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(Paleo & Cross-fit coach Dai Manuel was one of 27 experts weighing in on paleo benefits. Photo: DaiManuel.com)

Paleo seems to be going strong these days.

A quick Google Trends search shows how “paleo” interest has exploded over the last five years:

paleo-growth

So, our OSU Garden team (the gardening extension program at Ohio State) reached out to several paleo experts, trainers, companies and bloggers and asked them their top 3 benefits of going paleo that most people don’t know about.

We had a blast reaching out. Here are the results, starting with most popular benefits:

#1: Improved Clarity, Mental Health, Brain Function

Out of the 27 responses, 11 of them made mention of improved clarity, mental health or mood stability.

Stephanie Gaudreau, http://stupideasypaleo.com


Caroline Paine, http://inquisitivefoodie.com

Christopher Williams, http://robbwolf.com/


Tara Grant, http://primalgirl.com

Tina Turbin, http://www.paleomazing.com/

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Introduction

For at least 90% of human history, Homo sapiens lived in small nomadic groups that subsisted on hunter-gatherer diets comprised of wild-caught flora and fauna.

While many modern sources regard the hunter-gatherer lifestyle as utterly defunct, the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunter-Gatherer claims that “hunting and gathering was humanity’s first and most successful adaptation” (Cambridge 1999).

Notwithstanding its incredible efficacy, our Paleolithic ancestors forwent their lifestyle of foraging about 10,000 years ago when the advent of agriculture encouraged them to transition to one based primarily on husbandry and settlement. This “Neolithic Revolution” resulted in a transformation from mobile bands to sedentary societies and enabled large groups of people to coalesce and produce highly accessible food surpluses to support a rapidly increasing population.

Since its beginnings, the cultivation of grain has dominated the global production of food and has played a major role in the diet of most of the world’s population. It is interesting to note, however, that many health officials and historians alike have noticed a strong correlation between the introduction of grains in the human diet and the emergence of chronic diet related disease, which appear to be almost nonexistent in pre-agricultural times.

Bearing this correlation in mind, it is not surprising that recent years have seen increasing support among some scientific authorities for a diet mimicking that of our ancestors during the times when these diseases were rare. Many supporters of such a lifestyle argue that natural, unprocessed foods promote optimal expression of the human genome and have the ability to eradicate the chronic illnesses that run rampant in the modern age. Based on the dietary suggestions presented by these scientific radicals, there has been an influx of enthusiasts who admonish our contemporary grain-based diet in favor of reverting back to Paleolithic habits in an attempt to realign our genes with how they were originally evolved and adapted.

Proponents of mirroring a hunter-gatherer lifestyle abide by the cleverly named “Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet,” which recommends avoiding all modern processed foods that wouldn’t be found in Pre-Neolithic times, most of which are derived from grain products. This paper aims to assess how the Paleo Diet has been framed by authorities in dietetic literature, and in turn how and why the proposed diet has been adopted and represented by the public sector currently practicing the diet.