For several years I have co-ordinated groups of people engaged in various elimination diet programmes, usually to try and identify hidden allergies, or to simply observe the effects that different foods have on one’s sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As a practising Medical Herbalist, I noticed how difficult it is for people to change their dietary habits, and to really engage with self-observation in order to glean any meaningful information.
My experience has led me to conclude that most people are “over-carbed”. There are a couple of really prominent health issues that seem to be associated with the modern western diet, including blood sugar disregulation and intolerance to gluten and other components of grains. These issues are frequently unmasked by the process of elimination dieting, and it is my belief that they make a major contribution to many modern diseases and symptom patterns. This has probably been the case since agriculture was invented during the late neolithic period. Indeed, there is much evidence that our paleolithic ancestors (the ones that came before the neolithics) were quite a healthy bunch, with strong bone density, athletic prowess, and that they lived long lives when not being trampled by woolly mammoths or gored by sabre-tooth tigers.
There has been a lot of fantastic research done into what probably constituted the original paleolithic diet, and so much of this tallies with what we now know about how we metabolise different foods, and what we as a species seem to be optimally adapted to consume. I have observed at first hand how adopting a paleolithic-ish diet can have a profound effect on health and well being, and this website is an attempt to provide both a local and national information resource to help people who are choosing to follow the same path.
So, what use is it?
For a pretty accurate reflection of what I think about where this diet fits in with modern medicine, please have a look at Emily Dean’s excellent introduction to Evolutionary Psychiatry.
From a scientific point of view, this enterprise is very much about self-experimentation. This is a valid method of gathering information through structured inquiry. It is safe and, for many, might provide the answers and solutions to many problems that have been around for a long while.