our health. This fact is quite well-known in the science community since scientists who want to experiment with Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases are using galactose to cause Alzheimer's in their lab mice.
Is the major protein in milk (makes up 80% of milk's protein). It's almost like human protein, but not 100% identical, leading to a paradox situation. It's different enough for the immune system to recognize it as an invader and attack it. Unfortunately, casein is close enough to our protein so the immune system might end up attacking our own body, resulting in an autoimmune reaction.
Casomorphins are protein fragments derived from the digestion of casein. Unfortunately, casomorphins have an opioid effect on our brain. They act just like a drug with all the unwanted side effects of becoming addicted and longing to consume more of the substance containing the drug, even if it is detrimental to our health. This is particularly true for cheese that usually consists mostly of fat and casein. So it is plain possible to become addicted to cheese.
The other 20% of milk's protein is whey. Amazingly if consumed in an isolated form without the other detrimental components of milk, 20-30 grams of pure whey per day have proven to have health and life-extending properties. We cover this in Advanced Action.
Even if we seem to tolerate milk and show no acute symptoms from lactose or casein, we think in respect to long-term health is advisable to remove diary complete from our diet. Whey can and should be consumed in an isolated form.
see also: Primal Body, Primal Mind
Soft Drinks & Sugar-Free Soft Drinks
Regular soft drinks are usually very high in sugar and calories, mostly due to the use of high fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive and very unhealthy sweetener. Sugar-free soft drinks use damaging artificial sweeteners.
Soft drinks are amongst the most unhealthy things that we can do to our body due to their extremely low pH level. Our body has to maintain a tightly regulated pH level of 7.35 to 7.45 to stay functional. Even a minor temporary deviation would cause significant health issues. If it's not so small, we would just die. A regular soft drink has a pH of 2.5 (coke) to 3.5 (diet coke). Water has a pH of 7 and battery acid a pH of 1. The pH value is measured on a logarithmic scale, that is a difference of one represents a factor of 10. So a soft drink is between 1.000 and 10.000 more acidic than our blood. To compensate for the massive onslaught when consuming a single can, the body has to run an extreme emergency program otherwise we would just die. Amongst others, this involves using calcium from our bones to neutralize the acidity of the beverage. On top of this, the low pH directly causes damage to our teeth during and even after consumption.
To create a soft drink replacement, we mix organic, low sweetness fruit juices (like lime) with sparkling, or still water, add some liquid stevia to adjust the sweetness level.
See also: The Ultimate pH Solution
It is long known that artificial sweeteners are causing havoc in the body. Although they don't raise the blood sugar level, they can cause our insulin level to spike with all the detrimental side effects. Aspartame is proven to cause damage to the nervous system. There is no long-term study showing the healthiness or safety of any artificial sweetener.
Caffeine causes insulin to spike with all the detrimental effects of high insulin that we seek to avoid. Although caffeine is said to enhance fat burning, we don't need that on an evolutionary diet, since we train all of our cells to burn fat.
Usually, have a lot of additives, often even not listed on the label, added sugar and wheat (to increase appetite). Processing itself may eliminate a lot of the nutritional value.
Produced by cooking the food in either cheap, unhealthy oils and oils that degenerate at the high temperatures used for frying. The high temperatures of the frying process cause the excess formation of AGE's, which are proteins bound to sugar molecules. AGE's are pure junk for the body that the body cannot break down or detoxify. Thus, they accumulate ad infinitum and cause damage to our health.
Fructose / Sweet Fruit
Roughly 60% of the carbohydrates in fruit is fructose; the rest is glucose. As opposed to glucose, that can be used by all the cells of our body; fructose can only be processed by our liver. Therefore, excess fructose, that cannot immediately be handled by our liver floats in our bloodstream and forms damaging, non-disposable AGEs with our proteins. This will only stop when the liver can finally take care of it and remove it from the bloodstream. Unfortunately, fructose is seven times more reactive than glucose in regard to forming AGEs.
To make things even worse, our liver has only a limited capacity to store sugars. So, even if the liver processes the fructose from our bloodstream, fructose that cannot be directly stored in our liver because it's storage is full, is immediately transferred to our fat cells.
Being useless to our cells, damaging to our body and only ending up in our fat stores, fructose has to be considered toxic when exceeding a certain level.
Thus, we want to keep excess fructose, that our liver cannot process and store to an absolute minimum. If we consume fruits, which are our primary source of fructose, we do so in the morning, when our liver's storage facilities for sugars is still depleted from the night. If we consume fruits, we consume the whole fruit, since the fiber in them slows digestion and absorption of fructose into the bloodstream. We avoid fruit juices, even freshly squeezed ones, since they lack that fiber.
Sweet Fruit Juices
Are usually both high in fructose and miss all the healthy components of the fruit and the fiber that slows down fructose digestion because the pulp is often removed. Better consume the real whole fruit.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Is a cheap industrial sweetener, which, as the name implies, mainly consist of fructose. Unfortunately, since it is so much less expensive to manufacture than real sugar, it has replaced sugar in most industrial manufactured food, especially soft drinks. Fructose not only is utterly useless to our body in large quantities and directly stored in our fat cells but also highly reactive and detrimental to our health.
the brown shell carries phytic acid, use white rice instead
contrary to common belief, peanuts are legumes with a high load of phytic acid and not nuts
Although tuna itself is not unhealthy, it is the fish that accumulates the highest level of mercury in its body and thus should be avoided if possible
meat like lamb can have up to 50% fat, which is undesirably high
Bad Oils & Fats
Sunflower Seed Oil, Corn Oil, and Vegetable Oil should be avoided in favor of healthy alternatives.